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November, 2002
Welcome to the reinstatement of the monthly newsletter.  If you have issues, opinions, jokes, pictures, or articles of interest; then contact editor Herb Colling

Club President, Tom Ouellette, and the LRC board have launched an investigation into an accident in July in which a four collided with a channel marker.  The collision cracked a rigger, capsized the boat and threw the crew into the water.  The purpose of the inquiry is not to assess blame, but to determine what happened, why, and what the club can do to prevent such mishaps in future, and to develop safe operating procedures in the event that they happen again.
So far, four of seven rowers, on the water at the time, have recounted the chain of events.  It was 5:45 a.m.  Rowers could see the shore and each other, although it was dark.  When the boat hit the buoy, the crew was doing drills.  Because of the current, the boat rode up onto the buoy and spilled the crew into the water.  One rower yelled for the coach boat, but it was either too far away, or the operator couldn’t hear over the noise of the engine.  A couple of singles approached, and talked the crew off the buoy and back into the boat.  After determining that everyone was okay, the boat was rowed, half full of water, back to the clubhouse.

While a formal report has yet to be prepared, preliminary conclusions suggest that the coach boat should be in close proximity during times of limited visibility, to act as another set of eyes for the rowers, and also so that life vests and heaving lines can be issued quickly to rowing crews in trouble.  Life vests (of the horse collar type) should also be worn by poor swimmers, or inexperienced crew.  The coach boat operator should also be vested.  The coach boat should be equipped with more powerful lights, and a coxie, wearing a life vest, should have been in the four.  The bow person should have been aware of buoy locations.

It is recommended that more training be implemented for coach boat drivers and crews, with on-water safety drills so that individuals are aware of rescue procedures.  It is also recommended that, when rowing in the dark, each rower be equipped with a flashing light, and a whistle, in the event that they become separated from the boats.  The board would also like to know which members have some sort of life saving, or life guarding skills, CPR capability, or any other medical knowledge.  The club is considering making these types of courses available to the membership to increase our on-water skills.  
As always, in the event of an upset, the board maintains that the primary responsibility is to the welfare and well being of the crew.  Lives come first; boats come second.  We can always replace a boat.

Fortunately during the accident, no one panicked.  Several members of the capsized crew looked to the safety of their fellow rowers, and everyone stayed with the disabled boat.  The board of the LRC has contacted several other rowing clubs and has been issued safe operating manuals that will be compared and incorporated for club use.  The final document will be prominently displayed in the boathouse this summer, and all members are invited, and expected, to familiarize themselves with the rules.
The incident has raised the concern about spring and fall rowing where cold water and hypothermia become a factor.  Similar regulations are being formulated to govern those conditions, and the resulting manual will also be displayed in the boathouse:  Safety first.


FEBRUARY 6, 2002 Newsletter
 DECEMBER 7, 2001 Newsletter
Past LRC News Letters