Rowers & Coxswains

  • Understand distress signals.

  • Understand launching and docking protocol. Follow commands of coxswain or steerperson for your crew.

  • If there is no coach in a safety launch and Lake Patrol is not operating (off season months) you row at your own risk and accept all liability. The ‘buddy system’ is always encouraged.

  • Wear proper clothing for cold and warm conditions. All 1x, 2x and 2- shells must carry PFDs. PFDs for larger boats will be held in the safety launch. If there is no safety launch, larger boats must carry PFDs.

  • Stay with your boat in case of a capsize – use the shell for floatation until all rowers have PFDs on or are moved to a safety launch by the coach or Lake Patrol. Use the buddy system.

  • Always have a towel and change of clothes in your car.

  • Wear reflective/light colored clothing during before dawn and after dusk rowing.

  • Steerpersons in blind boats and all single scullers must be certified to bow by a coach.

In & On the Boats

  • Bow ball must be in place and secured.

  • Heel restraints must be secured – no more than 90° to shell keel.

  • When rowing before dawn or after dusk, starboard/port lights must be in place on the bow and a white light on the stern or coxswain.

  • Each crew, including coxed shells or blind boats must carry sound producing device – horn or whistle.

  • Riggers should be checked before boating to ensure they are secure. Swivels/oarlocks should be operable.

  • Button/collar on the oars should be firmly secured.

  • Hatches/bungs should be closed before launching and opened when boats are on the rack.

On the Launch

  • Ensure launch has sufficient PFDs for coach, passengers and recovered athletes.

  • Ensure launch has bailers, paddle, throw lines, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, flare kit, thermal blankets, spare gasoline.

  • Ensure stern and bow lights are available for before dawn and after dusk conditions.

  • Carry marine radio or cell phone for communication and possible rescue.

Know Your Water

  • Understand traffic patterns. Refer to posted Reservoir diagram.

  • Know the established locations of all buoys. Red/orange buoys indicated shallow or protected waters. White/red buoys map no wake zones. Stay on land side of white/red buoys.

In Warm Weather

  • Always have a water bottle with you in the boat.

  • Wear light colored clothing and hat.

  • Apply sunblock

Watch the Weather


  • Responsible for crew safety.

  • Communicate an action plan for any emergency.

  • Follow local, state and federal regulations concerning boating safety.

  • Maintain all equipment and safety launch.

  • Always check the weather conditions/forecast – temperature and wind.

  • Never row in fog or limited visibility. The entire reservoir must be visible in all directions. You must be able to see the lights on the north shore from the dock.

  • Never row if whitecaps are visible. All members of the crew must be comfortable before launching. Be aware of the wind indicators at the Reservoir. Windsock at 45° from vertical ~8-9 knots/9 mph.

  • If lightning is within 10 miles do not launch.
    If on the water, return to the dock immediately.


US Rowing Safety Video