18 May 2004 15:27:06
Mike Sullivan
letter to Alexandria

I looked up an email contact to Alexandria. Here's what I sent, I'll let
RSR know the result:

Sally

Another article appeared showing where crews from your program were rescued
from a flip and/or swamping from your river by local authorities. I have no
official capacity in any way with US Rowing but have been coaching and
rowing for 35 years, have taught and coached every range of rower from
beginner kids/adults to Olympic champions, and in every type of body of
water from cold ocean to warm pond, and am a rowing club founder.

Rescue of a crew by any outside authority is supposed to be an extremely
rare event. Certainly on occasion there can be errors in judgement, or
freaks of nature that can overwhelm the best laid plans, but again, this
should be an extremely rare event. Rowing is relatively a very safe sport,
but only when we as coaches and directors take safety into account, from a
daily, as well as a long term planning basis.

My concern is #1 for the safety of people who go out and row, and #2
selfishly I do not want measures imposed upon mine or other responsible
rowing organizations where there is much to be learned and shared. Currently
USCG rules exempt rowing from the requirement to wear lifejackets, though I
can easily imagine that as rescue incidences increase, this policy will be
revisited and imposed. Imposition of rules from the outside frankly will not
greatly increase the safety of our sport, if we as directors and coaches do
not make it a priority.

There is a vigorous discussion happening in the rowing community in a usenet
forum called rec.sport.rowing that takes safety issues seriously. The
stimulus for this discussion was the death of Leo Blockley, a British
National class lightweight who died in a training row in Spain last year.
This might be well worth a look, many issues are covered that will help you
reformulate safety strategies for your organization. You can go onto
www.google.com and search blockley rec.sport.rowing under the 'groups' tab.
Issues such as flotation of shells, adequacy of launches and supervision,
importance of knowledge and planning, are dissected and debated by coaches,
athletes and boat builders from a number of nations.

In addition, I would be happy to discuss ideas via email if you wish, or can
pass an invitation on to others that would have help to offer that perhaps
you'd prefer to talk to.


Regards and best of luck to your program Mike Sullivan





19 May 2004 08:15:33
David Gillard
Re: letter to Alexandria

> I looked up an email contact to Alexandria. Here's what I sent, I'll let
> RSR know the result:
>
> Sally
>
> Another article appeared showing where crews from your program were
rescued
> from a flip and/or swamping from your river by local authorities. I have
no
> official capacity in any way with US Rowing but have been coaching and
> rowing for 35 years, have taught and coached every range of rower from
> beginner kids/adults to Olympic champions, and in every type of body of
> water from cold ocean to warm pond, and am a rowing club founder.
>
> Rescue of a crew by any outside authority is supposed to be an extremely
> rare event. Certainly on occasion there can be errors in judgement, or
> freaks of nature that can overwhelm the best laid plans, but again, this
> should be an extremely rare event. Rowing is relatively a very safe sport,
> but only when we as coaches and directors take safety into account, from a
> daily, as well as a long term planning basis.
>
> My concern is #1 for the safety of people who go out and row, and #2
> selfishly I do not want measures imposed upon mine or other responsible
> rowing organizations where there is much to be learned and shared.
Currently
> USCG rules exempt rowing from the requirement to wear lifejackets, though
I
> can easily imagine that as rescue incidences increase, this policy will be
> revisited and imposed. Imposition of rules from the outside frankly will
not
> greatly increase the safety of our sport, if we as directors and coaches
do
> not make it a priority.
>
> There is a vigorous discussion happening in the rowing community in a
usenet
> forum called rec.sport.rowing that takes safety issues seriously. The
> stimulus for this discussion was the death of Leo Blockley, a British
> National class lightweight who died in a training row in Spain last year.
> This might be well worth a look, many issues are covered that will help
you
> reformulate safety strategies for your organization. You can go onto
> www.google.com and search blockley rec.sport.rowing under the 'groups'
tab.
> Issues such as flotation of shells, adequacy of launches and supervision,
> importance of knowledge and planning, are dissected and debated by
coaches,
> athletes and boat builders from a number of nations.
>
> In addition, I would be happy to discuss ideas via email if you wish, or
can
> pass an invitation on to others that would have help to offer that perhaps
> you'd prefer to talk to.
>
>
> Regards and best of luck to your program Mike Sullivan
>
>

I think this is a link to the story:

http://www.nbc4.com/news/3317784/detail.html




19 May 2004 09:45:55
Mike Sullivan
Re: letter to Alexandria


"Mike Sullivan" <[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> I looked up an email contact to Alexandria. Here's what I sent, I'll let
> RSR know the result:

I received a polite response from Sally Reams and I've been given permission
to share it. I'll not post the response but if you have interest in this
issue, I'll be happy to share it with you, send an email to me, mind the
obvious change I've made to my addy to cut down on spam.

