Boat Handling & Maintenance

Boat handling, pontoon courtesy and washing boats and oars

The Property Master’s guide to boat handling: lifting boats, getting them from the racks and into water, spending less time on the pontoon, and how to wash the boats and oars.

On the pontoon

  1. Each crew must minimise the time spent on the pontoon and staging. They must only remove boats from racks when the crew is ready to go and not wait for crew members to turn up or run errands while the boat is on trestles
  2. Boats may only be handled when there are sufficient people available to do so
  3. All crew should be present when handling a boat
  4. Crews must be careful not to allow the hull or parts of one boat to connect with the riggers or parts of another boat at any time
  5. One person only is in charge of lifting and handling each boat, usually the stroke
  6. All crew must follow the instructions of the stroke when handling a boat
  7. When lowering and lifting boats all crew must have hands on, assume strong, effective lifting positions (such as heads up, legs folded and backs straight), before attempting to lift
  8. Novice crews must be supervised by a coach or experienced pontoon marshal when handling boats

Getting on and off the water

  1. Before placing a boat on the water, the crew is to correctly adjust and check for wear and tear the slides, seats, riggers and hull. Damaged, missing or loose fittings should be replaced if possible and reported in the Boat Master’s Log after the row
  2. Bow side oars should be placed along the pontoon with the handles to Haberfield and heads to the bridge, spoon up
  3. Stroke side oars should be placed in the gates at the narrowest part of the shaft with the handles on the pontoon and spoons facing upwards, then stroke side should get into the boat while the bow side holds the boat level and before the gates are done up
  4. Bow side will hold the boat in a level position with their hands (not feet, knees or other parts) on the pin of the bow side rigger as the stroke side go aboard the boat
  5. As soon as stroke side (or the even numbered seats – 8, 6, 4, 2) are seated they must do up their gates and place the fully extended oars on the water
  6. Bow side may then get in and push off at the same time
  7. Do not allow the oars to scrape along the pontoon when in a boat and on the water entering or leaving the pontoon. Balance the boat so that the oars and riggers do not contact the pontoon surface as the boat pulls up or leaves the pontoon


  1. All damage and breakages should be repaired before returning the equipment to the racks
  2. If the damage or breakages can not be repaired by Members it must be recorded on the Property Masters Notice Board located on the rear fire door
  3. Damaged boats must have a “Do not Row” sign placed on them by the offending crew
  4. Members must not row with damaged equipment
  5. Crews will be held responsible for damage to boats caused through carelessness or poor handling

Washing boats

  1. Place boats on trestles, cockpit upright.
  2. Wash the deck, slides, riggers and all cockpit areas with soapy water and a good sponge (scourers, abrasives, chemicals other than detergent should not be used).
  3. Check the boat for loose fittings, missing nuts, washers, or damaged parts and make good.
  4. Roll the boat over so that the hull is exposed.
  5. Hose down the hull and the inside of the boat, riggers – especially around the gates, and canvasses. Be sure to remove all detergent.
  6. Press a chamois to the hull and scrap off any water and excess salt.

Washing oars

  1. When laying up oars on the pontoon and staging, do not scrape or drag them along the deck but place them gently on the deck with the spoon upwards.
  2. Wash them with soapy water, and chamois.
  3. Check that the oar is not damaged that there are no missing or loose screws in the oar handle, the collars and sleeves are firmly in place and at equal distance from the end of the handle.
  4. If all OK put them away in the racks provided noting that blades face the wall with the long edges inward and together.

If you note any damage; fix it if you know how, if not ask someone who does to show you how. If neither option is available make a note on the notice board affixed to the rear exit door about the equipment name with a description of the damage.