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Rowing Safety

All members, coaches and crew teams must follow traffic pattern rules at all times unless otherwise noted by a safety boat. This will help insure safety for you and other boats on the water. Traffic patterns are posted in the shed and also in the safety binder located in the boat house shed.


All rowers must be able to pass a swimming test as detailed in the guidelines section and produce a Lifeguard’s signed testimony of having done so. The swim test is attached to the back of the handbook.


A safety launch must be on the water and accompany all junior rowers and rowers that are within their first session. The only time this does not need to be followed is if a coach is in the boat with a junior rower or new rower.


All rowers must have a signed Disclosure, Waiver and Release of Liability on file and resigned wavier document each spring. All employees, volunteers and participants must sign the acknowledgement for HLRC Safety Guidelines and Athlete Protection Policy and renew each spring.

Flip Test
Once rowers are comfortable in a boat and coaches feel they are ready, rowers will complete a flip test. This is done for several different reasons. One, so rowers can learn the correct way to get back into a boat without hurting themselves or damaging the boats. It gives rowers insight as to what they need to do if they flip
and they are not right next to a coaching launch. This will also help the coaches gain a better understanding of rowers that may not be as strong as others at swimming.


HLRC launches may only be used by a Qualified Operator authorized by the Director; except in cases of emergency. The following rules of operating a safety launch must be followed. Our launch must always carry:

  • A coast guard approved personal flotation device (PFD) and blanket for each person in the launch and each person in a boat not already carrying one

  • Lights if before sunrise or after sundown

  • An efficient noise making device (horn)

  • An anchor with at least 50′ of anchor line attached to launch

  • Paddle

  • Tool kit including flashlight & bailer

  • First aid kit

  • Lifeline

  • Fire extinguisher

  • Megaphone

  • Cell phone


Rowing from Dusk to Dawn or in Fog
When rowing in between dusk and dawn, or if it’s foggy, all boats should have three lights with them. One light should be on the bow of all shells (placed in bow number holder or attached to bow end of boat), another light should be in the stern (white head light or a white light that’s attached to stern of boat) and, lastly, there should be a bow rowing light. (This light should be a flashing red light worn by bow rower – clip on bicycle lights work well for this.)


Injury or Feeling Ill
Any person that is feeling ill while at HLCR should be brought to the attention of a HLRC staff person. Any incidents involving personal injury both on and off the water should be reported immediately to HLRC or Sem Staff member.

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