- All guidelines in the Manitoba School Boards Association Swim Safe Programs: A Reference Guide for Schools must be followed.
- 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
- 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”).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- On-site supervision is required.
- Coach in motorized boat must be within 500m of crew during all on-water practice sessions.
Supervision Ratios for Instructional Time
- Beginner rowers: 1 coach per 9 students
- Experienced rowers: 1 coach per 18 students
- 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.
(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.
- 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).
- 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 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.
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.