Grades 9-12
  • Consult Risk Management for additional general safety requirements.
  • If the activity is happening with an Outside Activity Provider then they must be presented with this activity page prior to the activity taking place.  The Outside Activity Provider must meet the minimum requirements listed on this page. Consult Outside Activity Providers for more information on planning activities/trips using Outside Activity Providers.
  • If this activity includes fitness development activities (training) and/or resistance/weight training consult Fitness Activities and Weight Training for additional safety requirements.


  • Determine that all equipment is safe for use (for example, no sharp corners, cracks, or splinters). Students must be encouraged to report equipment problems to the coach.
  • Protective equipment must not be altered.
  • The shell must be inspected before each outing (for example, check for holes, cracks, loose hardware).
  • The shell must have bow-ball in good repair.
  • Bow and stern buoyancy compartments must be securely closed with water-tight hatches.
  • Each shell must be equipped with a signaling device and a watertight flashlight.
  • In shells with foot stretchers, shoes or other devices holding the feet that remain in the shell, each shoe or device must be independently restrained to limit heel lift to a maximum of 7 cm. Where laces, Velcro or similar materials must be opened before the rower can remove their feet from the shoes or other devices, all such materials must be quick release (by the rower with a single quick hand action of pulling on one easily accessible strap). Where shoes or other devices holding the feet will not remain in the shell, each shoe or device must be able to be released by the rower without using their hands or with a single quick hand action of pulling on one easily accessible strap or release device.
  • Each shell must have navigation lights attached if used after sunset or before sunrise or in periods of restricted visibility, as specified in the Transport Canada Safe Boating Guide.
  • Oars must be checked for splinters and cracks.
  • Riggers and oar-locks must be secure and operate freely.
  • Steering lines must be secure and operating correctly.
  • One supervisor/instructor boat must be motorized and equipped as per Transport Canada's Safe Boating Guide. Examples:
    • One CSA approved P.F.D./lifejacket of appropriate size for each member of the supervisor/instructor boat
    • paddles
    • bailer
    • watertight flashlight
    • signaling device
    • motor in good repair, with sufficient gas for entire session
    • 23m (75’) floating rope.
  • The supervisor/instructor boat engine must be running before crew leaves dock.
  • A reboarding device is required where the vertical height that a person must climb to reboard the boat from the water (freeboard) is over 0.5m (1’8”).

Refer to the First Aid section for first aid equipment requirements.


  • Activity appropriate clothing and footwear must be worn.
  • A dry change of clothes must be available on shore.
  • Coach boat occupants are required to wear personal flotation devices (P.F.D.) while on the water at all times.
  • The wearing of jewelry during practices and competitions must meet the rules of the governing body of the sport/activity, MHSAA, and the local athletic association. Consult the General Safety Standards for Clothing, Footwear, and Jewelry when jewelry is not addressed by the governing body of the sport/activity, MHSAA, or the local athletic association.
  • Long hair must be secured. Devices (for example, hair pins, elastics and barrettes) used to tie back long hair must not present a safety concern.


  • Coaches must determine that all facilities are safe for use. Students must be encouraged to report facility concerns to the coach.
  • When using an indoor rowing facility or a rowing club, the rules and Codes of Conduct of that facility or club must be followed.


  • Must have posted walking traffic pattern with all hazards identified (for example, keep to right, dock slippery when wet).
  • Teachers must be aware of the site’s Emergency Action Plan (EAP), including the site specific rescue plan, and share this plan with all supervisors and participants.

On the Water

  • Constantly evaluate the instructional area addressing issues as they arise (for example, pulling out deadheads, alerting crews to avoid areas with debris, identifying water currents).
  • The coach must inform students of debris.
  • Rowing sites may not include rapids and/or waterfalls.

