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Pulling (Fixed Seat Rowing)


(Published January 2018, last reviewed with no updates March 2022)

What is pulling (fixed seat rowing)?

Pulling is propelling an open craft primarily by the use of oars where there is fixed seating, and often includes a coxswain and a crew. The term pulling is normally used for large open boats such as Gigs, Cutters and Whalers, but also includes small fixed seat boats such as the Pioneer. Pulling Permits can also include Punting (propelling a boat with a pole), Gondolas and Sculling Over the Stern.

What is a pulling (fixed seat rowing) permit?

The adventurous activity permit scheme is designed to ensure that only people with the relevant skills and experience lead adventurous activities for the young people. Therefore all activities classed as adventurous can only be led by someone holding the appropriate permit. Additionally young people (under 18) can take part in adventurous activities for themselves with personal activity permits.

A pulling permit is required for all pulling taking place except in class C water. Definitions of water classifications can be found in POR.

Levels of permit

Pulling permits can be issued for any class of water. Each class of permit can be further restricted (such as types of boat, non-tidal etc) to end up with an individual permit to the level of the competence and requirements of any person.

Types of permit

There are three types of permit available for pulling. These are:

Personal - Allows a young person (under 18) to take part in pulling with others with a personal pulling permit.

Leadership - Allows the permit holder to lead pulling for a single boat or group.

Supervisory - Allows the permit holder to remotely supervise more than one pulling boat or group.

Permit limitations

Personal - If you hold a personal pulling permit you can go pulling in single and double handed craft with others who hold a personal pulling permit. It does not allow you to go pulling with anyone not holding a pulling permit.

Leadership - If you have permit to lead pulling then you can:

  • Look after up to six single-handed and double-handed craft or eight people, whichever is fewer, at one time. You need to remain on the water whenever the activity is taking place
  • Look after one pulling boat containing more than two people at a time. You need to remain in the boat whenever it is being used.

Supervisory - If you hold a permit to supervise pulling then you can supervise up to three groups of pulling boats (as above). All supervised boats should be within communication range of the permit holder who will need to be in or have immediate access to a rescue craft (this may be another pulling boat). You remain responsible for all the groups you are supervising, but can designate someone with the appropriate skills to be the leader of each boat.


When supervising other boats the holder of a pulling supervisor permit needs to designate a leader for each boat. This designation lasts only for the current activity while the permit holder is supervising.

People designated as boat leaders should hold the skills and be responsible enough control the boat safely in the waters that they are in. There is no problem with making young people boat leaders if they are up to the role, and it can be used as a useful development tool.

Rules relating to pulling (fixed seat rowing)

Rule 9.7 Adventurous Activities Permit Scheme

Rule 9.8 Adult groups undertaking activities

Rule 9.13.1 All water activities

Rule 9.13.2 Life Jackets and Buoyancy Aids

Rule 9.13.3 Classification of Waters

Rule 9.13.4 Activities on class c waters

Rule 9.13.5 Boats

Rule 9.13.6 Charter Vessels

General activity rules

Rule 9.1 All Activities

Rule 9.6 Use of External Centres and Instructors