Anon comment on Leo Blockley website - who are you?

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Stephen and Jane

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Feb 13, 2009, 1:58:28 PM2/13/09
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This is a long shot.

Someone calling themselves "Rower and Coach" has put a long entry on the
sign-up page on our website. They ask lots of questions, but have
deliberately remained anonymous.

We would be happy to answer their questions but have no way of contacting
them. If you are that person, or you know who it may be - please contact us
directly.

Thanks

Jane and Stephen

PS We don't bite.


Carl Douglas

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Feb 14, 2009, 12:49:28 PM2/14/09
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That anonymous writer ends his/her detailed list of questions & concerns
thus:
"I have you will see remained anonymous as I do not wish to be on the
end of a "campaign" or vendetta from either yorselves or any of Leo's crew."

I am concerned as to whence the writer gained the mistaken impression
that this might possibly arise.

As very preliminary responses, I will address just that aspect. I very
much hope they will see what I write and provide Jane & Stephen Blockley
with an email address. Jane & Stephen will then make a detailed &
amicable response on every point raised by the writer.

1. The questions are entirely valid. All deserve clear, matter-of-fact
answers, which Jane & Stephen will certainly provide.

2. Their email address & identity will remain entirely confidential.
They will not shown to me, nor to anyone else.

3. Everyone within the Leo Blockley water safety campaign has always
respected the confidentiality of all who contact us, whether with
questions, information or criticism.

4. We believe that everyone has the right to form their own opinion.
You have the right to open access to information, free from prejudice or
pressure.

5. If you strongly disagree with us, you have every right to do so, to
say so & to say why. While we may seek to counter points you raise, the
argument will be about facts, ideas & information. It will not be about
personalities. No one will campaign against you.

6. Least of all will members of Leo's former crew take action against
you. Nothing could be further from their minds, or ours. Decent,
honourable people who lost a friend in awful circumstances do not
dissipate their energies, nor diminish the reputation of their lost
friend, in pointless & petty ways. I must, however, wonder what led you
to imagine, even for a moment, that this might happen?

7. The term "campaign", as used by us, is _not_ about aggression, nor
confrontation. It describes the active dissemination of information,
the exposing of prejudice, whether cynical or naive, & the changing of
attitudes by means of factual evidence & rational argument.
8. The ARA has been told by HMG that it has an absolute duty of care
towards the safety of its members. It first accepted that duty, but now
seeks to duck it.

9. The ARA finds is in its present predicament only because it met all
approaches for safety reform either by ignoring them, or rejecting them
without consideration, or by the launching of ad hominem attacks in
print & by word & whisper, & by going so far as to blame victims &
invent fantastical scenarios, after the Coroner pinned blame upon the
ARA, to "explain" how everyone _except_ the ARA must be to blame.

10. Further, the ARA, despite on several occasions admitting technical
ignorance & on others exposing that ignorance, has always refused to
meet, to contact or to discuss with the Leo Blockley campaign the
relevant issues & those matters which are indisputable, proven fact. It
has sought instead, by disinformation & worse, to paint it into a
corner. That is the conduct of juvenile bullies, not of adults
concerned for rower safety.

11. Only where it was essential - to expose such calculated abuse of the
ARA's duty of care - have we expose the misdeeds of individual ARA
officers. This we have always done openly, in print. This we will
continue to do.

13. We well know that, by naming individuals in ARA office & their
actions, we lay ourselves open to litigation despite what we say being
entirely true & directly relevant (such is the strangeness of Libel
Law). However, if sued, our defence will of course expose the full
truth of, & justification for, all that we have said. That is very well
understood by all concerned. So it is significant that none of the
parties we have named and shamed has seen fit to proceed against us.

I very much hope that the writer of those comments will now feel able to
write directly to Jane and Stephen. If, instead, they write to me, I
too will receive their message and reply to it in strictest confidence.
That is the only way we work.

