Rowing P.E.I. Safety Manual 2021

2021 Rowing PEI Safety Manual 

Updated June 9, 2020 *to be updated for 2021


Rowing PEI Safety Policy……………………………………………………………… 3

Annual Safety Training…………………………………………………………….. 3

Club Rules………………………………………..……………..……………..….. 3

Member’s Responsibilities……….……………………………………………  ..… 3

Launches and Safety Boat    …..…………………………………………………… 4

Safety Boat Operator ……… .…………………………………………………… 5

Disciplinary Action……………………………………………………………………. 5

Appendix A

Certification of Scullers…………………………………………………………….… 5

Rower’s Safety Pledge……………………………..………….……………….… 6

Appendix B Rules of the Water……………………………………………………… 7

Appendix C  Operations in Cold Conditions…………….………………..………. 9

Appendix D Safety Boat Equipment………………………………………………….… 10

Appendix E Safety Boat Operator’s Pledge ……..…………………………….. 11

Appendix F Disciplinary Action …………………………………………………….…. 12

Rowing PEI Safety Policy

The intent of this policy is to enhance the safety and enjoyment of the sport of rowing, specifically in the coastal waters off Prince Edward Island. This policy outlines procedures used by members of Rowing P.E.I. to achieve that aim.

Annual Safety Training  

A safety training meeting will be held at the beginning of each season.  All coaches, safety boat operators and coxswains are to attend.

All returning members are also required to attend a safety refresher for rowers, which will include watching the RCA Safety Video.

RCA Safety Video

Club Rules

Logbook:  The name of each rower will be recorded in a daily log book.  The log will include the time of departure and return, which boat the rower occupied, and a cell phone number for at least one person in each boat.

Emergency contact information for all rowers should be easily accessible at the Charlottetown Yacht Club.

Phone numbers for first responders and a script for use in emergencies should be posted on the bulletin board at the Charlottetown Yacht Club.

Appropriate safety reminders will be posted at the dock, including a map showing the traffic and flow patterns on the harbour and beaching locations.

Every attempt will be made to keep the latest schedule of other ocean going vessels (e.g. cruise ship schedule, sailboat race schedule) up-to-date.

Member’s Responsibilities

All rowers must sign a waiver and pay applicable insurance fees before rowing.

A parent or guardian must sign a waiver for any rower under age 18.

By signing a waiver, rowers attest to their ability to swim and if not, to wear a PFD at all times. They acknowledge the inherent risks associated with oceanic water sports.

All rowers must be able to climb into the safety boat from the water.

All rowers must be certified as outlined in Appendix A, and must sign the “Rower’s Safety Pledge” located in Appendix A.

All rowers will read and be familiar with this policy and adhere to its requirements.

Rowers must stay in sight of the safety boat operator and follow directions from the safety.

Launches and Safety Boat

The term “Safety” refers to the individual club member who assumes responsibility for ensuring safety procedures are followed by all club members during a row. The “Safety” may be in a rowing shell or in an accompanying safety boat.

When more than four coastal shells are in use, a safety boat must be used.

Rowers must stay within sight of the safety boat.

The safety boat must have space for at least five rescued rowers to be extracted in one lift.

The safety boat is first to leave the dock and last to return at the end of a row.

If four shells or fewer are on the water, use of a safety boat is optional. If no safety boat is used, the individual acting as “Safety” during the row must be in one of the shells. The “Safety” must be an L2.

Each shell is to have a working cell phone, safety flag and whistle.

Rowers must stay close to shore.

At least one Level-2 rower (L2) must be in each boat launched.

Single shells are to be used only by L2 rowers.

Rower must be accompanied by a safety boat if using any flat-water shell.

Rowers with special health conditions should make the “Safety” aware of potential issues. The Safety may decide a safety boat should be used.

When only one shell is going out it, rowers will inform someone on land of their departure, destination or direction of travel, and intended time of return. The rowers will notify the person on land upon their return.

If no safety boat is in operation, only coastal boats can be used. The “Safety” must be in a double or quad, not a single.

In the event of an emergency, the “Safety” may wave a red flag or use an air horn to signal all boats to return to dock.

In the event that a boat is going out too far or is too far away from the group, the “Safety” may point a white flag at the boat to instruct its rowers to adjust their course.

In the event of injury or property damage, the “Safety” will file an incident report with Rowing P.E.I. for transmission to Rowing Canada.

“Safety” and Safety Boat Operator  Qualifications

Each “safety” and safety boat operator must be familiar with the safety policies of Rowing P.E.I.  and sign a commitment-to-safety pledge (see form attached as Appendix E).

They must hold valid certificate in Standard First Aid, or equialent.

If operating a safety boat, the “Safety” must hold a valid Pleasure Craft Operators’ Card (PCOC) from Transport Canada.

Disciplinary Action  

Violations of the safety policy and other unsafe conduct or conditions are to be reported immediately to a “Safety,” the safety coordinator or to a Rowing PEI executive member.

The person reporting or receiving the report will complete the Rowing Canada Incident report and submit it to the Safety Coordinator.

Violating any part of the safety policy or engaging in other unsafe conduct may result in disciplinary action, including loss of membership. See Appendix F.

