Rowing in the dark
9th February 2017
Two years ago, almost to the day, the tragic death of Michael Hill occurred. This evening as I cycled along the embankment I saw an eight paddling of with the coach still on the bank. The eight had reached the Barnes Wetland Center with still no sign of the coach. Can I please remind all clubs about the instructions I put out two years ago, that are still relevant today:
1. The compulsory wearing of kill cords by all drivers of launches.
2. The wearing of a properly serviced life jackets by Coaches and Coxes and they are properly trained on how to wear and check such jackets. The use of an automatic inflation jacket is preferred unless coxing a bow coxed four
3. If outings take place at night, it is strongly recommended that all life jackets be fitted with a lifejacket water activated flashing light.
4. All Clubs should ensure that their outboard engines are properly serviced and most importantly checked to ensure they cannot start in gear and are working properly and that they are serviced to such levels regularly.
5. The Regional Council at its recent meeting confirmed the request from the Port of London Authority that Clubs MUST ensure the restriction of lone use of both coaching launches and rowing boats at night.
Explanation of lone use
No single person should be out alone at night. They should always have a buddy with them. The following examples apply;
A single scull should go out with another single scull or coach and they should remain in visual contact at all times.
A rowing boat with a coach should remain in visual contact at all times. The "practise" of a boat paddling off while the coach starts the engine is not safe. The crew should wait with the coach until the coach is ready to depart.
If going out at night make sure someone on shore knows you are going out and they know your expected return time. Importantly, let them know when you have finished your outing. Don't rely on the outing log book.
Make sure someone in each vessel is carrying a mobile phone in a waterproof bag with lanyard. Know which emergency service to call in case of difficulties.
Can all clubs please ensure that this best practise is enforced.
Rowing Safety Adviser | Thames Regional Rowing Council
Mobile: +44 (0) 7734157644