IRLC Management of Emergencies

The primary concern is always for the safety of the rowers and coaches.

a) Swamping or Capsizing:

1.   Stroke shall take charge of crew.

2.    Stay with the boat; never try to swim to shore or away from the shell.  The shell will float even if full of water or upside down.

3.   In order to attract attention the coxy shall sound whistle or horn and crew shall wave.  Coxy and crew shall put on life vests when received from the coach boat.

4.   If swamped but not full of water, the crew remains in the boat and untie shoes, put on extra clothes and life vests.   Oars are kept fully extended to add buoyancy and stability.   If feasible half of the athletes should bail while the other rowers row slowly back to the club.  If fully swamped the boat may sink a few feet if the rowers remain in their seats.

5.   In the event of capsize, each rower should climb up onto the shell, thus removing as much of his/her body from the water as possible (one person should be on each side of the shell, with arms joined over the hull).  If the crew is in the water, the crew should keep legs together and arms against chest, while holding on to the boat and stay as still as possible to minimize heat loss.

On capsizing, rowers should immediately buddy and constantly keep watch over their buddy.  i.e. bow&2, 3&4, 5&6, 7&stroke&coxy.

16. Do not leave the shell to get into the coach boat until instructed to enter the coach boat. Then, proceed calmly and carefully to avoid capsizing or swamping the coach boat.

b) Rower Overboard:

If a rower goes overboard, such as when an athlete catches a crab:

1.   Let the boat run and hold water.

2.   Stroke may remove his/her oar and direct it in the direction of the overboard rower.

3.   The crew should then back the boat up to the rower and help him/her back into the rowing boat.

4.   If a coach boat is near, let the coach rescue the overboard rower.

c) Rower Unconscious:

If a rower has lost consciousness, support him/her in the water until a coach boat arrives or help him/her to the bank as quickly as possible if no coach boat is near. If necessary, resuscitation should be applied immediately, even if the rower is still in the water. As soon as you are on shore, call 911.

d) Hypothermia:

Hypothermia is the lowering of the body temperature to below 35 degrees Celsius, or 95 degrees Fahrenheit. In water temperatures between 1 and 5 degrees Celsius, exhaustion or unconsciousness sets in between 5 to 30 minutes. Death can occur in less than 1 hour. The first symptom of hypothermia is usually confusion and lack of coordination followed by blue lips, shivering, loss of muscular co-ordination, decreased consciousness, fatigue, and shock. Once ashore, athletes can find clothes and blankets in the boat house. Placing the involved rower’s body against another rower’s body is a safe and good emergency warming method. If the athlete does not resume normal status rapidly take them to the Emergency Dept. of the Headwaters Hospital.

e) Collision and Injury:

1.   If an injury occurs when rowing, as a result of a collision or other misadventure, ensure the comfort and safety of the individual as best possible, while minimizing further aggravation of the injury.  Transfer the injured person to the coach boat or return to the dock.

2.   The first priority is the safety of all athletes. Make sure that all athletes are safe before rescuing the equipment.

3.   When back on shore, call 911, if needed, or rush individual to the hospital.  Call ahead and warn them that an injured/hypothermic rower is on the way.

4.   Report all damage and injuries to the Head Coach and/or Club Captain