The safety of our students, coaches and spectators is of utmost importance.

HVRL Safety Policy

Safety Policy Overview and  Requirements for all League Members

  • All League Members are required to submit their Team/Boathouse Safety Policy.
  • All coaches are strongly recommended to become US Rowing Coaching Certified.  At a minimum, one coach per team needs to be US Rowing Level II certified.  A new coach is given two years to attain Level II certification.
  • Coaches are required to be Boating Safety Certified.
  • Coaches and launch riders are required by law to wear a CG Certified PFD until May 1.
  • Every rower and coxswain must pass a swim test. Test results are to be documented annually in a team binder.
  • Every coach, rower and coxswain must view the US Rowing Safety video each year. This should be documented in a team binder.
  • Each team must have medical information and all contact info in a team binder on hand and readily accessible at all races.
  • Safety Equipment is required in all launches. Kippy Little or equivalent:

Radio or Cell Phone
Bailer/Bilge Pump
Safety Box / Bag containing flashlight, tool kit, electrical tape, space blankets, fire extinguisher, first aid kit, compass
PFD’s for all rowers and launch riders under supervision of that launch*
Throw rope with float
Anchor with line*
Whistle or Horn*
Adequate gasoline
Laminated list of contact telephone numbers including local/site specific emergency numbers
First Aid Kit
Laminated site map (see Host Team Responsibilities below)
Distress Flag, one foot square fluorescent orange, if boat is 18’ or greater*
Navigation Lights/ All Around White Light (for launch and shell) if out between sunset and sunrise or during periods of low visibility*

Note: Starred Items* are per current NYS Law


  • Host Team Responsibilities during Races and Regattas


  • Inform coaches and coxswains during the coaches and coxswains meeting of site specific hazards such as rock outcroppings or shallows (marked if possible and noted on a site map) and on shore (marked if possible and noted on a site map) in the event of winds, thunder, lightning or other perils.
  • Traffic patterns and course markers and lanes: Recall: ONLY designated race personnel (aligners, starters, marshals and chasers) are allowed on the race course.
  • Location of AED and First Aid Stations with a trainer, EMT or nurse should be clearly marked on a site map. Local emergency numbers and address of site should be included.
  • Local fire departments should be informed of time and location of races. The County Sheriff or local police department should be informed of same and the Sheriff’s Boat should be on the river, if at all possible.
  • Define jobs and designate a coach or parent volunteer for each:

Dock Master                                        Marshals (starting and finishing area)
Starters                                                Chasers
Aligners                                                Finish line crew

  • Define modes of communication: radios and/ or cell phones
  • Severe weather: Races will be postponed and / or cancelled in the event of fog, high winds, or unsafe water conditions.
  • Debris: River debris causes much damage to shells. Coxswains need to be very aware of logs and debris. If conditions warrant, races will be cancelled.
  • Freighters, jet skis and motorboats all pose a hazard. All coxswains need to know how to set up their shells for wakes.
  • Temperature: Monitor temperature and wind chill/rain for potential hypothermia and monitor temperature and humidity for potential hyperthermia. Adjust exposure to the cold or heat accordingly. Prevention includes appropriate clothing, acclimatization, hydration, level of activity (e.g. movement when cold; rest when hot) and cessation of practice or race. Please refer to First Aid guidelines for treatment of hypothermia or hyperthermia.
  • Lightning and Thunder: The occurrence of lightning and thunder necessitates that races, regattas, meets, practices be immediately suspended. Safe landing areas on the river should be noted on site maps. There is a mandatory 30 minute waiting period after the last bolt of lightning or sound of thunder before resuming activities.


  • Coxswains’ responsibilities
  • Pass a swim test
  • Knowledge of Commands and Traffic Patterns
  • Steering (different types)
  • How to set up for a wake
  • What to carry in a bag or Tupperware/ plastic container which will float:

cox box (charged) with head set
wrenches on clip
sun block

  • Rowers’ responsibilities
  • Pass a swim test
  • Stay with the shell in the event of an emergency. DO NOT SWIM AWAY FROM THE BOAT.
  • Listen to your coxswain
  • All rowers must have a complete change of clothes at all practices and races.
  • Handle all equipment carefully and quietly; listen to your coxswain.
  • General Safety Guidelines
  • Alcohol and illegal drugs are grounds for revocation of membership
  • Swimming and / or jumping off the docks or boats and reckless behavior are prohibited.
  • Intentional disregard for any safety rule or procedure is grounds for sanction.