The weather looks questionable. This includes, thunder, lightning, heavy rain, and fog. It may sound intuitive but weather can change in a flash on the water, and turn a mild, cloudy day into a wild storm in minutes. Fog is particularly dangerous for rowers. It can surround you very quickly, and not just vision but even sound gets muffled. If you find yourself caught in the fog, slow your speed to a crawl and make a lot of noise for the other boats on the water. Turn on your lights so other boats can see YOU. Which brings us to:

It’s Not Safe to Row on the Water When…

The visibility is low, aka, night-time. If you do, you’ll learn quickly that a bow light is a critical piece of safety equipment. Always make sure it is installed and functional when you go out on the water in the dark, or if the fog is moving in.

It’s Not Safe to Row on the Water When…

You don’t have a method of rehydration. Most athletes will come away from a training session or competition with low fluid levels. By drinking religiously during exercise, you and your team can avoid the negative (and dangerous) effects of dehydration. So follow this rule: don’t go out on the water if you don’t have any water.

It’s Not Safe to Row on the Water When…

You’re ill-prepared for the temperature. On hot days you are more at risk of dehydration, sun stroke and heat stroke, and all those lovely effects that get compounded by heat and exercise. In cold weather you can be at risk for hypothermia if you end up getting too wet. Always dress for weather protection keep the body dry and insulate against heat loss. When the water temperature is at 10 degrees Celsius or below, or otherwise when the environmental conditions may warrant special safety precautions, you may not want to let club members go out on the water at all. In terms of heat, don’t go out without high SPF sun-block and plenty of water. Any signs of heat stress (dizziness, heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, headache, nausea, fainting) should be acted upon immediately.

Follow these rules like a guidebook and you’ll find far fewer rowing related safety incidents in your club. Now go out there and enjoy rowing and be safe while you’re at it.

You can find more club safety tips here.