• cjstrauss

TRRA Safety Bulletin - June 2021

Updated: Jun 29

Dear TRRA Community,


Summer is upon us and with the nicer weather comes an increase in river traffic and recreational boating. There has been a significant increase in the number of boats and jet skis using the Allegheny River over the last year which is having a direct effect on our rowing and paddling operations. The reality is that the river is not getting any safer and we need to do our part to ensure that everyone who rows or paddles from either of our TRRA Campuses are up to date on the current rules and protocols under which we operate.


Below are several brief, and important, safety updates for ALL TRRA rowers, paddlers, coaches, and ambassadors. Please review each item carefully and do not hesitate to contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns.


Sculling Certification - Upgraded Classification System:

Effective July 1, TRRA will be shifting to a 3-tiered Sculling Certification system for all TRRA members and Log-Book Scullers. This 3-tiered system is intended to maximize the amount of SAFE water for our entire community while reconciling with the fact that, despite being a lifelong sport, our ability to row at a maximum level of safety can change during that rowing life span. Here is a high-level overview of the new Sculling Certification System:


Who:

  • All adult rowers who intend to row club or privately owned equipment without the presence of a coach and Safety Launch.

  • This includes, but is not limited to; Log-Book Scullers, athletes from or affiliated with any of the scholastic and/or collegiate programs, and all TRRA adult rowing members.

Level 3:

  • Able to complete the Sculling Checklist with a high level of proficiency and meet or exceed all standards.

  • Able to scull in Zone 1 and Zone 2* (*water temperature must be 65-degrees or higher to row in Zone 2).

  • Can row in non-daylight hours.

  • Radius is open to the entire Pittsburgh Pool of the Allegheny River.

  • This level of the sculling certification provides the maximum amount of opportunities and should be approached with great care.

  • Just because you can row, does not mean you should.

  • Always remember, the biggest threat to safety is hubris.

Level 2:

  • Able to complete the Sculling Checklist effectively and meet all standards outlined.

  • Able to scull in Zone 1 ONLY* (*water temperature must be 65-degrees or higher to row at this level).

  • Can row in daylight hours only.

  • Radius is limited to the 62nd Street Bridge to Lock Wall 1 Marina.

  • This level allows individuals to enhance their skills, and get more experience on the Allegheny River.

  • The small radius ensures closer proximity to the TRRA Campuses and “softer” shores in the event of an emergency.

Level 1:

  • Not able to complete portions of the Sculling Checklist but is determined by the coach/certifier that they can scull safely in a more controlled environment.

  • Able to scull in Zone 1 ONLY* (*water temperature must be 70-degrees or higher to row at this level).

  • Can row in daylight hours only.

  • Radius is limited to the Back Channel ONLY.

  • Can only row with a “Buddy Boat” and in a flat bottom or trainer shell.

  • We all reach a point when it becomes impossible to do things that we could at earlier times in our lives. We all reach this point at different times and in different ways.

  • Level 1 allows for individuals to still experience the joy, camaraderie, and health benefits of rowing in a more controlled and safe environment.

Frequency:

  • All current rowing members who intend to row without a coach and safety launch present must go through this new certification process by September 30, 2021.

  • Each member will then have to be recertified each year in which they enter a new Masters Age category as defined by USRowing OR

  • when there has been any self-reported, reported, and/or witnessed health events (physical or mental health) that could impact the safety and well-being of the individual while rowing.

  • TRRA is building a system that will track these certifications within iCrew so that notifications will pop up each time someone is due to be recertified.

  • It is not our intention for this process to be burdensome, rather we want it to provide real-time check-in’s to ensure that everyone is as safe as possible throughout their entire rowing career.

We will be scheduling Sculling Certifications in the same way we schedule Private Lessons. Please use the link below to complete a brief form and one of our coaches/certifiers will contact you to confirm a time. Sculling Certification Request Form: 2021


Sculling Certification Checklist: 2021


SafeSport Training for ALL Adult Participants at TRRA:

Hopefully, everyone received an email from USRowing earlier this week regarding SafeSport and upcoming training opportunities. Below you will find the bulk of that email with additional emphasis for our TRRA community. As a community that serves all ages, backgrounds, and abilities, SafeSport training is a must for every adult in our community. Please take the next stormy day and use the time you budgeted to be on the water, or dropping your kids off at the boathouse, to complete this important training:


As a member of the Olympic and Paralympic movement, USRowing, TRRA and its members are required to follow the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017. This means anyone 18 years of age or older (actual age, not your rowing age) with regular contact with minors, including in a setting in which you are teammates, is now required by law to take SafeSport training. This includes adult athletes with direct in-program contact with minors, all coaches, referees, chaperones (parents), board members, staff (volunteers), etc.

The training is free for all members of USRowing. We want to emphasize this is not just USRowing at TRRA policy, but it is required by law and supported by the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee for all sports under its leadership. To get started with your training, please visit the USRowing website for instructions. Please complete the training prior to your next competition or interaction with minor athletes.


It will be important that you utilize the USRowing Enrollment Key when registering for the SafeSport training so that it can be linked to your USRowing membership. This will help ensure that all certifications are tracked internally to ensure all members are compliant with this law.


Maintaining Safe Distances near Marinas:

Over the last two months, marina owners and river users have been having discussions on ways to make our rivers safer. During the conversations, marina owners raised concerns about how close our rowing, paddling, and safety boats have gotten to the marinas recently. One marina owner shared a photo where a boat from one of our campuses was close enough to be touched by a person on a docked boat within the marina. In addition to the obvious collision and damage concern (for both our boats and those docked at the marinas), there is also a major line of sight issue when our boats are this close to the marina. In higher flows, boats entering and exiting the marina must do so at higher speeds. It is imperative that there is a clear line of sight between our boats and the boats of the marinas at all times to minimize the risk of a collision and/or damage.


Going forward, all boats (rowing shells, paddling boats, safety launches, etc.) must stay a minimum of 50-feet away from all marinas whenever possible. This distance will ensure a clear line of sight for all vessels without crossing over the centerline of the river and shipping channel.


HypER-thermia:

As the temperature and humidity continue to increase during the Pittsburgh summer, it is important that we all take a few minutes to refresh ourselves (pun intended) with the signs and symptoms of hyperthermia. Please take a few minutes to review the information on hyperthermia in the TRRA Safety Guidelines Handbook (pg. 24) and share this information with your team and teammates. Make sure you are taking the proactive steps necessary to prevent hyperthermia such as staying hydrated throughout the day and especially during the workout, wearing sunscreen and light clothing, finding shade when off the water, and planning activity levels that are appropriate for the degree of heat and humidity.


Thank you all for continuing to operate with a Safety First mindset at all times and representing TRRA in a positive way both on and off the water. As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns please let me know.


Take Care and Be Safe!


Matt Logue

Executive Director



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