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In Case of Emergency: Points for your Boat Club

In Case of Emergency: Points for your Boat Club

Emergencies – the dreaded creeping potential of having numerous humans doing, well, just about anything together in a “perfect storm”. Couple it with water, weather, and large objects, and you have yourself a situation that can end up in any of a number of unpleasant ways (uh-oh!). As a boat club manager, there are heaps of things you can do to mitigate injury, but what can you do to prepare for it? Here’s a little checklist (and breathe easier).

Know the numbers

Each coach should have on their phone (which should be on them at all times) the numbers of:

  • The nearest doctor to the river
  • The nearest Hospital Emergency Room to the river
  • The nearest police station (not the emergency hotline, but the local number)

Post these numbers on laminated paper in each locker room, boat storage, and behind the reception desk. Better still, put that laminated sheet into every coach boat.

Get a professional’s advice

Get a member of the local police to visit the club and tell the coaches, staff and volunteers about the most common types of accident that may happen. Get their advice on club safety and security.  These guys regularly check they know how to access buildings and know the layouts of stairwells and vehicle bays – be sure your club is known and recorded by all the local emergency services, fire, police and ambulance.  If you’re on the sea the local sea rescue (RNLI in UK) should also be on that list.

CPR and first aid

Have at least one person at the club at all times who knows CPR.  Keep a well stocked first aid kit at the club that anyone can have access to, for small emergencies or ‘in the mean time’ scenarios before medical help can arrive.


While not of course, an obvious emergency, blisters can still be a threat. Here’s a great series on avoiding rowing blisters from our friends at Rowperfect. Read first, ‘The unseen dangers of rowing‘ to discover how important it is to encourage best practice in cleanliness and medical care in your boat club.  Dying from a water-borne disease is not a good advert, especially when it’s so preventable.

What do you think is crucial in preparing for emergencies?

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