Environmental Considerations

  • When environmental conditions (for example, humidex warnings, thunderstorms, or higher elevations of pollutants) may pose a risk to student safety, teachers must follow their school board/school protocols and procedures related to:
    • environmental conditions (consult Weather); and
    • insects
  • Students must receive instruction on safety procedures related to environmental conditions and be made aware of ways to protect themselves (for example, wearing a hat during hot sunny weather).
  • At all times the school board’s weather and insect procedures are the minimum standards. In situations where a higher standard of care is presented (for example, outside activity providers or facility/program coordinators), the higher standard of care must be followed.
  • Coaches must be aware of weather forecasts, especially wind conditions, temperature of the day, potential for thunder/lightning and fog conditions.
  • Attention must be given to:
    • water conditions (for example, temperature, currents, tides and wave conditions).
    • visibility of 500m (1640’) is required
    • length of time students will be in sun and/or vigorously active
    • previous training and length of preparation
  • Rowing must be cancelled in adverse conditions (for example, first sign of white caps).
  • If stormy weather approaches suddenly, seek appropriate shelter immediately.
  • Daylight rowing only.
  • Follow cold water rules specific to the rowing facility.

Special Rules/Instructions

  • All students must successfully complete the Canadian Swim to Survive Standard swim test prior to being allowed to participate in rowing.  Consult Swim Test for additional information.
  • Students that do not pass the swim test will not be allowed to participate.
  • When planning an activity, participant level of fitness, their previous training, and the intensity and length of time of the activity must all be taken into consideration.
  • Skills must be taught in proper progression and all activities must be based on the skills that are taught. 
  • A proper warm-up and cool-down must be included.
  • Be aware of students with a medical condition (for example, asthma, anaphylaxis, casts, previous concussion) that may affect their participation. Consult Medical Conditions for additional information.
  • Students must not participate until they receive concussion information specific to school board procedures/policies, activity specific information on concussion prevention, the inherent risks of the activity, how to minimize the activity risks, and rules/procedures for safe play.
  • Students must be instructed on the importance of reporting suspected concussion symptoms.
  • Prior to participation, and according to school board procedures/policies, students must provide confirmation they've reviewed the concussion information.
  • For all off-site activities refer to the school board's transportation procedures/policies related to appropriate methods of transportation, appropriate parent/guardian communication, and obtaining parent/guardian permission.
  • Coaches must teach and strictly enforce sport specific rules, fair play principles, and sportsmanship. 
  • To prevent dehydration, students must have access to water fountains or personal water bottles before, during, and after the activity.
  • Students may not share water bottles.
  • Parents/guardians must be informed of the school board’s initiation/hazing policy.
  • Spectators are welcome at interschool sport activities so long as they do not present a safety concern.  Hosting schools/facilities must identify locations for spectators that ensures both athlete and spectator safety. 
  • Schools are responsible for supervising its own spectators. Schools are to follow their school board supervisor to spectator ratios.

Emergency Procedures

  • Site specific rescue plan must be devised and shared with all supervisors and participants.
  • All instructors must be knowledgeable of the established safety and capsize procedures. Instructors must outline these procedures to rowers and coxswains.
  • Students must receive instruction on safety procedures, use of equipment and rowing techniques prior to initial practice.
  • Students must be instructed to remain with rowing shell and oars for flotation and visibility purposes if an accident occurs.
  • Should a shell swamp (take on water), rowers are not to attempt to swim to shore but stay with the shell using it as a flotation device and follow these steps:
    • Crew numbers off and removes feet from shoes. Remain in place if possible.
    • Make distress signal.
    • If necessary, crew enters water in pairs from middle of shell, buddy up across shell.
    • Coxswain buddies with stern pair in a stern-loaded coxed shell or bow-pair in a bow-loaded coxed shell.
    • Swing oars parallel to shell to increase flotation.
    • Unless rescue is imminent, move crew to bow and stern and roll shell over (fin up) with the wind. Crew should lie across hull, as far out of the water as possible, in pairs, holding on to the other person.
    • Coach boat distributes P.F.D.'s on arrival and conducts headcount.
    • Coach boat shuttles rowers to nearest shore. DO NOT overload coach boat.
    • Conduct headcount on returning.
    • Recover shell.
  • In case of an emergency, a pre-determined return route must be established.
  • Procedures must be in place to ensure accountability for all shells and coaches and athletes on the water at any given time, in case of an emergency.


