JRC SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS FOR ROWERS

Clothing

Life preservers.  There are a number of inflatable types that are light weight an do not interfere with rowing.

Alert shirts.  Rowing shells may be difficult to see from other vessels, and are particularly hard to locate from other shows where the observer is close to the water’s surface.  Bright yellow “alert shirts” can be seen at a distance of a mile or more.  They can be purchased on the web at www.alertshirt.com.  You can also purchase locally a light weight vest that serves the same purpose at Alaska Industrial Hardware in the Airport Mall.  WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU PURCHASE AND WEAR AN ALERT SHIRT.

Leaving the Dock

Secure your oars.  Always double check to make sure that the bail on your rigger is securely locked down.  Your oars are your out riggers, if one of them comes out of the rigger YOU WILL GO OVER.  Also, make sure that you have the right oar in right rigger and that it is behind, or aft, of the pin.  Even experienced rowers occasionally make one of these mistakes.  If you do, return to the dock immediately.  Don’t try to fix the problem on the water.

To enter the shell, grasp both oar handles in one hand for stability, step into the middle of the shell.  Avoid putting any weight on your rigger if it is resting on the dock.

On the water

Never let go of your oars.  If you do, there is a very high risk that you will go over.  If you need to use your hands, cradle the oars between chest and thigh.  This will enable them to maintain their outrigger, stabilizing function.

Be alert to the presence of other craft, including rowers, as well as debris in the water.  Colliding with another shell, riding up on a log, hitting a buoy, etc., can cause you to capsize.

Follow the traffic pattern.  North of the yacht club, row in a counter clockwise pattern – going north favor the Glacier Highway side of the channel, return mid-channel.  South of the yacht club the channel is less constricted and the patter is looser, but still counter clockwise.

Unless you are an experienced rower, don’t row alone.  If you must, row north and stay close to the road.

Should you capsize

Don’t panic.

Don’t leave your shell.

The Alden Ocean shells, including the club boat, are very stable and ideal for beginning rowers.  They have plenty of floatation.  In the unlikely event that you capsize, crawl back in make your way to shore or wait for rescue.

If you are in one of more tender shells and capsize, right the shell, if necessary, by standing on the rigger.  Arrange the oars perpendicular to the shell.  Grasp both oar handles in one hand (remember your outriggers) and lever yourself back into the boat.  Carefully resume your position, never letting go of the oars.  Open the self bailer and row the water out. 

If you can’t get back into your boat, approach the shell from the stern, lever yourself onto the back deck and paddle yourself to the nearest shore, surfboard fashion.  Do not leave your shell.