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Developing a Life Jacket for Scholastic Rowers

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Presenter: Marc Messing, RowSafeUSA

Published in: Education
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Developing a Life Jacket for Scholastic Rowers

  1. 1. Designing a Life Jacket for Crew Why Don’t Rowers Wear Life Jackets? Marc Messing, RowSafeUSA.Org 607.280.6408
  2. 2.  Rowing has NO safety standards  No requirements for coaching certification  No requirements for First Aid  No requirements for CPR  No requirements for boating safety  No requirements for Life Jackets ----------------------------  Seasons start and end on cold water
  3. 3. Today’s Life Jackets
  4. 4. Why Don’t Rowers Wear Life Jackets?
  5. 5. Rowers in Racing Shells
  6. 6. rowing is very, very safe…
  7. 7. “… statistically, rowing is very, very safe…” • Statement of USRowing following Mohammed Ramzan’s death
  8. 8. “… statistically, rowing is very, very safe…” But on COLD WATER… it is extremely dangerous and life-threatening
  9. 9. Cold Water Rowing
  10. 10. • Cold Shock • Swimming Failure • Hypothermia • Post Rescue Collapse
  11. 11. What are the reasons? • not required by law • not recommended by USRowing > Unnecessary • Bulky • Hot • Chafe • Interfere with the motion • Tradition: rowers don’t wear life jackets
  12. 12. UNNECESSARY? “athletes have been unnecessarily killed and injured… due to lax standards and/ or enforcement of rules.” US Rowing, 2007 Safety Video
  13. 13. Database of more than 60 fatal and near fatal accidents
  14. 14. Precipitating Events fatal & near fatal accidents  Low visibility  Common mistakes  Sudden Changes in the Weather  Equipment failures  Motorboats  Jet Skis  DUIs
  15. 15. Low Visibility
  16. 16. Mistakes & Malfunction
  17. 17. Catching a Crab
  18. 18. Sudden Changes in the Weather
  19. 19. Anatomy of a Racing Shell
  20. 20. Racing Shells, Kayaks, Canoes, Guide Boats
  21. 21. Rowboats, Canoes, Kayaks, and Racing Shells
  22. 22. Sample Life Jacket Exam 1. Life Jacket should always be carried in boat 2. Life Jacket should always be carried and worn in rough water or high winds 3. Life Jacket should always be worn 4. Life jacket should not be worn
  23. 23. Sample Life Jacket Exam 1. Life Jacket should always be carried in boat 2. Life Jacket should always be carried and worn in rough water or high winds 3. Life Jacket should always be worn 4. Life jacket should not be worn Correct Answers: 1 A; 2 B; 3 C; 4 D
  24. 24. Why Don’t Rower’s Wear Life Jackets? Not required by law Not recommended by USRowing Inconsistent with common practice (tradition) > Bulky > Chafe > Hot Interfere with proper training (motion) Unnecessary (due to stability of eights) Unnecessary (because of accompanying launches)
  25. 25. Why Don’t Rower’s Wear Life Jackets? Not required by law Not recommended by USRowing Inconsistent with practices at collegiate level Bulky Chafe Hot Interfere with proper training (motion) Unnecessary (due to stability of eights) Unnecessary (because of accompanying launches)  Concerned they will encourage risky behavior  “Unnecessary, uncomfortable, and humiliating… we try to look professional.”
  26. 26. Humiliating and Unprofessional?
  27. 27. What are the substantive reasons? Unnecessary > Bulky • Hot • Chafe • Interfere with the motion • (Tradition: rowers don’t wear life jackets)
  28. 28. Life Jackets Are Bulky
  29. 29. Some are bulky; others are not!
  30. 30. • Unnecessary • Bulky > Hot • Chafe • Interfere with the motion • (Tradition: rowers don’t wear life jackets) What are the substantive reasons?
  31. 31. • Unnecessary • Bulky • Hot > Chafe • Interfere with the motion • (Tradition: rowers don’t wear life jackets) What are the substantive reasons?
  32. 32. • Unnecessary • Bulky • Hot • Chafe > Interfere with the motion • (Tradition: rowers don’t wear life jackets) What are the substantive reasons?
  33. 33. Cornell Study Thesis: Manwen Li Professor: Professor Huiju Park, PhD Cornell University Dept. Fiber Science and Applied Apparel Design
  34. 34. Tradition • Unnecessary • Bulky • Hot • Chafe • Interferes with the motion > Tradition
  35. 35. Tradition
  36. 36. 33CFR175 exempted rowers in racing shells from all PFD requirements and pre-empted state authority
  37. 37. Sport is Growing
  38. 38. Challenge Facing Life Jacket Association • Rowing can be extremely dangerous and life threatening • it has no safety regulations for protecting scholastic rowers who make up the largest part of the market • and it is resisting the use of life-jackets
  39. 39. Critical Parameters • Bulk • Overheating • Chafing • Interference with Motion • Tradition • Market Acceptance
  40. 40. Rowers may prefer to wear nothing at all But they should still wear life jackets

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