How to Learn from Safety Incidents and Share the Knowledge Around the Club
Nothing puts a damper on our favourite sport of rowing like common accidents on and off the water. Do any of these scenarios sound all-too-familiar?
- Slipping in water puddling off boats fresh from the river
- Dropping boats and fracturing them
- Collisions on the water between boats (watch where you’re going!)
- Collisions on the water with stationary objects – trees / banks / poles – it happens!
Let’s jump straight into avoiding the mishaps
Drying off your boat once you get out of the water is not that hard to do before you put it back in the boat shed. As a result of wiping it down you’ve prevented big puddles in the shed that could cause someone to slip resulting in an injury,and you’re taking better care of your boat.
Although hitting the odd pole, bank, and tree can be a tad humorous for onlookers, it can result in damaging boats which is not only annoying but costly. It can also be very harmful to others that are on the water. For example, Canadian Olympic rower SilkenLaumann was doing routine warm ups 78 days before the Olympic finals when a coxless German pair’s boat cut across her path. The German’s pointed bow tore into her lower right leg, shredding nerves, shearing muscles and fracturing the fibula. As major accidents like this can happen, rowers need to keep an eye to their surrounds. Not only will this stop the breakage of equipment by hitting banks etc but will avoid the unfortunate incidence like Laumann went through. To become more aware of your surroundings on the water get to know the traffic flows, and take the time to check that nothing is coming up behind you.
Creating awareness for rowing water safety is paramount to club management. Turn these accidents into something positive by placing posters around your club on how to prevent such accidents. You should also review club safety standards regularly and update them. Promote water safety with posters from RowSafefor example, and our own guide It’sNotSafetoRowontheWaterWhen.., or British Water Safety Guide to Good Rowing Practice, which in 2008, replaced the Water Safety Code. The main message in this new guide is that clubs have a responsibility to provide information, education and training about safety, and individuals have a responsibility to find this information and put it into practice – which is exactly what we’re talking about.
More safety guidelines for Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand: