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Safety Manual

Safety Manual



1. All members will read and acknowledge with their signature that they understand and will comply with all club safety rules prior to participating in any club activities. A Safety Assessment will be completed by any person wishing to row as a member of the club.
2. Guest rowers who have not completed the safety training and assessment will not row alone.
3. Prior to participating in any club activity, all persons will sign the U.S. Rowing waiver of liability acknowledging the risks and hazards of rowing. Members will sign a waiver each year when paying dues.
4. All practices will be recorded in the log book prior to rowing with names of rowers, the boat being rowed and the direction the boat will go, north or south. Coaches may log for all boats under their supervision with a single entry, however, all boats must be noted. Each boat not under the direct on water supervision of the coach must be logged out and in individually.
5. A bulletin board will be mounted in a prominent place in the boatyard with a posting of safety rules, any safety notices or updated and emergency phone numbers. Rowers and coaches will check this board prior to launching.
6. There will be a safety committee lead by the Sarasota County Rowing Club Safety Director to ensure this plan is kept current and followed. The safety committee will complete a monthly safety inspection of the facility and equipment and of the requirements in this manual. The committee will be responsible to ensure any required corrective action is completed. Additionally, the safety committee will conduct an annual review of this manual and update and redistribute as needed.


1. Each rower will participate in a water safety program. Coaches, the SCRC Captain, and the SCRC Safety Director are responsible for ensuring rowers are trained. Topics will include:

a. Rescue procedures in the water
b. Recognition of unsafe water conditions
c. Basic first aid
d. Proper navigation rules and boat handling e. Rowing terminology

2. All rowers will demonstrate their swimming/flotation skills by completing the club swimming assessment or indicating with their signature that they can swim at least 50 yards.
3. Anyone injured during a rowing activity or on the boatyard grounds will report the injury to the coach, safety director or club officer. If sufficiently serious, a formal incident report will be submitted to the club president.
4. All launches will operate in accordance with applicable safety regulations
5. Experienced rowers new to the club will be given complete safety course rules and ICW familiarization training before rowing. They will row the ICW first with an experienced rower. Beginning rowers must be adequately instructed and supervised until skill level to row unsupervised has been demonstrated and certified.
6. Club boats will only be transported on a car, van or trailer by a driver specifically designated by the club president, equipment manager or coach. They will be familiar with related U.S. Rowing guidelines and comply with all motor vehicle rules for doing so.


1. All gasoline storage will be in a secure, approved storage area and will use approved, flame proof containers.
2. Fire extinguishers will be present, clearly marked and regularly inspected.
3. Bays will be kept free of obstacles
4. Launches will be stored in the designated storage area.
5. A first aid kit will be maintained in the boatyard shed and inspected regularly.
6. An AED will be maintained in the boatyard and will be inspected regularly.
7. Boatyard gates will be locked when departing. Boatyard gates will be locked if no one is in the immediate vicinity and on the shore.
8. Trash in the boatyard and in the area surrounding the boatyard will be deposited in the appropriate containers.


1. Rowers and coaches must always be aware of weather conditions. Watch for gathering clouds, changes in wind speed/direction, temperature changes, etc.
2. Florida is the lightning capital of the U. S. Lightning detectors are inexpensive and can be clipped to your rowing clothes. Do not row if a thunderstorm warning exists for the immediate area. If a watch or a warning is in the region but outside the immediate vicinity exists, stay close to the dock area and monitor conditions. Consult radar on line. Many apps are available to give location of latest strikes relative to your position. Under no circumstances launch if lightning is within 10 miles of rowing area. If you are on the water and see lightning, hear thunder, or notice you hair standing on end with static electricity, head for the nearest shore. If the storm is upon you, take your boat ashore and wait for the storm to pass.
3. Boats will not launch in high wind conditions, defined as causing whitecaps on the water. If such conditions are encountered while on the water, return to the dock immediately if safe to do so. Otherwise, row to the nearest shore and wait for wind to subside.
4. Do not launch in darkness with fog. Do not launch in foggy conditions if you cannot see the mangrove island approximately 100 yards straight from the dock. If fog is predicted take a whistle with you in the boat. Whistles are located in shed. If fog is encountered while on the water, signal your position using one prolonged blast (4-5
seconds) followed by two short blasts (one second each). Listen for other whistles or sounds. Proceed very slowly and quietly to be able to hear approaching power boats or to stop quickly if coming upon an obstruction. Watch for channel makers. If you are in a dangerous situation where collision is imminent; sound the danger signal, eight or more short blasts. If lack of visibly warrants, go to shore or shallow water to wait for fog to clear.
5. Avoid shallow water in warmer weather when manatees are most likely to be present. A scared or disturbed manatee will attempt to dive. The force of an attempted dive brings the tail up where it can damage equipment and injure rowers.