Cheers -
Carl

--
Carl Douglas Racing Shells -
Fine Small-Boats/AeRoWing Low-drag Riggers/Advanced Accessories
Write: Harris Boatyard, Laleham Reach, Chertsey KT16 8RP, UK
Find: http://tinyurl.com/2tqujf
Email: ca...@carldouglas.co.uk Tel: +44(0)1932-570946 Fax: -563682
URLs: www.carldouglas.co.uk (boats) & www.aerowing.co.uk (riggers)

rower2000

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Feb 17, 2009, 4:19:05 AM2/17/09
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On Feb 13, 6:58 pm, "Stephen and Jane"

Longs shots sometimes work
I thought I would cut and paste the questions here so the thread makes
more sense to people:

10:33:22 I have seen you flyer to clubs and have some questions, I am
sure you can point me to the direct answers.

1.You say "Is the ARA responsible for rowing safety?
Yes. It is obliged in law to set and enforce national
standards of practice and equipment safety." Where is this law, I'd
like to see the wording.

2. You say "These standards should be the minimum
enforceable platform upon which clubs build their own
safety strategy." How do you propose these to be enforced?

3. What happened to personal responsibility, I receive guidance in
many things eg How to cross a road safely, I then choose whether to
follow that guidnace, is that not a very practical method of informing
people of safety?

4. You use this example “Policy on wearing of PFDs for beginners and
juniors – set one and communicate and enforce.” Is this not prudent,
all clubs circumstnaces are different, eg I would suggest junior (esp
beginners or non swimmers) us bouyancy aids on the tideway at all
times, however if they are on a lake, can swim and it is the middle of
august with a safety boat on hand is this necessary, clubs have to
make that decision themsleves as circumstances vary so much.

5. You say "The ARA has failed to set a firm basis of expertly
informed compulsory minimum safety standards.
Each club must now decide, unaided, whether to follow
the recommendations" having read Rowsafe and the RoSPA I think they
ahve responded, Clubs ARE aided, they have RowSafe as a doc (plus
other documents which you allude to, we have plenty of guidance!) We
ahve to decide, based on our stretches of water, our members
abilities, the time of year what is relevant to our clubs. The problem
with "rules" is that something will happen that has not been acounted
for, and the rules have a danger of making people complacent towards
safety, not thinking about it but taking it for granted, this would
make any water sort even more dangerous, guidance not rules makes
people think "What does our club need, what is relevant in our
situation" not "I'm following all the rules, I don't need to think
about safety" (my quotes).

To conclude, I basically agree with the initial aim of this campaogn,
namely flotation as standard in all boats (it is simple to do for new
baots, I have an issue with "retro-fit" but that is another
discussion).

However you seem to have strayed from this sensible and supportable
proposal and I agree a little witht he sentiment of "Cerberus" even if
his wording is a little blunt. This does seem to be a vendetta, and
you appear, to me at least, to have lost sight of the initial well
thought out single issue of boat flotation.

I hope you can answer my questions, and possibly get back to you
original quest, which I would fully support.

I look forward to a response

regards.

Robin

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Feb 17, 2009, 6:57:00 AM2/17/09
to
On Feb 17, 9:19 am, rower2000 <rower2...@hotmail.co.uk> wrote:
> On Feb 13, 6:58 pm, "Stephen and Jane"
>
>
>
> <stephenDOTblock...@ukgateway.net> wrote:
> > This is a long shot.
>
> > Someone calling themselves "Rower and Coach" has put a long entry on the
> > sign-up page on our website.  They ask lots of questions, but have
> > deliberately remained anonymous.
>
> > We would be happy to answer their questions but have no way of contacting
> > them.  If you are that person, or you know who it may be - please contact us
> > directly.
>
> > Thanks
>
> > Jane and Stephen
>
> > PS We don't bite.
>
> Longs shots sometimes work
> I thought I would cut and paste the questions here so the thread makes
> more sense to people:
<snipped> ....

> To conclude, I basically agree with the initial aim of this campaogn,
> namely flotation as standard in all boats (it is simple to do for new
> baots, I have an issue with "retro-fit" but that is another
> discussion).
>
It is clear that you are open to talking about enclosed buoyancy - and
although this thread started by discussing an anonymous post to the
Leo Blockley site, this is as good a forum as any to follow up the
above question raised. May I ask if you can explain what your issue
is with retrofit?

Whether it is done in-house as we have up here to a very limited
budget, or professionally through a service such as that offered by
Carl Douglas, it is achievable by any club with minimal detriment to
the performance of a boat for crews at less than top level, and
substantially less performance detriment than rowing the same boat
unconverted in difficult conditions. As one of my coaching mentors
put it "To finish first, first you must finish" - and enclosed
buoyancy can certainly help with that objective, whether built de-novo
or retrofitted (if done properly).