  • All activities must be supervised.
  • On-site supervision is required.
  • Coach in motorized boat must be within 500m of crew during all on-water practice sessions.
  • The level of supervision must commensurate with the inherent risk of the activity. The level of risk is related to the number of participants, the skill level of the participants, the type of equipment used, and environmental conditions.
  • Coach liaison(s) will provide, at the minimum, in-the-area supervision for all practices, games, and competitions.
  • When a school team is traveling off-school site, coach liaison(s) must accompany the team and must be accessible at all times.
  • Consult school board and local athletic association rules and regulations with regard to coach and coach liaison duties and adhere to the higher standard of care.

Supervision Ratios for Instructional Time

  • Beginner rowers: 1 coach per 9 students
  • Experienced rowers: 1 coach per 18 students


Coaching Qualifications

  • At least one coach must possess one of the following coaching qualifications:
    • NCCP Competition Coach – RCA Coach Course
    • Accreditation as a NCCP Rowing Learning Facilitator
    • Completion of rowing NCCP level 1 and/or level 2 certification in the past
    • Attendance at a clinic or workshop within the last three years provided by an instructor who is knowledgeable of the activity (for example, appropriate skills and progressions), and where safety is addressed as outlined in the Ontario Physical Activity Safety Standards in Education
    • Past experience within the last 3 years as a coach in rowing, having knowledge of the activity (for example, appropriate skills and progressions) and current safety practices as outlined in Manitoba Physical Activity Safety In Schools.
    • At least one coach must possess experience within the last three years as a coach in rowing, having knowledge of the activity (for example, appropriate skills and progressions) and current safety practices as outlined in Manitoba Physical Activity Safety In Schools.
  • All coaches must meet with the head coach of the rowing club (if applicable) prior to the start of the season and be in communication throughout the season.
  • Additional information on sport-specific NCCP training can be found at
  • All match officials must demonstrate sufficient experience officiating the sport.  It is preferable that all match officials be sport-specific certified.
  • The head coach must demonstrate appropriate knowledge of the sport, skills, and strategies relevant to the age and skill of the participants.  This must be demonstrated to the principal or designate.
  • Coaches must follow and implement the criteria outlined in Coaches Expectations and/or the standards/criteria established by their school/school board.

Lifeguard Qualifications

(Lifeguard qualifications are for the swim test only)

  • A lifeguard must be 18 years of age or older and possess the minimum certifications:

    • National Lifeguard certification (appropriate to the venue being visited, e.g. pool, waterfront, waterpark)

    • Standard First Aid certification

    • CPR-C certification (may be included in the standard first aid training)

  • The lifeguard certificate must have been issued within the past two years.

  • A student may not act as a lifeguard if they are participating in the activity.

First Aid

  • A working communication device (for example, cell phone) must be accessible.
  • An individual who takes responsibility for providing first aid to injured students through the entirety of a practice and/or competition and must follow the school board’s concussion protocol and the school’s First Aid Emergency Response (consult First Aid Plan and First Aid Emergency Response).
  • Schools must identify an individual to provide first aid to injured students. 
  • As a minimum, this individual must have current first aid certification from a recognized first aid provider (for example, St. John Ambulance, Red Cross) that includes CPR B or C and training in head, neck and spinal injury management.  This individual must be aware of the school board’s concussion protocol, must follow the school’s first aid emergency action plan (including access to a vehicle for transportation of an injured student), and be present and readily accessible during the all practices/competitions.  This individual must not be a participant in the activity.
  • For additional information consult First Aid Plan and First Aid Emergency Response.

Safety Craft

  • A safety boat that is rescue-capable (provides appropriate speed and stability) must be in the water and accessible while students are rowing.
  • If the body of water being used for instruction does not allow the use of a safety boat (too shallow, pool, etc.) then the instructor(s) must be able to reach students as quickly as in the case of a safety boat being present. In the latter situation, the water must be wadable by the instructor.
  • If the safety boat is a motorized craft then the operator of the motorized safety boat must have a Pleasure Craft Operator Card.
  • The operator of the safety boat, whether craft is motorized or not, must have experience in navigating the craft.
  • There must be at least one person in the safety boat who meets the first aid certification criteria.

