Shop Contact Sign in

Bath Risk Assessment

Route Description & General Hazards

The AquaPaddle route starts at Cleveland Bridge and goes upstream on the River Avon against the flow. 

Houses and gardens back onto the river and there are overhanging trees. 

After 500m you will pass the Bath Boating Station and then the Cleveland Pools outdoor Lido both on your right. On the left is Kensington Meadow and a footpath. After 1 km the river takes a ‘S’ bend to the left and passes under a pedestrian bridge – good for supporters! The environment now opens up, the river slightly widens with limited housing on the left and fields on the right. The banks are high but with less trees. The route passes under the A46 bridge and continues to meander slightly. As you paddle around a left hand bend Bathampton weir comes into view. The turn is in line with the floating pontoon at the Bathampton Mill pub. Cruisers turn at this point and the flow from the weir can be strong so the turn is early. 

Returning downstream is easy and maintaining a central position in the flow will help avoid trees. 

The finish is under Cleveland Bridge and will be clearly visible, marked with a flag. Keep to the right side of the river as you pass under the bridge and have your number clearly visible to the Time Lord. Once you have passed the finish line please continue downstream and then turn and return to the bank using the grey pontoon. 

The river is not part of the Canal and Rivers Trust network and a license is not required.

Very few anglers use this stretch of water. 

Hazard Description

The main hazards on our stretch of river are other river craft which include tourist carrying cruisers and recreational boaters from the Boating Station. 

The speed limit is 4 mph but is not monitored. 

There is only one pair of nesting swans and they are downstream of the club.

AquaPaddlers will enter the river at Bath Canoe Club and form up facing upstream. 

The Marshaller and Time Lord will call AquaPaddlers forward once everyone has arrived and start the event.

The launch point is also the exit point and evacuation point. 

AquaPaddlers can leave the river at a variety of places along the route however, initially the river frontage is privately owned. 

There are only a few accessible places notably alongside Kensington Meadows, before and under Grosvenor Bridge and just past the A46 bridge on river left. At the turn point there is a pontoon and a small mooring jetty. These facilities are for recreational river users including the cruisers and those visiting Bathampton Mill pub. 

Keep your turn early and do not approach the weir stream.

There will be a Safety team member at the turn and this is also an evacuation point.

Falling off

If you should fall in and you can’t re board quickly, please swim your board away from any hazards, before trying to mount again. A Crew Member will come and assist you. If you see someone fall in, without putting yourself in danger, please go and give help or alert a crew member.

Please inform the crew if you have fallen in and the reason for this.

Safety team crew members will be positioned at Bath Boating station, Grosvenor Bridge and the turn point. 

Public Access along the route is limited, the footpath alongside Kensington Meadow can be accessed from Morrisons Car park and Café, York Place, London Road BA1 6AN and parking is free for 2 hours. Grosvenor bridge can be accessed from nearby local roads but parking is severely limited. Car parking is available at Bathampton Mill and must be paid for.


The AquaPaddle Captain will provide a full Safety Brief before the event in the grounds of the Canoe Club planned for 9:30am.

The AquaPaddle team will have First Aid kits on the water and bankside and there are First Aid qualified coaches and leaders present.

There is an AED at Bath Canoe Club.




The term novice is any paddler one whose paddling skills are less than British Canoeing Discover standard in the craft they are using.

The term helper in this document means an adult (over 18) who is deemed capable by the lead coach taking the session of recognising when someone is in trouble and affecting a quick prompt rescue.

The term coach/instructor/leader means a club member who is qualified with a British Canoeing coaching or leadership award, who has a valid DBS, completed safeguarding training and who is First Aid qualified. They can be a Paddlesport Instructor, a British Canoeing Coach, a UKCC Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 coach or a British Canoe Union Coach or Senior Instructor.

The term relevant supervision for novices and under all 18s (regardless of skill level) means within sight and sound of a coach or helper at all times. For those adults of Explore standard or above it will be down to the Coach’s discretion.

Only persons approved by the AquaPaddle and Bath CC committee may lead events on behalf of AquaPaddle Bath and Bath CC. They must also hold British Canoeing current and up-to-date qualifications and insurance. This does not include the person supervising use of the weir(s) unless it is specifically stated.

Any coach/instructor leading a session must be at least 18 years old and approved by the committee.

