Your designated time to row is your LAUNCH time, not arrival time. Please plan on arriving a FULL five minutes before your launch time to check equipment, carry oars to the dock and discuss your row. Be sure to allow EXTRA time if you have other matters to attend to (e.g. changing clothes, putting on sunscreen, bug stuff, etc.) Other boats may have planned their launch time around yours, so please stick to your schedule or invite others to launch ahead of you.
When removing a boat from the rack, be sure to use loud, established commands: “Hands on, ready, lift…” If you are removing a boat from the bottom or middle rack, be careful not to hit the tip of the far rigger and scratch the boat above or below.
Landing boats have priority over launching boats. Check to see if there are incoming crews prior to moving your boat. Boats should launch in a first come (all members present, ready to go), first served order.
Carry the boats “over heads” down the ramp. In the return, if and when you drop to shoulders, split to the side opposite your rigger. You will launch from the side of the dock from which the tide/current is moving away. Boats land on the side where the current/tide is moving towards. The boat is placed in the water with a fluid, controlled, continual movement on the command: “toes to the edge, and roll to waist, out and into the water.” There should not be a pause at the waist so much as a slowing of the movement to level the boat before it is gently placed in the water. Aways be aware of the skeg to avoid breaking it off. You will usually launch bow first however, if the water is especially low, launch stern first.
Once the shell is in the water, check it for damage, tied foot ties, and for tightness of oarlock. If no other crews are waiting, you can adjust footstretchers on the dock. Otherwise, paddle away quickly and make the adjustments on the water once you are well clear of the dock. When entering the boat, only step in the area between the slides. The side whose oars are out in the water should enter first and hold for the other side to get situated. Please put your shoes well out of the way of other rowers or place them in a green shoe bin to avoid creating a tripping hazard for others carrying shells down to the dock.
On the River
Always keep the bank of the river to your starboard side. Thus, when rowing down river on the Cousins, (away from the dock toward the ocean) stay to the Yarmouth side of the river. When rowing up river (returning to the dock), stay to the Freeport side of the river. As you row down river, beware of rocks that jut out where the river first narrows. There is also a significant sandbar at the mouth of the river. Except at high tide, boats rowing in either direction must stay to the Freeport side of the river at this point and thus, there can be congestion. Slow at this point to look for other boats. They are not always easy to see. Vocally alert other boats to your presence if possible.
Don’t assume motor boaters will slow down for rowers. Some do, many don’t. Stay away from them and stay safe. See safety protocols for more info.
As you leave the mouth of the river, you need to watch for the channel buoys, small sandbars (marked by seagrass in the summer) and motorboats. It is okay to row in or through the channel, but keep in mind that this is where you will encounter the motorboats. If possible, stay out of the channel and head toward the flagpole at the point just prior to Lane’s Island.
If rowing up the Royal River, stay to the side of the river and watch for boat traffic. Most of the Royal is NOT a no-wake zone so consider this when rowing this area.
On most days, boats row on the protected water between the Freeport shore and Lane’s Island. Stay in the middle of this stretch as there are rocks that surface at low tide. Assess the water and weather conditions, the tide, and your time constraints before rowing beyond Lane’s Island.
When returning, approach the dock slowly. If you do not have a cox, assign calling the landing to one person in the boat to avoid confusion. The tide can be moving very fast near the dock, which can make landing tricky if the wind is blowing in the opposite direction. Do not cut in front of other waiting boats. Ask permission to land ahead of another boat if you have time constraints. If there are other boats waiting, row up river and turn around to avoid congestion at the dock. Be sure to flip over your oars and lean away from the dock as you land to prevent equipment damage.
When exiting the boat, only step in the area between the slides. The side whose oars are out in the water should hold the boat while the “dockside” rowers exit first (after the cox). Wait to carry oars up until after the boat is in slings.
End of Practice
Move quickly on the dock if another boat is waiting to land. As with putting the boat into the water, the boat should be removed with one fluid, continuous motion on the command “hands on, ready, up, over heads.” Do not pause at the waist; it is the most precarious position to hold the boat and the time when most mishaps occur.
Carry the boat up the ramp over heads being mindful of the railings. Place the boat in slings and thoroughly wash down with fresh water both inside and out, including the riggers and oarlocks. Return the boat to the rack and tie it down securely.
Before you leave, don’t forget to check the dock for gear, put away your oars securely, hang up the rags and store the slings, double check the security of your boat, return borrowed equipment to the cabinet, sign your boat back in and make sure the water system has been shut off and unplugged. When exiting the yard, drive slowly please. (10 mph max)