Health & Safety

The following rules have been devised by the sweeps and coaching coordinator to aid in boat safety. Please familiarise yourselves with the rules.

  1. Use the buddy system; always remember who you are sat next to, know their name, because if we are unfortunate to capsize it is your responsibility to look for your buddy. If you cannot see your buddy, alert the sweep; report missing persons or injuries immediately. Note: seat 1 looks after the drummer and seat 10 looks after the sweep.

  2. Always number off; again if we are unfortunate enough to capsize, by knowing the number of people in the crew it is easier to account for everyone.

  3. If the boat begins to roll or there are large waves coming through, do not stop paddling as the boat is the most stable when we are all paddling. When we are stationary paddles must be flat on the water for stability.

  4. If we do sink stay in the boat as it has floatation compartments at both ends. The boat will sink partially and the water will come halfway up your chest leaving your head well above water.

  5. If the boat turns over do not panic. If you are under the boat, surface with your hand above your head to prevent knocking your head on the boat; there will be an air pocket under the upturned boat so stay calm, take a deep breath and swim out a meter away from the boat to avoid the rolling effect of the boat. Stay with the boat and hold onto it as it will float. If you are not close to the boat stay calm, breath slowly and float on your back (the salt water helps us float if we remain still on our backs); someone will come along and bring you back to the boat.

  6. Coaches to liaise with sweeps on which direction to go (upstream towards point Walter or downstream towards Fremantle).

  7. Dragon boat to stay out of the boat channel except when crossing the channel.

  8. Lights to be used on the bow and stern on evenings.

  9. All paddlers must complete a 50m swim test; weak swimmers must wear a PFD (Personal Floatation Device) in the boat at all times.

  10. Sweeps to wear a fluorescent vest for visibility.

  11. Boats to generally head in the same direction, but if conditions are rough they must stay within sight of each other in the event a rescue is required.

  12. Always hold the boat stationary when people are getting in and out to avoid injuries. After you have stepped out, hold the boat for your team members.

  13. When lifting boats always bend your knees and follow the ‘One Voice’ who will direct the lift and movement of the boats. For safety’s sake keep chatter down to a minimum during these dangerous lifts.

  14. On the river keep chatter down to a minimum to allow the sweep and coach to be able to give clear directions to the whole crew. Always obey the sweeps instructions.

 Discipline means a safe trip.

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