1Water – the conditions, capsize and swimming and entrapment leading to DROWNING  Paddlers, club members, guests, students and Other members of the publicWearing of buoyancy aid Instruction in capsize procedures Relevant supervision for participants Advised to keep away from river bank Ratio of no more than 6 participants per coach/helper. For novices, at least 1 coach/helper to be on the water and ready to rescue, before the participants get on (unless bank-based coaching in which case coach must be ready to launch and rescue –see note in next column). Coaches to carry basic safety kit including a tow-line/ throw-line.  Buoyancy aids tested annually Induction sessions for beginners and new members Supervisors to ensure buoyancy aid correctly fitted. Regular checks on equipment during the season. If bank-based coaching, the coach must be wearing a buoyancy aid and helmet and have to hand a boat & paddle and any other equipment necessary in order to affect a speedy rescue or have a helper on the water who is ready to do same. Coaches to carry a mobile phone to summon emergency services and be able to rely where they are on the river and nearest access point.  Reviewed 2022 Next review due 2023.    Interim review after Accident/ Incident Reports submission or ad hoc requirement.
2Weather Conditions/ immersion leading to HYPOTHERMIA  Paddlers, all participants.Advised on the correct clothing to wear. Adjustment to clothing as required. Coaches to refuse to take on the water participants with inadequate clothing for the conditions  Continuous dynamic risk assessment. Lead coach should carry a spare cag / poncho or similar item of clothing. Consider taking a flask of warm drink if conditions are cold and capsize likely   
3Poor condition of surfaces leading to SLIPS TRIPS AND FALLS  Participants, Coaches and leaders, paddlers, members of the publicRegular maintenance of landing stages, river bank, steps and Club House floors. Persons new to the site to be informed of site specific risks, e.g. sloping section on river steps, low door & steps to basement  Appropriate cleaning/maintenance equipment available Problem of leaf fall on steps and landing stage more likely in autumn   
4Manual handling leading to SPRAINS, STRAINS AND SOFT TISSUE INJURIES  Paddlers, coaches, leaders helpers.  Trained to lift correctly Ask for help Encouraged to paddle correctly. Paddlers advised to carry boats between 2 people or more for heavy canoes  Ongoing training and regular checks of procedures Appropriate checks on storage facilities. Coaches and helpers to set a good example and not carry boats (even small ones) on their own. Coaches to carry a basic first aid kit   
5Handling of boats and paddles, vigorous games and accidental falls whilst in/on the craft leading to HEAD INJURIES   For Discover and Explore courses Helmets to be worn at all times whilst on the water and carrying boats between the basement and the river  Coaches, leaders and helpers to set a good example and wear a helmet when the activity or conditions dictate. Coaches to carry a mobile phone to summon emergency services and be able to relay where they are on the river and nearest access point   
 Water Quality – POLLUTION AND THE RISK OF INFECTION  All paddlers and helpers on or close to the riverAdvised to wash hands with hot water and soap before eating or drinking and shower at end of session, especially after immersion Made aware of flotsam  Coaches to assess river condition on the day. Avoid intentional capsizes in poor conditions   
 Other river Users leading to POTENTIAL OF COLLISIONAll paddlers on the riverPaddlers instructed to be aware of other river users and how to take appropriate/avoiding action. Paddlers to pass on River right when going upstream or downstream. However, on bends a dynamic assessment of position is necessary.  All members of the group to be informed as to possible other river users and location, what to do when tour boats approach   
 Obstacles – WEIRS AND OTHER MAN MADE FEATURES (e.g. bridge supports)  All paddlersHelmets and buoyancy aids (provide padding for the body) to be worn when paddling near structures. Weirs must be avoided unless coaches are specifically approved to use them. See additional Risk Assessment for weirs below.  Coach to assess conditions on the day and avoid if not safe. Appropriate skill and awareness training   
 Entrapment from OVER HANGING TREE OR STRAINERS  All paddlersNovices instructed stay in middle of the river to avoid overhanging / floating trees and reasons why explained to them. Advised as to correct action in event of entanglement Appropriate tree management on site.  Regular checks as part of on-site maintenance Appropriate training for off-site visits Coaches to carry a mobile phone to summon emergency services and be able to relay where they are on the river and nearest access point   
 Effect of Hot, cold and wind from WEATHER AND ENVIRONMENTAL  All PaddlersCoaches, Leaders/paddlers to assess the weather before getting on the river. Club cagoules can be worn when windy.  Session to be cancelled if not considered safe. Coach should consider instructing participants to bring: drinking water, hats, sunscreen, windproof clothing, or extra layers as appropriate   
 The River itself  -RIVER FLOW RATE / LEVELS (Paddlers, boats and, craft could get washed downstream / into hazards such as submerged trees)  All paddlersRiver level to be assessed before getting on the river by sight and through use of EA River gauges.   Trips below Pulteney Weir are then on the Kennet and Avon Navigation and Canal. Warnings from the Canal and Rivers Trust for flow and obstructions can be found at this link;  No paddling when River is graded RED. The Activity session to be cancelled if not considered safe by lead coach, instructor or leader.   At least 1 /coach helper to be on the water and ready to rescue, before the participants get on. Before going further, Participants to paddle upstream to first bridge to allow coaches/leaders to gauge their skill level and how well they cope with the feature.