Appendix A

Certification of Scullers  

In order to be certified, a rower must meet the following criteria:

Learn to Row (LTR) rower must be enrolled in a Learn-To-Row course.

Level 1 Rower must successfully complete the LTR course as determined by the Learn-to-Row coach.

Level 2 Rower must successfully complete the LTR course and row with competence and confidence on open water as a Level 1.  An LTR coach or other experienced rower will recommend to the safety coordinator that an L1 rower has met L2 threshold requirements. The safety coordinator or designate will make a determination. The decision is based on the following guidelines:

  • demonstrate knowledge of traffic and flow patterns on the harbour
  • know what to do if a boat capsizes (who to call, how to protect yourself and equipment)
  • know how to safely handle the equipment on and off of the dock/boat trailer etc.
  • be able to command the size and class of boat being rowed

Rower’s Safety Pledge

I,                                                          , state that I have read and understand this Rowing PEI safety policy manual.  I understand the levels of certification and will abide by restrictions that accompany them.

I further pledge to:

  • be responsible for my own safety.
  • log in and out all shells in the log book.
  • sign the waiver and pay insurance before rowing (If under the age of 18, I agree to have my parents present to also sign the waiver).
  • know the “Rules of the Water”  in Appendix C and obey them.
  • always wear a PFD when rowing in a shell
  • follow the Water/Air Temperature Guidelines before any water operations.
  • stay in sight of the Safety Boat

Rower’s Printed Name


Rower’s Signature


Appendix B

Rules of the Water

At all times, stay alert.

At all times, stay with your boat.

Be aware of incoming weather.  When weather looks questionable, ask the safety boat operator/safety person what their plans are.

Be aware of wind conditions.  15 km/h max for flat shells, 25 km/h max for coastal shells.  These are rule of thumb limits only. The safety person makes the final decision.

When only one shell is on the water, rowers will notify someone on land of their departure, destination or direction of travel, and expected time of return. Rowers will notify the person on land upon their safe return.

Lift and move boat carefully on and off vehicles, docks and support cradles. Tie boats securely to cradles during storage on docks, and tie securely to trailer for transportation.

Check nuts and bolts on shell to ensure they are tight and in good shape. Check oars, riggers and shell for cracks or serious defects.

Get on and off the dock promptly.

Be cautious exiting the yacht club docking area. Watch for other boats.  Large sailboats and pontoon boats come around the corner into the marina and may not see you coming out. 

Generally, rowing in Charlottetown harbour is conducted downstream and to the west of Charlottetown Yacht Club, along the shore.

NEVER go in the channel. NEVER go under the Hillsborough Bridge. 

Shells and safety boats are to be used only during daylight, 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset.

All rowers must wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD). Rowers under the age of 16 must wear a non-inflatable PFD.

Rowing is forbidden within 30 minutes of thunder and lightning or when fog is present.

Rowing is forbidden when other unsafe conditions are apparent.

When multiple boats are supervised by one safety boat, rowers will remain within sight of the safety boat operators.

Safety boat operators may see things that a coxswain cannot.  Communicate with one another.

Be aware of oncoming wake and be sure that a flat-water shell is parallel to the oncoming wake to prevent swamping.

Watch out for the buoys.  There can be a lot of current around buoys. Take that into account when going around buoys so you are not pushed into them.

All rowers should be aware of the other traffic on the harbour. Large power boats, cruise ships and commercial vessels may NOT be looking for rowing shells. It’s important to stay out of their way. Don’t overestimate their speed. They can travel quickly.

It’s important to be as visible as possible. We encourage bright clothing and hats, especially at dawn and dusk.

Be considerate, polite and cordial. Voices travel long distances over calm water.

Returning to the clubhouse, sign the boat back in and report any damage incurred during the row. Inspect oars, riggers, and boat for any defects.  If there are any, ask the safety or coach to record them in the log book.

Hose with fresh water and wipe down the boats to clean off dirt and salt water, including seat rollers and track.

If you should swamp or fall out of the boat, stay with the boat – it floats.  Do not swim for shore.  Blow your whistle in 3 short bursts at regular intervals.  You may push the boat toward shore.  Always stay with your boat.

Be knowledgeable of beaching locations if required due to weather conditions or other situations that require you to put the boat on shore.

Rowers must wear footwear during rows or have footwear with them.

Rowers must abide by safety rules of any regatta in which they are participating.

Appendix C  Operations in Cold Conditions


Check the air and water temperatures before rowing during shoulder seasons.

All safety boat operators are required to confer and communicate the conditions before making the decision to conduct water operations, and proceed in groups.

Appendix C  Operations in Cold Conditions


Check the air and water temperatures before rowing during shoulder seasons.

All safety boat operators are required to confer and communicate the conditions before making the decision to conduct water operations, and proceed in groups.  

Grade 1 Conditions: 

No rowing if air temperature is below 0°C, or water temperature is below 10°C.

Grade 2 Conditions: 

If  air temperature is between 0°C and 5°C, or the water temperature is between 10° and 15°C.

A safety boat must be used. The number of rowers must not exceed the seating capacity of the safety boat.