Mike




19 May 2004 20:31:04
Carl Douglas
Re: letter to Alexandria

Mike Sullivan <[email protected] > writes
>
>"Mike Sullivan" <[email protected]> wrote in message
>news:[email protected]
>> I looked up an email contact to Alexandria. Here's what I sent, I'll let
>> RSR know the result:
>
>I received a polite response from Sally Reams and I've been given permission
>to share it. I'll not post the response but if you have interest in this
>issue, I'll be happy to share it with you, send an email to me, mind the
>obvious change I've made to my addy to cut down on spam.
>

I am disappointed by Sally Ream's response on behalf of ACRC.

I hope, however, that the club will pause for careful reflection, and
follow that with a safety policy review.

Any such review would be well advised to absorb the contents of Mike's
excellent letter. It would also benefit from carefully considering the
following points:

1. Reluctance at ACRC to make club shells more buoyant stems partly from
a firm belief that "buoyant = slow & heavy". That view is mistaken,
unsustainable & unsupported by the facts - as the club is _now_ aware.

2. Rowers should understand that things have gone too far wrong when the
crew of an eight ends up immersed. Especially when this immersion was
entirely preventable by spending a few man-hours & < $100 per boat.

3. A club or NGB safety policy which recognises the danger of swamping,
yet persists in using non-buoyant shells on broad, windswept waters, &
then automatically involves the civil rescue services, is fundamentally
irresponsible & defective.

4. Such a policy resembles the not-uncommon but deadly (& forbidden)
practice in chemical factories of using the level alarm on a flammable
liquid tank to tell when it is full - just because no one cares to
replace a defective level controller.

5. A responsible society's emergency services are for when an
organisation's own safety measures fail. They cost the community. And
they can become over-stretched or fall short at times as DC surely
understands.

6. To discard or ignore the fundamental principle of inherent safety
creates alarms & emergencies where none would otherwise arise. Good
safety policies do just give everyone a bell to ring & a box of
Band-Aids; they are built around safety policies & intrinsically safe
equipment which together prevent you from cutting your hand in the first
place.

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: [email protected] Tel: +44(0)1784-456344 Fax: -466550
URLs: www.carldouglas.co.uk (boats) & www.aerowing.co.uk (riggers)



19 May 2004 12:55:26
Mike Sullivan
Re: letter to Alexandria


"Carl Douglas" <[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> Mike Sullivan <[email protected]> writes
> >
> >"Mike Sullivan" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> >news:[email protected]
> >> I looked up an email contact to Alexandria. Here's what I sent, I'll
let
> >> RSR know the result:

>
> 3. A club or NGB safety policy which recognises the danger of swamping,
> yet persists in using non-buoyant shells on broad, windswept waters, &
> then automatically involves the civil rescue services, is fundamentally
> irresponsible & defective.
>
> 4. Such a policy resembles the not-uncommon but deadly (& forbidden)
> practice in chemical factories of using the level alarm on a flammable
> liquid tank to tell when it is full - just because no one cares to
> replace a defective level controller.
>
> 5. A responsible society's emergency services are for when an
> organisation's own safety measures fail. They cost the community. And
> they can become over-stretched or fall short at times as DC surely
> understands.

well said. This last point is the one I was mentally groping for.





20 May 2004 12:41:21
Carl Douglas
Re: letter to Alexandria

Carl Douglas <[email protected] > wrote
>6. To discard or ignore the fundamental principle of inherent safety
>creates alarms & emergencies where none would otherwise arise. Good
>safety policies do
NOT
> just give everyone a bell to ring & a box of Band-Aids; they are built
>around safety policies & intrinsically safe equipment which together
>prevent you from cutting your hand in the first place.

Please note the vital correction, above, to my earlier & particularly
unfortunate typo

Thanks
Carl

PS Meanwhile I wait patiently for a first response from the club to my
private communication
C
--
Carl Douglas Racing Shells -
Fine Small-Boats/AeRoWing low-drag Riggers/Advanced Accessories
Write: The Boathouse, Timsway, Chertsey Lane, Staines TW18 3JY, UK
Email: ca[email protected] Tel: +44(0)1784-456344 Fax: -466550
URLs: www.carldouglas.co.uk (boats) & www.aerowing.co.uk (riggers)