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04/04/2014 - Vespoli link - correction (Stephen Blockley)
Sorry, the link to the Vespoli news item in the previous message is incorrect.

Try again!

Is Your Boat Safe?
04/04/2014 - Buoyancy in the USA (Stephen Blockley)
As we hoped, the move by FISA to make boat buoyancy compulsory in their sanctioned events from January 2015 has already had a trickle-down effect.

Some years ago British Rowing implemented a rule that all newly constructed boats purchased by affiliated clubs must reach either British Rowing's or FISA's buoyancy standard. However this is not the case in most other rowing nations.

This advert by Vespoli, a leading boat builder in the USA, was quoted on rec.sport.rowing. It indicates that in the absence of relevant national regulations, change can occur from the bottom up:

"Is Your Boat Safe?

Rowing is a "flat" water sport that rarely takes place on placid waters. Dangerous situations can lead to serious and sadly, fatal accidents. Rowing is a sport for all and we at Vespoli believe every rower should be safe on the water. Safety starts with the boat you row. Vespoli USA is the first, and only, US boat builder to voluntarily adopt the FISA Flotation Standards. These standards are the outgrowth of a fatal swamping accident several years ago in the UK. The FISA standards are a complement to good judgment and having a safety plan/equipment readily available. Please review the complete FISA flotation standards to become familiar with the minimum safety requirements. Read more to learn how Vespoli is exceeding these standards."

There is more information on the Vespoli website

Of course, the 'fatal swamping accident' referred to is that of our son. We are grateful that FISA responded so well to our representations. As recorded in the archive below, FISA first ratified their Boat Minimum Flotation standard in 2005.
31/03/2014 - FISA makes buoyancy compulsory (Stephen Blockley)
Following a long period when full buoyancy was advisory though not compulsory at FISA events (Worlds, Olympics, Paralympics, Youth Olympics), it is soon to be absolutely compulsory. We understand that FISA realises buoyancy makes for faster boats and better races, as well as much improved safety for competitors.

We hope that the message will filter down from National squads to domestic rowers in all rowing nations worldwide.

FISA Rules of Racing 2013

See Part IV: Boats and Construction: 2. Safety: 2.3 Flotation.

10/01/2013 - Link to RoSPA Safety Review (Jane Blockley)
We've realised the button link on the left does not link to the review itself, but instead it links to the Hansard record of the parliamentary debate which eventually led to the RoSPA Rowing Safety Review being commissioned by the government.

This link should take you to the review itself

RoSPA Safety Review
01/02/2010 - New phase of Safety Review (Jane Blockley)
RoSPA is planning to conduct a further audit of the state of safety awareness and provision in affiliated clubs and the sport in general.

You may remember that the Minister for Sport gave Sport England the responsibility to monitor British Rowing's response to the RoSPA Rowing Safety Review, which was published in June 2008 (British Rowing is the new name for the ARA).

After meeting with BR, Sport England was not able to decide if BR's response was adequate or not (see previous news item dated 26/06/09). Therefore Sport England went back to RoSPA for their opinion.

The original RoSPA review identified serious deficiencies in BR's safety strategy and advised action to remedy them. This further audit will establish whether BR has acted on that advice and whether their action has improved safety at club level.

BR's 'Row Safe' policy allows the continued use of under-buoyant boats and, contrary to the Review advice, does not set a timescale for all boats to be made fully buoyant. The new audit will establish to what extent this BR policy continues to put their members at unnecessary and avoidable risk.

If BR's response to the Review is found to be inadequate, and if BR does not act in a timely manner to put this right, Sport England has the power to impose sanctions - Sport England channels public money to BR for the administration and development of the sport at national level.

05/10/2009 - North West Region goes further than Row Safe rules on buoyancy (Stephen Blockley)
From 1st October 2009, in the North West Region ALL boats competing in British Rowing (formerly the ARA) events must have integral full underseat buoyancy or additional buoyancy added by way of buoyancy bags or suitable alternatives providing a similar level of buoyancy. All boats are expected to meet either the BR buoyancy recommendation or the FISA minimum flotation standard as detailed in BR's Row Safe. Most significantly, this ruling also applies to boats used in training.

The North West Region ruling goes further than Row Safe, which rules only that NEW boats must comply with said standards - but allows individuals to decide what level of buoyancy they want in older boats. Older boats make up huge proportion of the national fleet and tend to be used by the more junior and less experienced crews.

All crews visiting the North West to compete will have to comply with the new ruling, so the message about retro-fitting older boats will spread.

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