In the Wake of a Storm: Safety Procedures for Rowing Clubs
Whether you’re in the U.S. or another pocket of the globe, you’ve surely heard of the wreckage Hurricane Sandy left in its wake on the U.S. Eastern Seaboard. The event reminds rowing communities of the havoc a storm can leave around a boathouse, after it’s long gone. Our article today gives us precautionary steps to ensure the safety of club members as they venture back into the water. This excellent article is by RowingTalks – a group dedicated to helping rowing coaches reach new heights.
Watch Out #1: Is what should be UP still UP?
Do a slow and mindful walk around your boathouse. Two main things you are looking for: downed wires and weakened tree branches.
Downed wires are usually easy to spot, and if your boathouse is in a public area they probably already have been reported. But it is wires like the ones below that can be really dangerous.
Are they telephone lines? Computer cables? Or powerlines that when grabbed can kill someone outright?
And how about weakened branches? Y’know, the ones that WILL fall in short time. Significant tree damage can happen after a storm, so look, and then report to those who need to know.
Watch Out #2: Scrub your handles
I think oar handles are magnetic, the way they seem to attract things. If your handles were immersed in storm water then it is a safe bet they are covered with unpleasantries.
We once had an instance where the handles had been immersed and the storm water had been contaminated with diesel oil. Unknowningly, we did not clean the handles, they were rowed, and several rowers got blisters and some of those got infected.
Wash the handles well with soap and water, and scrub them. The physical action of scrubbing is important to disburse any oils and particles attached to the handles. A good dish-soap will probably do the trick, unless other chemicals were involved. In that case you are probably best to contact the manufacturers to see what they recommend.
Watch Out #3: Animals seeking shelter
When the waters rise animals go into survival mode. They begin searching for safe haven.
A seats-down shell is a wonderful shelter for a black snake. A bow-compartment in a launch is perfect home for a family of raccoons. A life jacket locker couldn’t be homier for a pack of rats. And mice like to hide in garden hoses as the storm swirls around them. (Yup, all examples I’ve experienced.)