FOX VALLEY ROWING CLUB, INC.
The following rules and regulations apply to all members of the FOX VALLEY ROWING CLUB,
INC. (“FVRC”) and “Learn to Row” class participants.
A. GENERAL RULES
1. Membership. Only dues paying FVRC members and persons enrolled in FVRC-
sponsored “Learn to Row” classes will be allowed to row or cox in FVRC shells. Paid members of
other rowing clubs can row or cox as guests on a limited basis. Each FVRC member must have a
current, signed USRA waiver on file (signed by a parent if the member is under 18) and be able to
2. Boat Storage. The FVRC offers boat storage for privately owned rowing shells (not
canoes, kayaks or other types of boats) on a limited basis. Storage fee of $115 per calendar year (or
portion thereof) applies. Anyone wanting to store a rowing shell in the FVRC boathouse is required
to join the FVRC, pay membership dues and have a current waiver on file.
3. Keys. Keys to the boathouse are issued by the FVRC Board of Directors upon request.
The Board reserves the right to charge a fee for each key issued, and to change the locks on the
boathouse as necessary to maintain security.
4. Safety First. Do not take chances, and do not overlook problems that put you or others at
5. Log Book. There is a log book in the boathouse, with a divider for each shell rowed by
the FVRC. All damage and repairs to shells should be noted in the log book. Additionally, all
rigging adjustments should be noted in the log book.
6. Communicate. Questions, worries, problems should be reported immediately to others in
the FVRC. With shells being regularly rowed by several different crews, it is especially important to
inform others of any problems with any of the shells. With lots of shells going into and out of the
house and on and off of the dock, be sure that other rowers, coxswains and coaches know what you
are doing at all times.
7. Heads Up in the Boathouse. This is common sense and always necessary. If you are at
the boathouse and other crews or rowers are moving shells in and out, your best bet is to stay outside
until it is your shell’s turn to enter or exit. Always know where your shell’s bow, stern and riggers
8. Report any Damage to Equipment Immediately. Accidents happen, and almost anything
can be fixed. This includes broken skegs, bent riggers, dents or holes in shells, broken footstretchers,
etc... If a shell is damaged, please inform others and note the damage in the log book in the
boathouse, so that the damage is not made worse and the shell is repaired as soon as possible.
Reporting damage promptly also aids in the maintenance of an appropriate supply of spare parts. Do
not row a damaged shell, and do not attempt repairs without asking someone how to fix a particular
problem. Do not assume that someone else has reported the problem.
9. Rigging. Please note all rigging adjustments in the log book in the boathouse. There is a
school of thought that the less people that know how to adjust rigging, the better. While we don’t
necessarily think that this is the case, neither do we want rigging being adjusted on a daily basis.
Everyone should know how to put riggers on and take them off, but adjustments to height, pitch,
spread, and other measurements should be done only after you have permission and a clear idea of
the correct way to make adjustments.
10. Junior/Novice Supervision. Each juniors practice and practice for novice (one year or
less experience) rowers of any age shall have, at a minimum, one person directly supervising. The
supervising individual shall be an experienced oarsman (at least two (2) years experience), be at least
19 years old and be either in a launch or in the shell.
11. Boathouse. All boathouse doors are to be locked at all times when crews are on the
water and when the last person leaves the boathouse.
12. Clean up. Please keep the boathouse neat. Do not store personal items (bikes, etc…) in
the boathouse. Boats should be thoroughly rinsed following each row. To avoid transmitting
infections, etc… oar handles should be thoroughly wiped down after use, preferably with Clorox
wipes (or equivalent).
B. RULES REGARDING HANDLING SHELLS
1. Don’t try to move a shell without having a full crew to do it. An eight should not be
moved with fewer than eight people.
2. Lift, don’t slide a boat off of the rack on its gunwales.
3. Don’t step, lean, or pass heavy objects over a shell, whether it is on a rack or on blocks on
the ground. Always walk around, never step over a shell.
4. Always be aware of where your bow and stern are, especially if you turning a shell on the
way in or out of the boathouse. The eights are approximately 60 feet long, and turning them between
the boathouse and the dock is tricky.
5. Always check for bicycles and other vehicles on the road to the boathouse before exiting
the boathouse with a shell. Kids on bikes or rollerblades come tearing down the hill regularly, and
nobody wants to have a kid on a bike hit a shell as it comes out of the house.
6. Always make sure that a shell, when placed on a rack, is not resting on one of its riggers.
C. RULES OF THE RIVER
1. Unless a coxswain’s command will place either the crew or the shell in immediate danger,
always obey your coxswain immediately. Your coxswain is in charge of the crew at all times. He or
she is the only person who can easily tell what is in front of the shell, and in all cases, the crew
should immediately respond to the coxswain’s calls. If a coxswain’s command will place the crew
or shell in immediate danger, however, the rowers have the responsibility to stop the shell.
2. Until the water temperature is above 50 degrees, do not row without either a launch or at
least one experienced person in the shell (experienced being two or more years on the river). Cold
water is a killer since hypothermia can render you unable to think, let along swim, within a minute.
