​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Guideline review date: 28 October 2021​

​​This guideline is provided to support schools in implementing the managing risks in school curriculum activities procedure.

The CARA planner (DOCX, 600KB) must be used for the specific school context in conjunction with this guideline considering additional risks, hazards and controls and including environmental, facility, equipment and student considerations

For activities beyond the scope of this guideline, complete a CARA record using the CARA generic template (DOCX, 488KB).

Activity scope

This guideline relates to student participation in rowing a racing shell while facing the stern as an activity to support curriculum delivery.

Depending on the scope of this activity, other risk assessments may be required when planning. Curriculum activities encompassing more than one CARA guideline (e.g. agricultural activities (light vehicle, towing, trailers)​, power boating) must comply with the requirements of all CARA guidelines appropriate to the activity.​

For activities conducted at an external venue, and/or when engaging external expertise, request written risk assessment advice and attach it to this CARA record.

For activities conducted off-site, schools must comply with the school excursions procedure.​

Risk level​​​​

High risk
On-water rowing activities involving facing the stern in a racing shell.​

Activity requirements

If any requirement cannot be met, the activity must not occur.

If any other safety recommendation cannot be met, modify the activity (or elements of it) and/or identify and use the hierarchy of controls to implement alternative control measures to meet or exceed the minimum safety standard.

Prior consultation is required with local authority (e.g. Maritime Safety Queensland) for local advice, emergency support mechanisms and additional supervision requirements to ensure participant and public safety.

Student water safety and swimming competence must be confirmed prior to participation. The process is determined by the school and must consider the specific aquatic environments in which the activity will take place. Consult the sequence of competency water safety and swimming education program for support in determining age-appropriate suitability. Consider student capacity to enter a boat from the water after capsizing.

Competition/regatta rules and procedures with additional or more stringent safety requirements must take precedence.

All risk levels​



Principals make final supervision decisions for the activity. Sufficient adult supervision must be provided to manage the activity safely (including emergency situations).

At least 2 adult supervisors are required, including 1 adult supervisor available at ‘base’ for emergencies and 1 adult supervisor in each coaching craft.

For activities with students with a medical condition or disability that may impact on safety during the activity, consultation with parents is required prior to allocating supervision to determine the impact of students’ disability on safety during the activity.

The number of adult supervisors required to fulfil emergency and supervision roles must consider the nature of the activity, students’ ages, abilities and specialised learning, access and/or health needs.

Before the activity, all adult supervisors:

  • must be familiar with the contents of the CARA record
  • must assess weather conditions, and obtain accurate information on tides, depths, currents and other expected water conditions (if applicable) prior to undertaking the activity, inspecting the intended location in order to identify variable risks, hazards and potential dangers.

At all times, adult supervisor/s in the coaching craft must be appropriately dressed to perform an immediate rescue. At no time, should students be relied upon to recover a swimmer in difficulty.

During the activity, all adult supervisors:

  • must have the ability to immediately identify and access recovery and emergency personnel if required
  • must be readily identifiable
  • must comply with control measures from the CARA record and adapt as hazards arise
  • must closely monitor students with health support needs
  • must ensure all students on the water are in sight of, and in close proximity to, at least 1 adult supervisor at all times
  • must suspend the activity if the conditions become unfavourable
  • must not conduct free swim/rowing activities.

Supervisor qualifications

Principals make final decisions in determining supervisor capability (competence, relevance and currency) and are responsible for encouraging and enabling school-based activity supervisors to raise their qualifications to improve safety standards.

All adult supervisors must comply with the working with children authority—blue cards procedure and be able to identify, and respond to, risks or hazards that may emerge during the activity.

A registered teacher must be appointed to maintain overall responsibility for the activity.

At least one adult supervisor is required to be:

  • a registered teacher with qualifications in HPE (or equivalent demonstrated capability) and with competence (knowledge and skills) in teaching rowing; or
  • an adult supervisor, working under the direct supervision of a registered teacher, with current Level 1 coaching accreditation from Rowing Australia.

All adult supervisors in coaching craft must:

  • hold a valid marine licence; and
  • have demonstrated capacity to conduct an appropriate rescue plan. This may be demonstrated by undertaking a rescue exercise at the aquatic location (or a similar environment) including using appropriate rescue aids (e.g. life jacket).

Facilities and equipment

The qualified adult supervisor of the activity, in consultation with the principal, determines the requirements for facilities and equipment appropriate to the local context.

Location must be suitable for the activity being undertaken to ensure safe participation and that safety rules and procedures can be followed. Assess suitability of surrounds and reach of water when selecting a location. Consider local water conditions and foreseeable hazards, such as:

  • tidal flow and currents
  • traffic patterns and use by other watercraft
  • water temperature, depth and visibility
  • underwater vegetation (e.g. coral) and marine life (e.g. shellfish, sharks).

Participants must wear personal protective equipment appropriate to the activity (e.g. sunglasses, highly visible/reflective clothing).

Rowing craft are regularly serviced with well maintained equipment (e.g. quick-release mechanisms in working order).

Coaching craft must comply with Maritime Safety Queensland requirements.

If privately owned equipment is being used, obtain principal approval and owner consent/insurance details prior to the activity.

Each student must provide their own towel.

 Common hazards and controls

Further to those listed, include any additional hazards and control measures considering the local context of the activity.

Environmental hazards Control measures

Animal bites/stings

Do not deliberately handle marine organisms. Avoid contact where possible.

Continually assess threat of dangerous marine animals (if appropriate to location).

Adhere to established practices regarding the use of insect repellent, outlined in insect viruses and allergies.

Biological material
Blue-green algae, body fluids (e.g. blood, saliva, sweat)

Check with the local authority (council) for the presence of known water contaminants (e.g. blue-green algae) or other marine hazards at the location.

Manage bodily substances (e.g. blood) and open wounds before, during and after the activity. Consult infection control guidelines and Queensland Health’s exclusion periods for infectious conditions poster (PDF, 1.6MB) for hygienic practices and first aid.

Follow appropriate cleaning and hygiene management practices when using shared equipment (departmental staff search 'practical subjects cleaning equipment' in OnePortal).


Assess the location for floating debris before each session.

Environmental conditions
Weather, sun, humidity

Follow the managing excessive heat in schools guidelines when participating in very hot or extreme heat conditions.

Ensure drink breaks occur regularly. Make water available for individual participants between drink breaks.

Monitor participants for cold related illness (e.g. hypothermia).

Facilities and equipment hazards Control measures

Entry/exit points

Establish appropriate entry and exit points at the water's edge.

Provide emergency vehicle access to a point on the waterway.


Watch for vehicles when loading rowing boats.

Falling equipment

Tie down and store equipment correctly to prevent injury (e.g. when loading/unloading).

Student considerations Control measures

Manual handling
Lifting and carrying equipment

Use appropriate equipment to lift heavy boats or materials (e.g. use of ramps).

Use correct manual handling processes when lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling or carrying.

Physical exertion
Exhaustion, heat/cold stress

Conduct warm-up/cool-down activities.

Continually monitor participants for signs of fatigue and exhaustion.

Allow all students periods of rest from repetitive rowing. This may be resting/floating on the water or landing.


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Last updated 06 September 2023