Swim Test

Swim Test for Watercraft Activities

  • All students must successfully complete the Canadian Swim to Survive Standard swim test participate. The Swim to Survive Standard is expressed in a continuous skill sequence of:
    • Rolling entry (backwards or forward) into deep water at 2.75m (9’) minimum depth
    • Tread water for 1 minute
    • Swim 50m (164’) continuously, any stroke
    • Demonstrate the ability to put on a personal flotation device (P.F.D.) while in the water.
  • Students who do not pass the swim test are not allowed to participate in the watercraft activity.
  • The swim test must be administered by a certified lifeguard.
  • The swim test must be completed within the school year in which the activity is taking place.
  • In lieu of completing the swim test, students may provide proof of Bronze Star certification or higher.
  • Results of the swim test must be documented and communicated as per school board policy (for example, to the student, teacher, principal, parents/guardians, trip guide(s), lifeguards, aquatic instructor, or outside provider).

Information for Parents/Guardians

  • Parents/Guardians must be provided with a letter of informed consent which outlines the inherent risk of an aquatic activity.  Parents must acknowledge the risk and provide permission for their child/ward to attend.
  • The Manitoba School Boards Association Swim Safe Programs: A Reference Guide for Schools includes a sample parent/guardian letter.


  • Personal Flotation Device (PFD):
    • According to the Canadian Red Cross, “A Canadian approved PFD is designed to keep you afloat in the water. PFDs were designed for use in recreational boating and are generally smaller, less bulky and more comfortable than lifejackets. They have less flotation than lifejackets, and have limited turning capacity, but are available in a variety of styles and colours.”
  • Coach:
    • A coach is any individual approved by the principal or designate (for example, teacher, school administrator, or non-teacher/volunteer) responsible for an interschool sport/activity.  All new coaches must go through an approval process by the school administrator/designate to determine the coach’s knowledge, experience and, where appropriate, qualifications (for example, higher risk sports) to safely coach the sport (consult Coaches Expectations).
  • Coach Liaison:
    • A coach liaison is defined as a teacher, principal, or vice-principal with current teacher certification and under contract by the school/school board who will provide appropriate support to a non-teacher/volunteer coach. Consult Coaches Expectations for more information.
  • Instructional Time:
    • Instructional time is defined as time including organized activities and/or instruction. Examples of instructional time are lessons, events, practices, and games.
  • Supervision:
    • The vigilant overseeing of a sport for regulation or direction.
    • All facilities, equipment, and sports have inherent risks, but the level of risk decreases significantly with effective supervision
    • Manitoba Physical Activity Safety in Schools has designated three categories of supervision:  Constant Visual Supervision, On-Site Supervision, and In-The-Area Supervision. The categories take into consideration the activity specific level of risk, the participants’ skills, and the participant level of experience. The three levels of supervision are not hierarchical but represent the type of supervision that an activity requires and the type of supervision that is inherently possible.
  • Types of Supervision:
    • Constant Visual Supervision:
      • The coach is physically present, watching the activity in question. Only one activity requiring “Constant Visual Supervision" may take place while other activities are going on.
      • For example, during a track and field practice, some students are practicing high jump, some practicing relay, and others practicing distance running. The coach is at and is watching high jump.  
    • In-The-Area Supervision:
      • "In-The-Area Supervision" requires the coach to be readily accessible.  The coach could be in the gymnasium while another activity is taking place in an area adjacent to the gymnasium.
      • "In-The-Area Supervision" occurs during activities in which students may be out of sight for periods of time and the location of the coach is not nearby (for example, alpine skiing, cross-country running) or during activities where single or multiple "In-the-Area" activities are happening at the same time (for example, a gym divided by a curtain or wall with badminton or table tennis on either side of the wall).
      • The following criteria must be in place:
        • The coach is circulating and is readily accessible
        • The location of the coach has been communicated to students and volunteers;
    • On-Site Supervision:
      • The coach is present but not necessarily constantly viewing one specific activity. Momentary presence in adjoining rooms (for example, equipment room) to the gym is considered part of “On-Site Supervision”.
      • For example, during a track and field practice, some students are practicing high jump, some practicing relay, and others practicing distance running. Students participating on the track (relay) can be seen by the coach.

Last Published

Question Mark


Have questions? Fill out our Ask MPASS webform.