1. All boats launched from the boatyard must have a bow ball affixed.
2. Every boat launching from the boatyard must have heel restraints/quick release mechanisms in compliance with USRA rules. Coaches, the safety director and committee will assure they are properly maintained and notify the equipment manager if corrective maintenance is necessary.
3. Shoes with Velcro closures are strongly recommended in all boats. If tied shoes are used they should be only snug enough to hold the foot stable, but remain loose enough for quick foot removal in the event of an emergency.
4. For both safety and equipment maintenance reasons, rowers will only use boats that are consistent with their skill level. As beginner rowers progress in skill, club leadership will designate available boats. This does not preclude “rowing up” in higher level equipment under the supervision of experienced rowers or coaches.
5. The rower in the bow seat of a club owned sculling boat is strongly recommended to use a sculling mirror.
6. Bow seat rowers must demonstrate the ability to safely land a boat at the dock without damage to the equipment. The coach, safety director or a safety committee member will certify rowers for bow seat. A list of bow seat certified members will be kept by the Safety Director.
7. After leaving the boatyard and prior to going to the dock, all boats are to be put in slings to remove oar lock cozies, adjust foot stretchers and check for proper working order and loose nuts and bolts on riggers, foot stretchers, tracks and seats.
8. Boats launching in low light conditions must have a white stern light and red/green bow light attached to the boat. Single scullers will wear a light either on their hat, back or boat.
9. After rowing, all boats are placed in slings and washed with plenty of soap and water, with special attention to riggers, tracks and seats. Oars are rinsed and the oar handles submerged in the bleach bath located in the boatyard. Oarlock cozies must be in place before reentering the boatyard.
10. Any and all damage to equipment must be immediately logged and reported to the Equipment Manager.


1. Oars are taken to the dock and placed in the oar racks prior to taking the boat to the dock.
2. Rowers are expected to approach the dock with all the equipment they will need to launch in a quick and efficient manner. Water bottles, phones in dry bags, extra clothing, etc., should be on the rower’s person rather than cluttering the dock.
3. Boats should aspire to launch within 2 minutes of stepping on the dock. 4. Incoming boats have dock priority.


1. Stay in the ICW between the red and green channel marker. Traffic in the ICW travels to the right of the waterway.
2. Power boats have the right of way.
3. When turning, the boat traveling in the regular traffic pattern has the right of way. 4. Use caution when passing under the Blackburn Point Bridge. Check for traffic on both sides before proceeding through. Watch for tides and eddies which make going under the bridge more difficult for singles and doubles.
5. Study the attached maps to locate areas of sand bars and oyster beds which WILL damage equipment.


1. In case of an emergency when a coach is present in a launch, the coach will direct the rowers in what steps are necessary to remedy the situation. PFDs are on board the launch in case rowers must be rescued from the water.
2. All rowers are strongly encouraged to take their cell phones with them in a dry bag when rowing in order to call 911 if an emergency arises and medical help is required. An AED is located at the boatyard.
3. Capsizing is almost expected at some point in a single rower’s life on the water. All scullers should familiarize themselves with the procedure to right a boat and re-enter from the water. If you flip and are too tired, cold, or unclear how to re-enter the boat, swim the boat to shallow water to right the boat and re-enter. Do not leave the boat. Even a swamped or upside down boat will not sink.
4. If you are rowing with a single sculler and they flip, stay with them to assist. If they are unable to get back into the boat unassisted, hold the rigger opposite the sculler in the water while they pull themselves back into the boat.
5. Heat stroke is life threatening. Symptoms may include confusion, behavior changes, nausea, muscle cramps and dizziness. Always take water in the boat and drink often when rowing in warm weather. Seek medical help immediately for rowers with symptoms.