YMCA of Rockford

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Document last revised, November 8, 2005
General Rules
Safety comes first. All members are to be safety conscious at ALL times.
Only Club members, or those persons attending organized Club classes, who have paid all club fees or
met Club requirements, will be allowed to row or cox in club boats. Persons who are potential new
members of the club may row with the club for a two-week trial period before paying dues if they have
signed a club waiver form. However, these individuals may not represent RYRC in any regattas until they
have paid their dues. Paid members of other rowing clubs may row or cox as guest members on a
limited basis, as coaches permit.
Each member or guest member must have a signed waiver on file. It is the responsibility of the Club
manager to ensure that an up-to-date record of waivers is kept. It is the responsibility of the Program
coach to ensure that waivers are completed by all program participants.
Every program practice (whether regularly scheduled or other) must have, at minimum, one person in
direct supervision throughout the practice. If the coach is not present, the individual supervising the
program practice must be on the official RYRC list of alternate coaches, approved by the Board; this list
will be posted on the boathouse bulletin board. Approved individuals must be at least 18 years old and
not currently a member of the Junior program, be qualified in rowing by training or experience, be
knowledgeable about basic sports safety principles and basic rowing safety and be authorized by the
appropriate program coach.
The appropriate program coach must approve the use of any RYRC boat by program members. During a
program's practices, the coaches will approve the use of specific boats by program participants. Program
coaches are responsible for establishment and oversight of requirements for individuals in their
programs to use boats outside of scheduled program practice. Individual practices must avoid conflicts
with scheduled practices of any group.
The program coach has the authority to cancel program practices for safety reasons and shall otherwise
exercise his/her advisory role. As part of determining whether a practice should be canceled, the coach
for the practice shall obtain a current weather forecast to determine whether severe weather is
predicted. For individual practices, the coxswain, sculler, or bow person, shall assume all responsibilities
normally undertaken by the coach.
Practices MUST be canceled if lightning is seen by anyone and boats shall remain off the water for a full
30 minutes after lightning is observed. Boats already on the water should immediately seek a safe
location to wait out the storm (return to RYRC boathouse if safely possible). A lightning detector is
available in the boathouse to help determine the distance of the storm from the boathouse over time -
practices should be canceled or delayed as warranted on the basis of this information.
The coxswain is in sole command of a shell and should be the only person giving commands and
instructions when the shell is moving. Rowers can assist new coxswains in improving their skills, but only
when the shell is not moving. If a coxswain's command will place either the crew or equipment in a
harmful position, the rowers have the responsibility to stop the shell. A rower should only stop the boat
and NOT attempt to issue correcting instructions or commands. Any request by a member of a crew to
end practices for impending weather is to be granted.
All sweep boats that are equipped for coxswains shall not go out on the water without a coxswain. If a
coxswain is not available, a shell will not go out unless the shell is accompanied by the launch and prior
approval has been received from the coach.
All club boats and boats stored at the boat house are to be accompanied by a launch when the water
temperature is below 55°F, or when conditions warrant a launch escort as determined by a program
coach. When a launch accompanies shells, singles and doubles are to stay within 100 yards of the launch
and within 100 yards of shore; other boats are to stay within 500 yards of the launch. For early and late
season rowing and sculling (water temperature below 55°F), launch drivers must be certified and
approved by the program coach. Early and late season sculling, under the guidance of the sculling coach,
generally shall be limited to competitors and take place during the daylight period.
No club boats are to be rowed after dark (1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise) unless all of
the following conditions are met:
Practice is supervised by a program coach;
Shells and launches are properly lighted;
All boats are accompanied by a launch and all shells remain within 100 yards of the launch at all times.
Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices (PFDs) must be carried in all water craft. At the
minmum this means:
1 PFD per 4s and 8s, usually carried by the coxswain;
1 PFD per person in the rowcats and in all training boats;
As many PFD as reasonable in a launch but a minimum of 5, plus 1 per person in the launch (including at
least one throwable type 4 PFD [seat cushion]).
The manager must give approval for any boats to be transported from the boat house. All shells and
launches taken out of the boat house for any practice are to be signed out in the logbook. For practices,
coxswains are responsible for signing the boats in and out. For sculling, the bowman is responsible. The
responsible person should include in the logbook the boat name, the direction the boat will be headed,
and the time of departure. On return, the return time, comments, and above all, any equipment
problems encountered should be entered in the log. A detailed entry noting the problem should be
entered in the maintenance log and the manager informed of the problem. If warranted, place an ""Out
of Service"" marker on the boat. For regattas, the coach or group captain is responsible for following the
above instructions. Unless otherwise arranged, all boats must be returned to rowable condition after a
trip or regatta prior to the next scheduled practice for any program,
All shells are to follow the set traffic pattern, as shown on the attached map.
