23 Jul 2005 13:16:53
Carl Douglas
More swampings of junior crews

Yet another US swamping fiasco has been drawn to my attention:

http://www.livejournal.com/community/theboathouse/369828.html

Particularly stupid is the later reference to the Brentwood (CAN) mass
swamping fiasco this spring.

4 years ago US contributors told RSR that swampings never happened in
the USA. 2 years ago over 100 rowers were swamped, without effective
rescue, in the space of a few weeks on the E side of the US & Canada -
not one of which events was reported in the rowing press. Last year
smug senior coaches at a community rowing club on the Potomac River told
Sully & me that making eights buoyant would make them uncompetitive
(plain wrong) & that their club safety was none of our business
(really?) - this after 3 of their eights had sunk over 2 weekends & all
had to be rescued by the Fire Service. That club still hasn't addressed
the buoyancy issue & won't to discuss it. However, I see that the death
of a coach shortly afterwards (ejected from his launch) forced belated
changes to the club's safety code: whereas PFDs had only to be in the
launch before that fatality, now they must be worn by coaches & coxes.
That self-evident safety measure would doubtless have saved a valuable
life. So, ACRC, what about doing something about shell buoyancy next?

I don't know why rowing people introduce safety measures (if at all)
only after their lack has already caused a death. Swamping has been
amply demonstrated to kill rowers, yet that message had clearly been
kept from the exhibitionist kids posting to that newsgroup. Would they
have been so gushingly positive if one of those involved had died?
Perhaps more to the point, for clubs which can't understand the
difference between safe & stupid: in that event mightn't the bereaved
parents turn & throw the PI lawyers at everyone involved in organising
the fatal outing?

Carl
--
Carl Douglas Racing Shells -
Fine Small-Boats/AeRoWing low-drag Riggers/Advanced Accessories
Write: The Boathouse, Timsway, Chertsey Lane, Staines TW18 3JY, UK
Email: carl@carldouglas.co.uk Tel: +44(0)1784-456344 Fax: -466550
URLs: www.carldouglas.co.uk (boats) & www.aerowing.co.uk (riggers)



23 Jul 2005 20:43:51
Stephen Blockley
Re: More swampings of junior crews

Carl Douglas wrote:
> Yet another US swamping fiasco has been drawn to my attention:
>
> http://www.livejournal.com/community/theboathouse/369828.html
>
> Particularly stupid is the later reference to the Brentwood (CAN) mass
> swamping fiasco this spring.
> snip<

These people have given us a graphic demonstration of why National Governing
Bodies MUST take the responsibility to make unambiguous compulsory
regulation on rowing safety issues. These guys show that there will always
be rowers who just don't get it - who, for all sorts of reasons, are
incapable of making the right safety decisions for themselves.

Sure, we would all much prefer that every individual rower would think
ahead, would undergo appropriate safety training, would understand about
their own risk management, would carefully check their equipment every time,
and know how to cope when things went wrong.... but that is never going to
happen. Some rowers will do it, but some rowers won't.

So, we need rules to work to - practical, sensible, technically correct,
crystal clear, enforceable rules, which enable rowers to get on and enjoy
the sport within a basically safe background.

It has always puzzled us that the likes of the ARA is in its element laying
down rules of competition, creating hierarchies, and legislating on who can
write home after prep when they've moved their coat to the lower peg (ref:
one of the greater allegorical works of our time). However they apparently
fight shy of making rules which might actually achieve something worthwhile,
like saving a life.

It's a strange world.

Jane and Stephen