Carl Douglas

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Feb 17, 2009, 7:38:52 AM2/17/09
to

I'm really glad that rower2000 is happy for us to discuss his questions
& concerns here on RSR, & I'm sure that we all look forward to Jane &
Stephen's detailed response.

Meanwhile, may I respond to one of Robin's comments?

Robin has done more than most to show how straightforwardly you can make
a DIY conversion of existing shells to full buoyancy. My only concern
is that he feels there might be any performance detriment as a result of
such a conversion, but I would welcome his thoughts on that.

Personally I can see no performance downsides from a well-implemented
conversion. Here are some of the benefits:
1. Insertion of bulkheads stiffens the boat, making it easier to row,
more responsive & thus a better racing machine.
2. This stiffening reduces (to state the obvious) the degree of flexing
in use and in transport, thus reducing structural fatigue which will
increase the boat's service life.
3. Shells pick up some water on almost every outing & in almost every
race. Water sloshing along the inside of the boat incurs fluid
friction. That fluid friction absorbs energy, in proportion to the
speed of its motion & the area of internally-wetted surface over which
it flows. The sole source of that energy is the crew: energy absorbed
in internal friction is stolen from its proper purpose - to overcome
fluid drag on the outside of the hull. So the boat goes slower. The
greater the uninterrupted distance inside the boat over which a quantity
of water can flow, the greater its peak velocity &, fluid losses being
proportional to the cube of velocity, the much more energy is wasted by
this process. Inserting bulkheads greatly limits the range of water
movement & hence the peak velocity thereof & the resulting energy
losses. So the boat goes faster with bulkheads whenever there is any
noticeable amount of water inside it.
4. Shells are also intended to run at an optimum fore-aft pitch. A few
litres of water surging along an uninterrupted interior will cyclically
alter that pitch to the detriment of performance, & the resulting surge
& check is always felt by, & disruptive to, the crew's rowing.
5. When the amount of water aboard become more than those few litres
discussed above, the effect on pitch becomes more marked, leading to
saxboards at either end dipping closer to the waves at differnt parts of
each stroke. Water influx rates are very sharply dependent on the
freeboard, so that even those small reductions in freeboard for but part
of each stroke are sufficient to increase the rate at which an eight
collects water. (We are not here discussing swamping conditions, just
all the times you end an outing or race with water aboard). Bulkheads
prevent gross longitudinal surging & minimise net mass movements of
water, so they reduce water uptake & enhance performance in any such
conditions.

I hope the above explains some of the racing and training benefits of
the bulkheads that go with full under-seat buoyancy, whether as original
equipment or retrofitted?

Paul

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Feb 17, 2009, 7:55:47 AM2/17/09
to
> Email: c...@carldouglas.co.uk  Tel: +44(0)1932-570946  Fax: -563682
> URLs:  www.carldouglas.co.uk(boats) &www.aerowing.co.uk(riggers)- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -

The main danger of retro-fit buoyancy is surely if it is not done very
well, but it nevertheless leads to the belief that the boat is now
unsinkable and thus crews take more risks in marginal conditions. Risk
compensation. However, if the ARA pulled its finger out it would not
be difficult to provide an inspection service at minimal cost,
particularyl as (sadly) there must be a lot of former boat builders in
the Uk looking for something to do.

Carl Douglas

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Feb 17, 2009, 9:50:16 AM2/17/09
to
Paul wrote:

>> - Show quoted text -
>
> The main danger of retro-fit buoyancy is surely if it is not done very
> well, but it nevertheless leads to the belief that the boat is now
> unsinkable and thus crews take more risks in marginal conditions. Risk
> compensation. However, if the ARA pulled its finger out it would not
> be difficult to provide an inspection service at minimal cost,
> particularyl as (sadly) there must be a lot of former boat builders in
> the Uk looking for something to do.

"Not done very well" would be a real problem.

However, if you know what you are doing it can be done "very well".
That's why we are introducing this service:
http://www.carldouglas.co.uk/html/buoyancy.html
I think that page summarises clearly enough what is involved.

The background to this move:
We had for years stood ready, urging & awaiting action & direction from
the ARA. The publication of its pathetic Row Safe document made it
abundantly clear that the ARA was not just obstructive & incompetent
over rowing safety, but absolutely rudderless & blindly determined to
remain so.

