Safety Spotlight #5: February 2022

Updated: Feb 17

Safety Spotlight #5

February 14, 2022


TRRA Spring 2022 Safety Meetings:


TRRA will be hosting the Spring Safety meeting virtually for 2022 on the following dates:

Register for only ONE session. This meeting is mandatory for the following groups:

Spring Meeting (Q1)

All TRRA Staff: Coaches & AdministrationAll Coxswains Youth, Adult, Adaptive/Para, AffiliateAll Captains of TRRA Programs Youth, Masters, Adaptive/Para, PaddlingAll Steerspersons Hearts of Steel & PaddlefishAll Affiliate Staff & Coxswains Collegiate & Scholastic All members who are sculling and/or outrigger canoe certified.All members who are Crew Leader certified.

Each session is capped at 100 people and registration is required. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact Matt Logue (mattlogue@threeriversrowing.org)

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Spring is arguably the most dangerous time to row and/or paddle on our river for a variety of reasons:

  1. The water is typically at its coldest temperature of the year;

  2. The flow rates tend to be higher due to snow and ice melt across the upstream regions;

  3. The water temperature does not increase as fast as the air temperature;

  4. A false sense of urgency in individuals who are stuck in the mindset that you can only get fast on the water;

  5. People take being in a boat for granted and believe they are not capable of falling in the water or having an on water emergency (i.e. hubris).

As our first day on the water in team boats quickly approaches, here are some important cold water reminders:

No one ever plans to fall in the water. That does not mean it will not happen.

Make sure you bring a dry set of clothes to change into after each on-water session.

Just because you can go on the water, does not mean you should go on the water.

The 1-10-1 Principle:

  • 1 Minute - Cold Shock: Cold Shock occurs when a body comes into contact with extremely cold water (60 degrees or less). Cold Shock manifests as a deep and sudden gasp followed by hyperventilation for upwards of a minute. If the initial gasp is water, instead of air, and water gets into your lungs, it can be fatal.

  • 10 Minutes - Cold Incapacitation: Over the next 10 minutes (approximately), individuals will lose the effective use of your fingers, arms and legs for any meaningful movement. This will make tasks like securing a life jacket or swimming very difficult. Swim failure will occur in these 10 minutes. Individuals should concentrate on self rescue initially, and then prepare to have a way to keep their airway clear while waiting for a rescue (i.e. secure yourself in a life jacket).

  • 1 Hour - Hypothermia: Even in ice water it could take approximately 1 hour before becoming unconscious due to hypothermia. If you understand the aspects of hypothermia, techniques for how to delay it, self rescue (life jacket) and calling for help (whistle/cell phone), your chances of survival and rescue will be dramatically increased.

(Information pulled and/or paraphrased from the Canadian Safe Boating Council; Cold Water Awareness).

For more information about cold water awareness, be sure to check out the website linked above as well as some of the resources on the USRowing Safety Resources page.


Now is also a great time to be on the lookout for high visibility cold weather training gear, sales on low profile life jackets, and other safety items. Take the time to get ready for the year now and we can maximize the amount of safe on-water time for the rest of the year.



Be Safe,



Matt Logue

Executive Director



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