On our stretch of the Tidal Thames, we navigate according to the 'Tideway Code'  which is a set of rules & regulations published the Port of London Authority (PLA). Steer certification is the process we use to validate a member's understanding and ability to navigate under the tideway code. This process is in place to make sure that you, and other river users, are safer when out on the water. When you are steer-certed, you will be able to steer a boat unsupervised on the tideway.

what are the steer cert levels?



8+, 4+, 4x+

You can steer an eight or four from the coxes seat only.


Small Boats

1x, 2x-, 2-

You can steer a double, pair and single from the bow seat, and steer an eight or four from the coxes seat.

MAS F 4x- (1).jpg

Large Boats

4x-, 4-

You can steer any club boat from the bow or coxes seat (excluding captains permissions boats).

HenleyMAsters - JHS

captains permission


Whilst not strictly a level, it is notable that some club boats are reserved and require captains permission.

Prior to passing your steer cert you must use 'Open Use' club boats only. Once you have passed your test you may use 'Steer cert only' boats. Boat lists can be found here.

How to get your steer Cert


Attend or watch the recorded steer cert lecture to learn the theory.

All of the literature can be found here including the recorded lecture.


Pass the online theory test.

Take the online test. You may attempt the test multiple times if necessary.



Once you've passed the online theory test, you can put it into practice on the river whilst being supervised by your coach or an experienced member - click here to read more on supervision.


Recommendation & Request Your Practical Test.

Once you have had sufficient practice steering out on the water, your coach or supervisor can make a recommendation to put you in for your practical test. You can then request your practical test via the online form


Practical test.

Your practical test will be arranged. An assessor will watch you steer an outing. Good luck!


Further levels.

You must start with your small boats steer cert in order to progress further. Once you have passed your small boats steer cert, you must have a minimum of 3 months practice before progressing to your large boats steer cert.  To achieve your large boats steer cert, you must follow steps 3 to 6 in a large boat (practice, recommendation, test).



non steer-Certed members

The steer-cert process only works when non steer-certed members are able to practice the theory of steering on the Tideway. Coaches and experienced steer-certed members are able to supervise non steer-certed members. Anyone supervising must remember that they are taking responsibility for the safety and correct navigation of the non steer-certed boat(s).

The following guidelines are to be followed:

  • The launch or boat supervising must be in close proximity to the non steer-crews boat(s) at all times

  • One steer-certed person in a single can supervise one non steer-certed person in a single

  • One experienced steer-certed person in a single can supervise two non steer-certed people in two singles, if they have both passed their theory test and are close to being able to apply for a practical test.

  • One steer-certed person in the stroke seat of a double can take the responsibility for steering a boat with a non steer certed person in the bow seat of the same double.

  • A coach or experienced steer-certed person in a launch may supervise more than one non steer-certed steered boat, but only if those boats are of a similar speed, remain within hearing distance and there is a maximum of:

    • Four singles

    • Three doubles/pairs

    • Two fours/quads. Two fours should only be considered if at least one four has a steer-certed person in the two seat (coxless) or in the bow seat (coxed)

    • One eight

If you have any questions, please do get in touch!