Tour Organisation

If you're a member of British Rowing, you can take their online course to learn how to organise a rowing tour.  

Here's a list of key points, put together by the team who have organised most of the recent national rowing tours:
  1. Choose your waterway.   This may seem obvious, but you need to know:
    • Are you allowed to row here?   Who owns/controls the waterway?
    • Where can you launch and recover the boats?
    • Where can you store the boats overnight?
    • How long is the daily route?
    • Are there strong tides or currents?
    • Are there locks / narrow bridges / weirs / other hazards?
    • How much traffic is there?
    • Do you need a safety boat or boats?

  2. Plan the land!
    • Where will you stay overnight (if the tour is more than one day)?
    • Where can you park trailers?
    • How will people get to and from the start and end points? Will you hire a coach or minibus?
    • Where can people park their cars?
    • Where will you have lunch?
    • Where are the toilets?
    • Where is the nearest hospital? Where can an ambulance pick up a casualty?
    • Do you need a bank party?  How will they get to you?

  3. Safety first!  Yes, we know this is point 3, but you can't do a safety plan until you've done the feasibility study!
    • Do a risk assessment - most of the points are mentioned above.  Here's a sample we prepared earlier.
    • Produce a safety plan, to cover the issues rasied in your risk assessment.  Here's another sample
    • Familiarise yourself with British Rowing's guidelines on Touring Rowing

  4. Who's coming on your tour?
    • How many boats will you have?   If there are small locks, how many can you fit in at once? 
    • How many people?  If you are hiring a coach, how many passengers can it take?
    • What level of fitness and experience will your people have?   If the distances are long, beginners won't be able to keep up.

  5. Produce a budget

    • List the fixed costs (land transport, safety cover, donations for overnight boat storage, licence fees) and divide by the number of participants
    • List the variable costs (hotel accommodation, meals, souvenir T-shirts) on a per person basis
    • Add the two together, add a figure for contingencies, and you have your cost per participant.  Here's a sample


Nicholsons Waterways Guides


Nicholsons Waterways map

River Thames Book


Great Ouse Guide

Useful Websites

Canal Junction

Jim Shead's waterways guide


Waterways Authorities

Environment Agency

Canals and Rivers Trust

Norfolk Broads Authority

Canal DVDs