Royal Anglesey
Yacht Club

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Preventing Injury

Celtic Longboats are heavy to move on land and have considerable momentum when moving at speed on the water. Unless proper techniques and care are used, there is a risk of injury to rowers.

The following practices must be followed:

1. Before moving the boat on land, make sure that everyone is ready before pushing the boat. Say "Hands-on. Everybody ready. One, two, three. Go.” It is essential that everyone starts pushing at the same time. If you are not ready, speak up! Just say "Wait!" One of the concrete blocks may need to be moved out of the way, for example.

2. The sterns of boats have to be lifted to put the wedge underneath. Make sure that there are at least two rowers doing the lifting. Don't try to lift the boat on your own!

3. When launching and recovering the boat, put the trolley deep enough into the water so that the boat is still well afloat and therefore easier to pull on to or off the trolley.

4. Lock the foot-block into the correct position for you relative to the black mark before the boat goes on the water. There is a risk of injury if you row with the foot-block out of position.

5. Race training will involve rowing for long periods, rowing very hard and manoeuvring at high speed. Only rowers who are sufficiently fit, strong and experienced should be involved in such activity. There is a significant risk of injury if this rule is broken.

6. Social rowers can practise a wide variety of manoeuvres such as holding water to stop the boat and handbrake turns around the mark. But these activities must be done at slow speed to stay safely within the physical capacity of all on board.

7. When starting to row from rest, always start with a quarter stroke, half stroke, three quarter stroke, full stroke. This is much kinder on the body than trying to start the boat moving with full strokes.

8. Feathering can put considerable strain on the wrists if the rower is not used to this activity. Therefore feathering should be introduced gradually.
On the first occasion use a very slow stroke rate and feather for no longer than two or three minutes. Maybe try again after a break. Then feather for longer periods on later outings.

The Cox should explain to all rowers that if they feel in the slightest uncomfortable with feathering, they should stop immediately.

9. If crew member needs to stop rowing at any time, just tell the Cox what is needed, for example, "I need to adjust my foot block". The Cox will then say go ahead and the rest of us will keep rowing or will ease oars for you. You must speak up! Don’t carry on rowing if there is something that ought to be adjusted or changed. Tell the cox if you are over-heating and need to take a layer of clothing off.

10. If you have a physical problem with one side of your body and prefer to row with your oar on a particular side, tell the Cox before you go on the water or when you are on the water and, if necessary, swap places with another crew member.

11. Some rowers are stronger than others. It may emerge during the outing that the strong rowers are on one side of the boat and that the boat continuously is turning in one direction. Do not try to counteract by pulling especially hard on your oar. There is a significant risk of injury if you try to do this. Tell the Cox that there is a problem and swap the crew around so that the boat is more balanced.

12. Rowing with novices in the boat will throw extra physical demands on to the experienced rowers, for example, if the newcomers are not rowing in time. The cox must be aware of this and keep the outing fairly short and the activities light.

13. The cox has an important role in preventing injury by ensuring that the boat is balanced and that the activity is appropriate to the physical abilities and skill levels of the rowers. Rowers must tell the cox if they need a break, are experiencing any difficulty or that the activity is too strenuous.

14. If you suffer a rowing injury, please report this to the Club Safety Officer who will record this in the Club’s incident log. Only in this way can we prevent the same thing happening to others.

Don’t be embarrassed about doing this. You will not be seen as trying to blame someone. It is an important way of looking after each other.