I wrote to the ARA Water Safety Adviser, offering a seminar (for him &
his committee, & any ARA Council members wishing to learn more) on shell
buoyancy & conversion - to be held at our works. He wrote back that a)
shell flotation can't be calculated & b) he had for months been in
secret discussions with an unnamed "marine architect" who would produce
"simple spreadsheet" for clubs to determine if boats are adequately
buoyant. That's a nice contradiction! And, he said, he and his
committee knew all about flotation.

It's even more ridiculous since the ARA refuses to state what
constitutes adequate buoyancy or how to measure it. So, fat chance of
any ARA-organised buoyancy inspections!

It seemed irresponsible for us to wait any longer. We discussed our
long-standing proposals for shell buoyancy conversion with leading
rowing insurers. They agreed on the need for such a service and for
meaningful certification. They approved what we proposed. And, as you
can see, they gave us their support.

It will be a proper, professional service. We shall be accurately
measuring the boats, inside and out, We shall be computing their
hydrostatics for real conditions. And we shall be installing flotation
capacity according to need & to a set & testable standard rather than
"about so". We shall provide a Shell Buoyancy Conversion Certificate, &
mark each boat with a plate, each confirming its as-converted flotation
performance.

We like to do things properly here.

Cheers -
Carl

--
Carl Douglas Racing Shells -
Fine Small-Boats/AeRoWing Low-drag Riggers/Advanced Accessories
Write: Harris Boatyard, Laleham Reach, Chertsey KT16 8RP, UK
Find: http://tinyurl.com/2tqujf

Robin

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Feb 17, 2009, 10:18:16 AM2/17/09
to
> > Meanwhile, may I respond to one of Robin's comments?
>
> > Robin has done more than most to show how straightforwardly you can make
> > a DIY conversion of existing shells to full buoyancy.  My only concern
> > is that he feels there might be any performance detriment as a result of
> > such a conversion, but I would welcome his thoughts on that.

Sorry - with regard to Carl's point. I wasn't trying to imply that I
believe personally that there is any detriment to a boat's performance
if buoyancy is retrofitted - far from it. Some people may have doubts
about this point and if I have muddied those waters, I apologise. As
I outlined in one of the first threads I contributed to on buoyancy
installation, the net weight you add to a boat is minimal if you are
careful - certainly no more than you could offset by making sure the
crew weren't carrying excess weight with them - and if constructed
with buoyancy in the first place, can be made with no weight penalty
whatsoever. And that weight which is added - less than 3kg in an VIII
weighing probably 100-110kg - is less than 400g per person to push and
will not have any noticeable effect. One of our older non-enclosed
fours here did swamp a few years ago when hit by a barge wake on the
Tay. Sank to slightly below seat depth and then stopped going down.
Warm weather, close to the bank, but unrowable. No problems, no
injuries, just a case of emptying it out and starting again. This
boat has now been retrofitted so will be one on which we undertake a
test for comparative purposes. Our VIIIs, however, are identical to
the Boat Race sinking one in 1978, and would go down like a stone.
Now they're enclosed we can compare with the end result.
> ...


> The main danger of retro-fit buoyancy is surely if it is not done very
> well, but it nevertheless leads to the belief that the boat is now
> unsinkable and thus crews take more risks in marginal conditions. Risk

> compensation....

With regard to the subsequent posting, yes I agree absolutely that
with enclosed buoyancy you need added resolve in terms of getting folk
to adhere to common sense when it comes to risk assessment of an
outing if any of them truly believe that buoyancy makes you
invulnerable. One of the few times I really lost my temper last year
was when an enthusiastic but idiotic rower in my club actually told me
on a particularly foul day "yeah, we went out (in awful conditions
that I would not have gone out in) today because the boats have got
enclosed buoyancy. It was cool.". As I did the retrofit, I know that
the boats now adhere to the rules as we have them up here, but I would
still rather not be in a position where we have to require it. At
most the work we've done will give us a slightly increased margin of
time to get to the bank if something goes pear-shaped - having an SOP
for judging conditions, knowing tides & wind before going out should
eliminate some of the likelihood of the unexpected, but can and will
not eliminate all risk. Just because you have seat belts or airbags
doesn't mean you should voluntarily drive into things in a car, and in
a boat you need the same common sense when it comes to actually
starting outings in the first place. Buoyancy just gives you a few %
more time when things go wrong - not a get-out-of-jail-free card. No
more. No less.