All weirs are dangerous and caution must be exercised when paddling around or over them. At high water levels the Bathampton and Pulteney (town) weir become extremely dangerous with high potential for loss of life. When travelling downstream the right hand side right had side of Bathampton and the crest of Pulteney weir can be extremely dangerous.

At Pulteney Weir there are a set of rollers on the river left side that aid a portage. Two coaches should be present, one to supervise launching, and the other to guard the weir. All paddlers must be careful when travelling downstream with the wind behind ( downstream wind) that the wind funnels through the bridges so keeping to the left hand side is a safer strategy. There are also photos of the advised route. At Pulteney Weir there is the additional hazard of moored and manoeuvring cruisers.

1River height and flow leading to capsize or entrapment on the weirAll paddlers‘A minimum of 3 coaches / safety helpers are needed for Pulteney Weir: 1 in boat on water at the top, 1 in boat on water at the bottom, 1 standing on weir with throw line. All must be capable of conducting rescues efficiently in the craft they are in, or from the weir, as appropriate and have the appropriate safety equipment on them (throw lines slings etc). The lead-coach is responsible for ensuring these people are in place, are capable, are properly equipped and know their role for that session. The same applies to Bathampton weir except the third person is only needed to guide on approach when the river to allow standing on the weir. At other times the third person is not appropriate here.  No paddling when River is graded RED. The Activity session to be cancelled if not considered safe by lead coach, instructor or leader.   On no account are coaches to allow pupils on Discover courses, or people on Taster sessions, to go down the middle of Pulteney weir.   The lead-coach must tell all people taken over the weir during courses/Tasters of the dangers of weirs and strongly advise them against going over without proper supervision.’    Check EA gauges for River Avon at Bathford and Pulteney. See link:  
2Other water craft – The Pleasure Cruisers above and below the weir leading to risk of collisionAll paddlersWhen approaching Pulteney Weir from above Pulteney Bridge and from the clubhouse do so be going through the left hand arch of the bridge, the centre arch is close to the apex of the weir. When going through the bridge stay left of centre so paddlers do not stray towards the weir. All paddlers to be briefed to stay clear of moored craft.  Nominate a helper to watch for the cruisers approaching or maneuvering close to the weir and to warn paddlers.Photos available to show correct route


1Car park – Vehicle  -pedestrian collisionClub members, guests, students, instructorsSlow driving and pedestrian awarenessDo we need signage? 
2Access door to basement is very small (approx 5 ft high) with step up and opens directly onto wooden staircase. Area used as kit store and workshop. Trip hazard inwards Fall hazard from steps and on exit Manual handling problems moving items in & outClub members, guests, students, instructors Users warned of the problem. Prior to entry. Potential to install a handrail 
3Changing Room Floors frequently left wet and dirty both in main room and in showers. Towels & kit left for long periods of time in changing rooms Slips, trips and fallsClub members, guests, students, instructorsApparently users are supposed to clean up after themselves. Cleaner’s schedule in summer is twice a week and in autumn winter just once a weekCleaning Schedule to be determined and new cleaner sourced 
4Storage racking, boats protrude at head or foot height. Impact to head Trip  Club members, guests, students, instructorsEquipment covered and tetheredPotential to rearrange the storage of boats to reduce risk of injury