Boathouse Safety Basics

For this blog post we’re going back to basics for boathouse safety. We love innovating boathouses for maximum safety and efficiency, but at the end of the day if you haven’t covered the little things then the bigger innovations aren’t as effective. So here’s our short list of boathouse safety basics we feel every club should pick up and check:

Keep your rowers safe

We’re focuses on this first because it should be a club’s top priority. Not only will caring for your rowers keep them safe, but it should encourage them to stay and row harder!.

  • River/ Course Safety Map – Make sure your boathouse has a map of your local waterway available (some loose laminated ones rowers can take out on the boat with them are a must as well!). On each sheet you could show where danger points in the course are, describe how the course reacts to weather changes, note what times the river is busiest, and more.
  • Low Visibility Safety Checklist – Rowers need to take extra caution at dawn, dusk, or even just in danger weather such as intense fog or rain. Have a checklist of how rowers should approach each instance. Definitely start with them telling someone that they are going out, so action will be taken if they don’t return. Then include a list of needed equipment and where to locate it e.g. bow lights, radio, whistle, etc.
  • Log Sheet – Keep gear safe and secure by logging who goes in and out of the boathouse. This reduces the chances of both personal and club gear being misplaced. Increase this security by having shed use tied to picking up and dropping off shed keys, rather than just taking names.
  • List Of Boathouse Protocols – Post a ‘best practices’ list on the wall to make sure rowers are aware of how they should treat the boathouse to get the most out of it. We found a great example from the Quinsigamond Rowing Association that you can use as a guide.

Keep your rowing equipment out of the way and in good condition

We don’t need to tell you how important your club’s rowing equipment is. You should do everything you can to keep it safe and secure so it can last at peak performance for a longer period of time.

  • Clear The Ground – If you truly want to keep your gear secure and in good condition, you need to keep it off the ground. Not only does this make access easier, but it reduces the chances of rowers ticking the gear or scraping it on the ground. Get racks for your oars and boats, followed by shelves or lockers for loose equipment.
  • Keep It Clean & Dry – As rowing equipment gets used, have a system in place for rowers to clean and dry the gear before they return it. A simple towel rack and sign next to the boathouse entrance could help enforce this practice with your rowers. This helps reduce wear and tear greatly if done consistently.
  • Lock Away Loose Gear – Boats and oars are not the easiest thing to misplace, so are usually fine  to be left loose on their racks. However, smaller items can easily be lost. Equipment like coxswain amplifiers and towels come to mind. A locker system is often the best way to keep track of loose equipment like this, so we suggest incorporating lockers into your boathouse.

Safely navigating your boathouse

Boathouses are like workshops or construction sites. There’s a lot of heavy and loose equipment that could harm you if you’re not careful. We believe that safe navigation is an important part of a safe boathouse.

  • A Stable Way To Reach Equipment – Access steps (like our anti-tilt ones) are the best way to reach objects from on high. Make sure your steps are safe against tilting or that it is a protocol to have someone hold your steps while another uses them. You also don’t want your steps to shift under weight, so try to add features such as rubberized bottoms to your steps.
  • Create Dry Off Points –  Boathouses get wet, it’s a fact. But you should try to limit the amount of water entering your rowing shed. Otherwise you’ll get dangerous slippery surfaces that could result in falls. To solve this problem, include dry off points with towels and perhaps even blow driers near entry points to your boathouse.

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