For those of us situated in the Southern Hemisphere, winter is well under way. Frosted windscreens, wet weather, but worst of all, those dreaded early mornings when we wake up half-frozen.

As we begrudgingly drag our sleepy selves out of bed and to the boathouse, it’s important that we pay a little more attention to rowing safety. We’ve compiled a few tips for those currently in the midst of chilly times – remember, safety first!

Knowledge is power

It can be extremely boring, but reading the safety rules and regulations are crucial. This includes the guidelines around boathouse etiquette as well as on the water. Your rowing club should have these easily accessible for everyone to read. From time to time, re-reading can also keep you updated and refresh any rules that may have gotten lax or slipped your memory.

Many rowing clubs also have a different set of guidelines for rowing in winter. This is to ensure rower safety at all times. You need to know what the time restrictions are for being on the water (e.g. no rowing after a certain time or when the sun sets), lighting requirements and what safety measures need to be in place. For rowing during winter, depending on your local climate, there may also be restrictions rowing at certain temperatures or conditions. When you get wet, you drop body temperature more rapidly than being dry. Older rowers lose body heat even faster, and prolonged exposure to extreme conditions can lead to hypothermia or worse.

men-stretchingWarm up before you do anything

Warming up shouldn’t happen only before you hop into the boat and start rowing. Sometimes, getting your equipment ready and unloading boats from the boathouse can be quite a workout too.

First, make sure you have an efficient boathouse system in place. Only a few people should be speaking and giving directions. Boats are heavy and can cause damage to other people or other boats, and neither outcomes are ideal.

Reaching, stretching and straining can also be damaging if you have cold muscles. If it’s a big chore each and every time you have to unload and pack up your boats, consider upgrading your storage systems to something that’ll make the whole process painless. At Space Saver Rowing Systems, we have an innovative contraption called Sliding Arms. These are fully adjustable for your boats so there is enough room for your boats to slide out. There are sliders on each arm so you can simply roll your boat out. All that’s left is to bend your knees with a straight back to lift or lower the boat.

Stay safe and warm!

At the end of the day, staying safe should always be your first priority. Represent your rowing club well by knowing and exhibiting the proper precautions when it comes to rowing safe this winter.