T.C. Williams High School Crew
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Safety

Swim Test (actual or certification)

Before being permitted to coach or participate in any ACB sponsored rowing program, every rower shall complete a swimming test, demonstrating the ability to tread water for 2 minutes and swim 100 meters. The swim test must be witnessed by a TCW coach or ACB representative. Swim tests from other programs are not transferrable. Swim tests are valid for one year, and must be renewed before the beginning of the spring rowing season.  ACPS coaching staff shall maintain this file. For ACR Programs (only) Adults over 18 may self-certify that they are able to swim, but assume all resultant liability

Physical (actual or certification)

For spring scholastic rowing every youth rower shall have a current Virginia High School League (VHSL) physical examination, in accordance with T.C. Williams High School requirements for student-athletes. For summer and fall programs, either youth rowers must have a current VHSL physical examination form on file or parents of athletes may certify their child’s health and must alert the Program Director to any health issues. There is an opportunity to provide health information in the registration form.
Every adult rower shall certify that that he or she has had a current physical exam and is approved for participation in a physical activity like rowing by a personal physician.

Briefing

All rowers shall receive a safety presentation and/or a copy of the Crew Safety Guide at the beginning of each season. Coaches shall maintain records indicating that each rower has received safety training / record of the date that the safety training was provided. These forms will be kept on file throughout the season.
Topics of the brief shall include:

  1.  Safety rules and procedures
  2. Rescue procedures in the water, including practice in donning a personal flotation device.
  3. Recognition of unsafe water conditions
  4. Proper navigation rules and boat handling (Coxswains)
  5. Safe handling of boats, oars and launches on land
  6. Hypothermia

Facility 

Appropriate Use

Use of the Boathouse and equipment is restricted. The following groups are permitted use during official program hours under appropriate coach supervision:

  • The T.C. Williams Crew Team, during the spring rowing season
  • Alexandria Community Rowing (ACR), during the ACR season
  • Other youth or adult rowing programs sanctioned by Alexandria Crew Boosters
    • ODBC crew
    • Fall crew
    • Summer crew
    • Winter conditioning

No other persons are authorized to use the Boathouse without express permission of one of the T.C. William head coaches or the President of Alexandria Crew Boosters. Individual or unsupervised workouts are not permitted at any time. Rowers or their friends are not permitted in the Boathouse outside of program hours except for activities sanctioned by ACPS or Alexandria Crew Boosters.

Emergency Communications

ACPS maintains a telephone in the Boathouse (Coach’s desks, boat bay workroom) for emergency calls. Emergency telephone numbers must be posted by the telephone.

Safety Equipment

  • ACPS shall provide and maintain first aid kits and Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) in the boat bays and workout room. Coaching staff shall inspect the kits periodically and will restock as necessary.
  • ACPS shall provide and maintain fire extinguishers located as required by the City of Alexandria.
  • ACPS shall provide approved gasoline containers, and gas storage lockers for storage of gasoline when not in use in a launch. Coaching staff is responsible for ensuring gas containers are returned to the storage cabinet after each use.

Security

Boathouse access is tightly controlled via combination lock. Combination information should be restricted to Coaches, Dockmasters, and ACB volunteer leads. Combination information should not be shared with athletes under any circumstances.
 
During program hours, minor athletes are not permitted to be in the boathouse without the presence of a coach or ACB designated adult. A dockmaster and/or an assistant coach must be on the premises of the Boathouse during program hours to stay in contact via two-way radio / or cellular phone with all boats on the water, and to provide supervision of athletes not on the water. Alternatively, athletes may accompany the coach in the launch. ACPS shall provide that staff person during the high school spring season and ACB or ACR shall provide that person during ACB and ACR program hours respectively.

Launch Safety on the Water

Emergency Communication

All coaches shall maintain and carry with them a VHF, FM marine radio or cell phone at all times when on the water for the purposes of contacting other coaches or requesting aid in the event of an emergency. All coxswains shall also carry a communication device.

Additional Guidelines

  • A coach under 21 years old shall not operate a launch alone.
  • Launches shall be driven only by coaches or approved ACB launch drivers holding an approved boating safety course certificate.
  • All launch drivers shall always employ a kill switch device while the launch is underway.
  • All persons in a launch shall wear and secure an approved personal flotation device at all times while on the water.
  • No more than three people are allowed in a launch unless it is involved in a rescue.
  • All pairs, fours, quads and eights shall be accompanied by a coach in a launch.
  • Singles and doubles shall be accompanied by a launch if the water temperature is below 50 degrees, or the sum of the air and water temperatures is less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • No rowing shells or sculls should be more than 250 meters from a coach’s launch.

It is the launch driver’s responsibility to check that the following equipment is in the launch each time it goes out:

  • Approved personal flotation devices (PFDs) for each occupant of the launch and all rowers being coached.
  • One Coast Guard approved Type IV throwable PFD
  • Paddle
  • Anchor

The following additional equipment is recommended:

  • Water bailer
  • Emergency line
  • Emergency space blankets
  • Air horn or other warning device (whistles)

Athlete Safety

  • All coxswains shall wear an approved personal flotation device.
  • Coaches shall ensure that an accurate roster of each crew on the water is posted in the Boathouse before launching (pegboard), including all occupants of launches accompanying the crews.
  • All single and double scullers shall sign-out before launching in log books posted in the boathouse shed and addition.