Miscellaneous Rules
All boat house doors are to be shut, locked, or fully secured, and all equipment properly secured in the
boat house when crews are on the water and when the last person leaves the boat house.
The boat house is to be used for official Rockford YMCA Rowing Club activities only. Any other use of the
boat house by members must be previously approved by the Board or the manager.
All gasoline is to be kept in the outside storage cabinet. Other flammable materials must be stored in
the appropriate storage area.
Smoking is not permitted in or around the boathouse or storage area.
Alcohol consumption is not permitted in or around the boathouse.
Park hours are posted in the park by the City of Rockford. Except as specifically authorized by the Board
of Directors, no one is to be in or near the boat house outside of park hours, except to return equipment
after a regatta.
Club members must obtain permission from their program coach and the boathouse manager to use any
RYRC non-boating facilities outside of normal practice times. This includes use of Club exercise
equipment, tools, or office facilities.
The boathouse is officially closed for use by club members when the on-the-water season ends (i.e.
when the dock is removed). Exceptions will be made for regularly scheduled Board meetings and specific
events scheduled by program coaches and/or approved by the Board.
Junior members of the club may not be in the boathouse or boathouse vicinity unsupervised.
Supervision for any non-water rowing activity occurring during practice times must be provided by a
program coach or an adult designated by the Head or Assistant Coach of the Junior program.
The boat house door lock combination is not to be shared with any non-club members.
Equipment handling guidelines
Moving boats
When lifting a boat always make sure there are enough people and that they are properly distributed.
Always lift boats off the racks, don't slide them off on the gunwales.
Watch riggers carefully to make sure they won't hit or scrape anything.
When putting a shell on the racks or on stretchers, make sure it isn't resting on any part of the rigger.
Lift the boat evenly.
Always use a coxswain to move a boat. Listen for the coxswain's commands and refrain from
unnecessary talking.
Never step in the bottom of the shell or drop anything heavy into the bottom of the shell.
Before leaving the dock at the beginning of practice, do a quick inspection of seat, rigger, stretchers, etc.
to make sure no parts are missing, loose, or broken. Notify coach or supervisory person immediately if
there is a problem. Replace missing or broken parts immediately. If something can't be fixed, use a
different shell. Never row a damaged shell. Any problems found before and/or after practice should be
entered in the log and written on the white board over the sign-out desk in the boathouse.
Be careful when landing at the dock. Remember that the coxswain is in charge. Take the best approach
to landing and proceed slowly in order to prevent boat damage. If the first attempt at landing does not
go well, weigh enough, back off and try again. Always try to have someone catch you at the dock.
Shells are to be given routine preventive maintenance as scheduled by the manager.
When transporting shells to regatta remove all seats and rigging. Gunwales should be on foam
protectors, never on plain metal. Make sure all shells are secure - boats should not be able to move in
any direction during transport.
Drivers transporting boats to regattas are responsible for compliance with all applicable laws and
regulations for boat transportation.
Do not place shells on the ground. shells should be placed on stretchers or horses so they are properly
supported. Always walk around a supported shell, never step over a shell.
manager directly if you need information about the rigging process or to discuss specific boats.
Handling oars
All oars have been color-coded as matched sets. Use matched sets of oars for the same shell. Sculling
oars are to be used only with the shell designated for that set.
Do not change oar markings or settings without the club manager's approval.
Carry oars with blades forward and only carry one or two oars at a time.
Never lean oars against the side of a building.
If an oar is damaged, place it on the rack designated for damaged oars and make a note of it on the
white board in the boathouse and on your log entry.
Handling launches
Launch drivers need to be approved by the managers and are responsible for compliance with all
boating regulations while operating MRC equipment. Use of the launches is to be entered on the log
sheets by the launch driver, just as is done with shells. ANY CLUB PROPERTY IS TO BE USED FOR
ROWING-RELATED PURPOSES ONLY. Launches are to be used only for rowing related purposes unless
otherwise approved in advance by the Board.
Launches stored on the lifts are to be securely tied to the lift and the lift properly hoisted and locked at
the completion of each practice.
Launches stored on the trailer inside the boat house are to have all gasoline tanks removed. The
gasoline is to be stored in the designated spot for flammable material.
The launch is to be considered a safety vehicle at all times. Launch drivers should make sure all the
proper safety equipment is in the launch before leaving the dock. Launch drivers should be familiar with
rescue guidelines. The number of persons in the launch should be limited to ensure room is available to
rescue crew, if necessary.
Make sure any equipment problems are entered in the log - DO NOT ASSUME THAT SOMEONE ELSE HAS
REPORTED THE PROBLEM. If the problem is severe, make sure that the equipment will not be used by
anyone else - such use has the potential to cause additional damage or to cause injury to a rower.