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Safety Spotlight #8: April 2023


Safety Spotlight #8 April 11, 2023 SPRING FEVER!!!! Now that spring is here, everyone - and I mean EVERYONE - is chomping at the bit to get back on the water. And while we can all relate to that emotion, it is imperative that we take a breath, and make sure our return to the water is both informed and measured so that we can maximize each on-water opportunity. Here is a quick checklist of reminders and resources for the Spring 2023 season:

  • The Safety Matrix: Reacquaint yourself with the TRRA Safety Matrix. There is a Matrix for Rowing and a Matrix for Paddling that individuals and programs are required to follow. New this year is the Mini-Matrix for Log-Book scullers. This document focuses specifically on Zone 1 as it relates to sculling without a coach present.

  • Appropriate Gear: Temperatures and conditions change rapidly this time of year. Every participant should have gear for the worst case scenario. You can always shed layers if conditions are better than expected but you cannot put layers on that you don’t have to begin with.

  • High Visibility: All sculling, paddling and/or crew boats (rowing shells or dragon boats) must have at least one person with high visibility apparel as a top layer above the waist at all times on the water. Any team or crew boat should have the bow most and stern most people with high visibility apparel as a top layer.

  • Personal Preparation: Make sure you take the time for a proper warm-up and cool-down with each workout. Have your personal gear (clothing, water bottle, necessary meds such as inhalers or epi-pens, etc.) prepared and accessible prior to launching.

  • PFD required for all Scullers/Pairs while water is under 60 degrees: All scullers rowing without a safety launch are required to wear a PFD for the entire duration of their outing. Independent scullers must provide their own PFDs. Recommended products can be found here:

  • High-Vis Onyx Belt

  • West Marine Low Profile Life Jackets

  • Onyx Inflatable Belt

Dive Deeper: Check out the TRRA Safety Resources on our website for a full list of protocols, procedures and additional information to maximize your on-water experience this year. Also check out the USRowing Safety Resources page for additional information on rowing safety. Safety Ops - Land: Being safe on the water starts with being safe off the water. Here are some quick reminders to start the 2023 on-water season:

  • Swim Tests: Rowing and paddling are water sports. And while falling out of a boat is unlikely, it can still happen which is why proving your ability to swim and tread water is essential. TRRA has established relationships with several pools across the county where the swim test can be completed.

  • Sculling/Paddling Certifications: Rowing or Paddling without a coach/safety launch (logbook sculling or paddling) is restricted to members that have been certified after June 25, 2021:

    • Paddling: Out-Rigger Canoe Certifications must be completed and on file with TRRA. If you are interested in becoming certified for an Out-Rigger canoe, please contact pghpfish@gmail.com

    • Sculling: Sculling Certifications must have been completed after June 25 2021 to be valid for 2023. If you completed your Sculling Certification after that date, you have been made aware of your certification level and the PFD and range restrictions of that level. If you have not been Sculling certified since June 25, 2021, you can sign up for certification sessions once river and weather conditions permit.

    • Questions about your completed certification or scheduling options: admin@threeriversrowing.org


  • iCrew: ICrew will continue to be our on-water log as well as our incident and equipment damage reporting system for 2023.

    • All on-the-water participants at TRRA must have an iCrew account and completed profile.

    • Log Book Scullers/Paddlers must sign in and out for every on water session using iCrew.

    • Log Book Scullers/Paddlers that do not own their own equipment or plan to use TRRA owned equipment, must also reserve that equipment in iCrew prior to launching.

    • Any safety incidents or equipment damage should be reported using ICrew as soon as safely possible.

    • Questions about iCrew: admin@threeriversrowing.org


  • Cold Water Exemption Request & Zone 5 Rowing:

    • Individuals or individual program coaches that wish to row or paddle small boats when the water temperature is below 50 degrees can apply for an exemption. All requests are at the discretion of the Executive Director.


Programs who plan to row in Zone 5 conditions on the Safety Matrix must take all steps listed in Appendix 8 of the Safety Matrix. These steps are also outlined in the TRRA Safety Protocols & Procedures Handbook.

Safety Meets Science 🤝

Cold Shock & the 1-10-1 Principle:

As air temperature increases, it can be easy to overlook the temperature of the water and the risks associated with a cold water immersion scenario.

  • No one ever plans to go in the water while rowing or paddling, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

  • The water does not care how much experience you have or how elite your skills are.

  • It is important that everyone respects the risks associated with our sports and knows how to mitigate them.

When a body is immersed in cold water (commonly defined as water 70-degrees fahrenheit or less), the following will happen:



Dive Deeper: For more information on the 1-10-1 Principle and other cold water safety tips, check out the Canadian Safe Boating Council website for information and videos.

Open Channel: If you have any questions, comments or concerns about any of this, or other safety protocols or procedures, please reach out to Matt Logue (mattlogue@threeriversrowing.org) at any time

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