All crews are required to stay within 500 m of each other and close to shore.

Grade 3 Conditions: 

When the air temperature is above 5°C and the water temperature is above 15°C, rows with coastal shells only can be scheduled without an accompanying safety boat.

A safety boat is required to accompany flat-water shells at all times.

Hypothermia Table

Water Temperature in Degrees F (Degrees C) Loss of Dexterity (with no protective clothing) Exhaustion or Unconsciousness
32.5 to 40 (0.3 to 4.5) Under 3 min. 15 to 30 min.
40 to 50 (4.5 to 10) Under 5 min. 30 to 60 min.
50 to 60 (10 to 15.5) 10 to 15 min. 1 to 2 hrs.
60 to 70 (15.5 to 21) 30 to 40 min. 2 to 7 hrs.

Average water temperature in the Ch’town Harbour in June: 

10.5 degrees Celsius

Minimum 7.1 degrees. Maximum 13. 9 degrees (

Rowing Canada: • Creating a protocol for water temperature of 15 degrees Celsius or below, or other adverse weather conditions

Appendix D Safety Boat Equipment

The following equipment must be on board the safety boat:

Working cell phone to call 911

One USCG Type I, II, or III Personal Flotation Device (PFD) for every rower in the largest boat under the surveillance of that particular safety plus one PFD for each person in the safety boat.

Emergency Rescue Blankets

First Aid Kit

Waterproof high-intensity flashlight

Air horn or other loud warning device

Rescue throw bag with at least 10 metre line

Day signal – international orange flag

Fire extinguisher for class ABC

One oar

Anchor with at least 10 metres of line


Red flag, white flag

Binoculars (recommended)

Appendix E

Safety Boat Operator’s Commitment-to-Safety Pledge

I,                                                          , state that I have satisfactorily completed CPR and first aid training; and hold certificates for completing these courses.  I also have a valid Pleasure Craft Operator Card.  I have read and understand this safety plan and watched the RCA Safety Video.  I will teach safe boating practices and, to the best of my ability, will ensure the safety of all rowers.  I further pledge to:

  • Ensure that each shell and launch is checked in and out in the log book;
  • Assist any rower needing assistance, including calling 9-1-1 or other emergency help as required, and will report within 24 hours injuries requiring medical attention to the President and Safety Coordinator;
  • Submit a detailed incident report to the Rowing PEI board within 48 hours of any incident involving injury or property damage and must make a detailed incident report upon the board’s request.
  • Ensure one L2 rower is in each boat.
  • Ensure each rower is wearing a PFD.
  • Follow the safety boat operator requirements outlined in the safety plan.
  • Attend an annual training session including operating the safety boat, reviewing the safety plan, reviewing the flow patterns and beaching plan and viewing the RCA safety video.


Safety boat operator’s Printed Name


Safety boat operator’s Signature


Appendix F  Disciplinary Action

The president and executive of Rowing P.E.I. may, at their discretion, take disciplinary action against members for unsafe conduct or for conduct detrimental to Rowing P.E.I.

In exercising their discretion, the president and executive will be guided by the need to prevent and remedy unsafe conduct or conditions in order to ensure the safety of persons and property.  They will consider all facts and circumstances, including the nature of the safety violation, the risk of harm created, whether persons were injured  or property was damaged, and any prior safety violations.

Investigation of Safety Violation or Complaint

The president, or the president’s designee, may inquire or investigate respecting any information that the safety policy has or may have been violated.

Summary Action

If at any time during the course of the investigation the president determines that action is necessary in order to protect any person or property from serious harm or the risk of serious harm, the president may impose summary action against any club member.

Summary action is intended to be limited to instances where remedial action is necessary to protect persons or property from the risk of serious harm before a presentation to the executive.  The president, therefore, should exercise discretion in order to limit the nature and duration of the remedial action.

The president is to report the summary action taken to the executive as soon as practicable.

Recommendation for Disciplinary Action

The president may recommend that disciplinary action be taken against a person, safety boat operator, or coach.  The recommendation must be made in writing to the executive and a copy sent to the person(s) against whom the adverse recommendation is being made.

The recommendation for disciplinary action may, without limitation, include a verbal or written reprimand; a cease and desist order; suspension of membership privileges, including the use of the yacht club and other rowing club property and equipment; or in the case of a safety boat operator, the removal of the  operator’s privilege to operate a safety boat.

Disciplinary Review

Upon receipt of either a report of summary action or a recommendation for further disciplinary action, the persons named may, within 30 days, request a review of the decision by the executive.

The persons may present written or verbal statements, call witnesses, or present other evidence in support of their respective positions, as deemed admissible.

Witnesses called by one party may be asked questions by any other party and by members of the executive.

Burden of Proof

The persons against whom the disciplinary action has been taken have the burden to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the adverse action or recommended disciplinary action is not supported by the facts or that there is just cause to reject or modify the disciplinary action.

Executive Decision

The executive may affirm, reject, or modify – in whole or in part – the president’s summary action or recommended disciplinary action.  The executive’s decision must be in writing and a copy served upon all interested parties.  The executive’s decision is final.