Traffic Patterns

  •  Head coaches shall ensure that all coaches are aware of the traffic patterns for practice.
  • All boats shall launch from the dock to the north and land at the dock from the south via Oronoco Bay. Northbound boats wishing to enter Oronoco Bay to reach the boathouse shall yield to southbound traffic, and shall cross the southbound traffic lanes only when safe to do so.
  • The traffic pattern for Alexandria crews is counter-clockwise / Stay to the right Boats rowing north should cross the river to the DC/Maryland side; boats rowing south should be closer to the Virginia shore. All boats should maintain adequate spacing as conditions and traffic dictate.
  • When rowing south under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, southbound rowers should pass through the first span arch, and northbound rowers shall pass through any accessible span eastward (toward /Maryland) beginning with  the draw span.
  • When rowing north, especially under the 14th Street Bridge and beyond, coaches and rowers should follow the traffic patterns established by the Potomac River Safety Committee.

Weather and Water Conditions

  • T.C. Williams Coaches, ACB Program Directors and Coaches, and the Dockmaster Committee, shall have ultimate authority to determine whether boats may or may not go on the water for their respective programs.
  • Rowing is not allowed when the weather conditions are dangerous such as freezing temperature, high wind, strong current, waves, storm clouds, thunder, lightning or fog indicate a potential hazard to rowers’ safety.
  • Boats must return to the dock at the first sound of thunder, sign of lightning, or if fog sets in. If caught in a sudden storm, boats shall be taken ashore to the nearest safe point and wait for the storm to pass. Boats may return to the water 30 minutes after thunder is last heard or lightning is last seen.
  • Coaches shall ensure that all rowers are dressed appropriately, especially during hot or cold weather.
  • Shells and launches embarking prior to sunrise must be equipped with bow and stern lights. All boats must be off the water by sunset if not equipped with lights.

Standard Operating Procedures for Responding to Emergencies on the Water

  1. Any coach with an emergency situation on-the-water should notify all other coaches by radio or cellphone of the situation. They should identify the type of emergency, location, and whether additional help is needed. If an emergency situation poses an immediate threat to life or property, call 911 or the DC Harbor Police.
  2. If a coach is nearby and hears the emergency call, the coach will notify all other coaches by radio that he/she will respond to the emergency. The coach responding will then identify a “lead boat” among his/her crews to take charge of the group.
  3. This “lead boat” will lead all of the boats left to either (1) join the closest coached rowing group or (2) return to the boathouse using the normal traffic pattern.
  4. The responding coach will inform other coaches, by radio, of his/her crews’ location, the number and type of boats (e.g., 8+, 4+, 4x, 2x,) in the group, and the lead boat’s name.
  5. The coach will then respond to the emergency on-the-water.
  6. Once all boats, rowers, coaches, and launches have been accounted for, the coaches may close the boathouse.

Incident Reporting

For incidents occurring during ACB athlete programs, the responding coach shall document the event in such a manner as to be reconstructible, (date, time, people involved, injuries (if any), response, follow-up requirement, authorities involved etc.). The incident reporting must be turned in to the Program Director or Head Coach who will ensure that the report is provided to the ACB Safety Officer and/or ACB President and Athletic Director within 12 hours of the incident.

  1. If the incident includes an injury to an athlete, the Program Director or Head Coach is responsible for providing immediate notification to parents (if appropriate) and verbal notification to the ACB Safety Officer and ACB President.
  2. If an injury requires emergency medical treatment, the Alexandria Fire Department should be notified by the first available coach or adult via calling 9-1-1. The Alexandria Fire Department will provide ambulance transportation as necessary. Coaches, ACB members, or volunteers should not provide emergency transportation in private vehicles.
  3. Any incident that occurs in the Boathouse or on the water that results in damage to the Boathouse, shells, or equipment must be reported to the Program Director or Head Coach by way of email. Please provide as much detail as possible (Date, time, persons involved, injury/damage, outcomes)

Coaching Conduct

Social Media and Electronic and Mobile Communications

Coaches should take great care in ensuring ethical boundaries are maintained between coach and athletes. Sexual misconduct and other types of inappropriate interaction between coaches and athletes frequently involve secretive communication, often achieved through electronic devices and digital channels (email, instant messaging, texting and social media). To reduce inappropriate communication, transparency is promoted and multiple adults should be involved in all communications.

  • ACB reserves the right to terminate without warning coaches who engage in romantic relationships that violate state or local laws, or give the appearance of ethical misconduct.
  • ACB reserves the right to terminate without warning coaches who engage in inappropriate behavior with regards to travel while in supervisory authority with minor athletes, and coaches who engage in illicit drug use while coaching.

Tips to Consider when working with minors.

  1. Instruct coaches, staff and administrators to copy parents on all electronic and mobile communications to student-athletes; alternately, the parent can approve direct communications between the sport club and the student-athlete.
  2. Set-up e-mail groups with parents and texting groups with student-athletes and make this group communication a norm for your organization. Include parents on all text messaging groups.
  3. Should any member of your sport organization inadvertently send an athlete an electronic or mobile communication without including the parent, acknowledge the oversight to the parents and forward the communication to the parents as soon as possible.
  4. Don’t hesitate to speak with a parent if your coaches or staff receive any electronic and mobile communications from student-athletes or other participants that make them uncomfortable.

 

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