Having an experienced person along is also important in the spring, because the river is very
different when the water is high and running fast because of snow melt. If you have only rowed the
river in August, you will be amazed at the current in April.
3. Row on the right hand side of the river. The river is like a street or highway - you are
expected to be on the right hand side.
4. Yield to smaller shells. Coxswains, realize that singles and doubles cannot see you as
well as you can see them. Even if you are on the right side of the river or otherwise have the “right
of way,” keep your distance from smaller shells and give them a wide berth.
5. Do not stop immediately upstream of the 441 bridge. When there is a lot of current, you
can drift into the bridge before you can start rowing.
6. Making the turn at Sunset Park: In the spring and any other time when there is a
significant current, plan your turn earlier than normal at Sunset Park. Later during the season you
can row farther toward the paper mill in Kimberly. When there is a current, however, do not tempt
fate and get too close to the Kimberly dam. Turn the shell at Sunset Park before stopping to get a
drink, strip down, or whatever. That way, if you need to move the shell in a hurry, you are pointed in
the right direction.
7. “Straight” Shells. Only row a “straight” four (a four without a cox) with an experienced
(two years or more) rower in the bow. The bow seat will have to call the turns and otherwise steer
the shell, as well as get you back to the dock. Do not take out an eight without a coxswain.
8. Be courteous on the dock. Do not cut in front of another shell, do not obstruct others and
do not litter the dock with shoes or other items. Launch and land quickly and safely, so as to free up
the dock for other shells that may be waiting to launch and/or land. The dock is not a good place for
discussion. In heavy traffic, get in and launch and wait to tie in and adjust footstretchers until you
are on the water away from the dock. If there are numerous shells launching and landing at the same
time, do not take oars all the way down to the dock - leave them above the ramp until you are ready
to leave the dock so that they do not get in the way of other shells or rowers on the dock.
9. Heads in the boat! Pay attention to your coxswain and concentrate on your rowing. Do
not worry about sightseeing or watching other shells, and keep quiet unless your coxswain or some
emergency requires you to speak. If there is an emergency, immediately yell “Weigh Enough!
Check it Down!” loud enough to stop the shell. These rules hold even for those not rowing. Only an
alert, focused crew can row well and safely. Socialize when off of the water.
10. Know the river. The river is very different depending on the season and the current.
Additionally, the water levels fluctuate by as much as a foot and a half during the season. There are
rocks and other submerged hazards at various places on the course. The largest hazard, which is a
rock pile near the north bank of the river across from Sunset Park, is marked with a buoy. Other
places on the river, however, also have submerged rocks which can come into play if the water levels
are low enough. The more experienced members of the FVRC know the river very well, and can
answer any questions about the river and the course. Again, if you have any questions, please ask.
1. All rowing will be canceled if lightning is seen. Remain off the water for a full 30
minutes after lightning is observed. If any one person in the boat wants to go back to the dock due to
inclement weather, return immediately. If the boat is on the water when a storm hits, seek a safe
location to wait out the storm.
2. No boats will be allowed to launch if visibility is less than 500 yards. If you cannot see
the wastewater treatment plant from the dock, don’t launch.
3. Do not launch with whitecaps on the river. While the river is relatively protected, a
wind out of the northeast, east or southeast will create significant waves. Don’t be fooled by
conditions immediately off of the dock – the worst stretch of river in a strong easterly wind is
immediately downstream of the wastewater treatment plant.
4. Do not row in the dark without bow lights on your boat. Bow lights should be affixed to
the boat, rather than worn.
E. RULES FOR TRANSPORTING SHELLS.
1. Riggers need to be removed from the shells. Although shells can be placed on the trailer
while rigged, and occasionally are in order to save space at large regattas, they do not travel rigged.
All rigger nuts and bolts should be back on the shell and tightened up prior to loading.
2. Seats should be removed from the shell or, in the case of the Vespolis, fastened to the
deck with bungee cords (The Vespolis have small holes in the tracks for attaching bungee cords). If
you don’t know how to take a seat out of a shell, ask someone who does.
3. Speakers should be checked to make sure that they are connected tightly to the shell. If
they are not bolted to the shell, it is probably better to remove the speakers and carry them separately.
4. Double check that all nuts and bolts are tightly attached to the shell before it is loaded
onto the trailer.
5. Shells should be strapped down securely to the trailer. Again, if you have any questions
about how to strap a shell to the trailer, ask. Always make sure that the buckle on the strap is not
touching the shell.
6. Always remember to load slings, blocks, toolboxes, coxboxes, etc... on the trailer to make
sure that they make it to the regatta (and back!).
7. Hang a red flag on any shell sticking more than 4 feet off of the back of the trailer.
8. Always unload shells in the same manner as they are removed from the boathouse - use a
sufficient number of people to move the shell and always know in advance where you are taking it,
whether to slings, blocks, or to the water.
9. When you are competing at a regatta, assisting with de-rigging and loading is part of the
deal. Rowers who are competing are expected to assist with de-rigging and loading, as well as
unloading and re-rigging shells upon their return. The regatta is over when your shell is back in the
boathouse ready to be rowed the next morning.