Safety on the water

We have created a safety handbook that outlines club safety procedures for all rowers at the club. Please read this to familiarize yourself with club procedures.

RCA have released a new set of safety videos which are an excellent resources for rowers, new and experienced:

The City of Vancouver have provided an on water map / guide that provides key landmarks and areas of water that would be useful in an emergency if you need to describe your location.

Safety during lessons

  • Coaches will stick closely with learners, and we work with at least a 2:8 ratio of coaches to rowers. Listen to all instructions the coaches give you, both on and off the water.
  • Stay close to the coach boat at all times.
  • Don’t launch your boat until the coach has launched their boat, and started their engine.
  • Wear bright colours so that the traffic can see you.
  • False Creek is a busy waterway, so keep an eye out for other traffic. Coaches will help with this, but if you find yourself in the bow seat, make sure to regularly check for oncoming traffic.

Safety during coached rows

  • Only row with us if you are a confident swimmer.
  • Wear bright colours.
  • Take a whistle with you to alert boats of your presence in and emergency.
  • Do not launch until the coach boat is on the water with its engine running.
  • Stay within view of the coach boat at all times. If there are multiple coach boats on the water, make sure you know which coach boat you have been assigned to. If you need to, loop around to stay within view of the coach boat. This is a legal requirement, as the coach has all the safety equipment, for example a PFD for each rower.
  • Follow the traffic pattern and keep an eye out for other traffic. Assume that a boat will not move out of your way, and perform regular shoulder checks to make sure your path is safe.
  • Make sure you are familiar with the traffic pattern, and the locations where you can get out of the water in an emergency.
  • Stay out of the swim areas. Although row boats are allowed in these areas, it is safer to remain away from swimmers. Coach boats cannot enter the swim areas, so would not be able to assist you in an emergency within these areas.
  • Keep an eye out for open water swimmers outside of the swim areas.
  • In colder weather, be aware of the risk of cold water shock, and bring a spare set of clothes in case you do fall in.

Safety during independent rows

  • Make sure you have been added to the list of rowers who have permission to go on independent rows (based on local experience on the water and rowing competency).
  • Make sure you have a PFD with you.
  • Sign up on the independent row booking sheet, and make sure someone knows where you are.
  • In winter, consider teaming up with other members to row together. We generally advise against solo rows in winter due to the risk of cold water shock if you fall in.
  • Make sure you are aware of the weather conditions, and how these might change while you are on the water.
  • Do not go out if there is a risk of losing the light while you are out. If you do think there is a risk of losing the light, make sure you have lights with you.