SEBAGO ROWING COMMITTEE OPERATING AND SAFETY GUIDELINES
Sebago’s rowing fleet currently consists of a small number of private boats stored inside the rowing container (#4), five club-owned sliding-seat boats (Alden Ocean Shells and an Alden Quest) stored outdoors on the east side of the ‘racing shed,’ and four traditional fixed-seat rowing vessels: two 14-foot Whitehalls, a 17-foot dory, and a four-oared, 27-foot rowing gig. The rigs, oars and other equipment for the club boats are stored in container #4.
Members and guests are responsible for their own safety, whether using their own or club boats. This includes responsibility for ensuring that the boats they are using are seaworthy; for ensuring that rowers and boats carry the necessary safety gear, including a PDF for each rower and a whistle or horn; for being aware of sea conditions, weather, and water temperatures, and planning their trip, dress, and gear accordingly; and for determining that they have sufficient skills to be able to row safely given the conditions.
Members and guests are required to follow navigational safety practices and exercise good judgment at all times, and to comply with Sebago Canoe Club’s general Operating and Safety Rules as well as all applicable government and Coast Guard regulations.
Members and guests must sign the clubhouse register before launch, and are advised to share their float plan with an on-land contact. Members and guests are also advised to have a backup plan in the event of swamping, capsize, gear or hull damage, or any other incident that might prevent them from returning to the clubhouse.
Additional resources and recommendations for human-powered boaters can be found on the Parks Department’s Water Trail webpage.
USE OF CLUB BOATS
Members who have demonstrated, to the satisfaction of the current or past chairs of the committee, a strong command of rowing technique and a commitment to the navigational safety practices mentioned above may take out any of the club boats, with the exception of the gig. The chair may ask less experienced rowers to stay within the confines of the Basin until their skills improve.
Boat/gear care: All club boats, oars and rigs should be examined and deemed fit for use before launch. Upon return, gear should be washed down in fresh water and returned to container 4, and the hull stored on a dolly or tied on to the storage rack in the position where it was found.
Reporting Duty: Members are responsible for reporting any accident, incident, or unusual encounter to the chair, including damage to boats or equipment, or needed repairs.
WAIVERS and PFDs
All members and guests using private or club boats must have signed the club’s insurance waiver before launch. No matter how strong their swimming skills, all members and guests are advised to don and properly fasten PFDs while on the water.
Youth rowers: Rowers under the age of 18 must wear properly-fitted PFDs at all times while on the water. They must also be accompanied by an adult club member. The guardians of any minor rower must submit a waiver and the sponsoring member must verify submission.
Qualified members can bring a guest for Club boat use up to three times per season. Anyone who wants to bring more than one guest at a time–whether youth or adult–must obtain prior approval from the committee chair.
The Whitehall gig is a longboat propelled by four rowers and steered by a coxswain, or skipper. It is the coxswain’s responsibility to keep a list of all rowers’ names and their emergency contact information; to verify that all required equipment, including safety equipment, is on board; to get the boat in and out of the water and to load and unload the crew safely; and to provide basic rowing instruction and ensure that the crew follows commands. Coxswains are trained and designated by the chair, and are required to remain within the Basin until they accumulate the requisite skills and experience to venture forth on the Bay.
Sebago is an all-volunteer, member-run non-profit part of whose mission is to expand public access to urban waterways and to strengthen the connection between members of the surrounding community and the local waters. Sebago rowers are strongly encouraged to dedicate some of their required volunteer hours to supporting our open house and youth programs. The Rowing Committee, with our club fleet of multi-passenger craft, is proud of the essential support we can provide for the club’s mission.
Each member is responsible for adhering to these guidelines and ensuring that other members and guests do the same. Failure to comply can result in disciplinary action including suspension of rowing privileges and expulsion from the club.