My biggest bugbear is the fact that 2 years after the retrofit has
been undertaken, we've still not managed to get enough people together
to volunteer to undertake a swamp-test set like the ones done in
Oxford a while back to film what happens. This year hopefully.

Charles Carroll

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Feb 17, 2009, 2:48:04 PM2/17/09
to
Robin,

You write: "My biggest bugbear is the fact that 2 years after the retrofit

has been undertaken, we've still not managed to get enough people together
to volunteer to undertake a swamp-test set like the ones done in Oxford a
while back to film what happens."

So you are in the UK, where travel distances are small. Why not invite a few
of the regular rsr contributors and friends to a weekend of rowing, a
Saturday evening dinner, and a filming?

It would be a chance for rsr people to see each other again. Anyone for a
drive to Perth or Dundee?

Cordially,

Charles

Henry Law

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Feb 17, 2009, 4:43:44 PM2/17/09
to
Charles Carroll wrote:

> So you are in the UK, where travel distances are small. Why not invite a
> few of the regular rsr contributors and friends to a weekend of rowing,
> a Saturday evening dinner, and a filming?

I'd volunteer to add my 90Kg (and counting, I'm afraid) to the resources
available for the test. I'd love to meet more of "us" and maybe even
get some rowing.

--

Henry Law Manchester, England

Henning Lippke

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Feb 17, 2009, 6:14:27 PM2/17/09
to
Carl Douglas schrieb:

> 2. This stiffening reduces (to state the obvious) the degree of flexing
> in use and in transport, thus reducing structural fatigue which will
> increase the boat's service life.

Drifting off-topic, but anyway.

How do I have to imagine the end of the boat's service life due to
flexing in transport and use? Will it fall apart? Or will it become
softer (and by how much), rendering it unusable over time?

Carl Douglas

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Feb 17, 2009, 6:30:57 PM2/17/09
to

Boats are rather like the old soldiers in the song - they never die, but
simply fade away. (Linger on the "fade" if singing it)

The most under-designed, over-stressed or abused parts show the first
signs of deterioration. That may appear as riggers moving more easily
up & down, cracks appearing at structural corners, fastenings coming
loose. The kiss of death comes when the owner or users believe (often
incorrectly) that it can no longer be economically repaired.

A bit like humans, really.
;)

Stephen and Jane

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Feb 18, 2009, 6:37:59 AM2/18/09
to
rower2000 wrote:
>
> Longs shots sometimes work
> I thought I would cut and paste the questions here so the thread makes
> more sense to people:
>
> I have seen you flyer to clubs and have some questions, I am
> sure you can point me to the direct answers.

We'll do our best, but this is a long one!

> 1.You say "Is the ARA responsible for rowing safety?
> Yes. It is obliged in law to set and enforce national
> standards of practice and equipment safety." Where is this law, I'd
> like to see the wording.


In the adjournment debate on 15th March 2006, the Parliamentary
Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Mr David Lammy
(speaking on behalf of the Minister for Sport) stated (Extract from
Hansard - full transcript at
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmhansrd/vo060315/halltext/60315h05.htm)

"The purpose of the debate, as I see it, is to consider whether more should
be done to ensure that everybody involved in rowing does all that can be
done to maintain the highest standards of safety. I am sure that my hon.
Friend will recognise that many recreational sports carry with them an
element of risk to personal safety. However, the Government are clear:
safety should not and cannot be compromised. That is why an
interdepartmental group, led by the Department for Transport, looked closely
into the issue in 2002 and published a report called "Inland Water Safety:
Present Roles and Responsibilities". The report found that the
responsibility for inland water safety was spread across a number of
Government Departments and organisations.

One key outcome of the report was the development of the National Water
Safety Forum. That brings together, among others, Government Departments,
the devolved Administrations, public agencies and governing bodies of
sports. The forum includes an advisory group on water sports safety. On safe
water sports, the report concluded that the responsibility for the
management and regulation of individual sports, including safety, sat
principally with the sports' governing bodies.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is responsible for setting the
overarching strategic framework for sport in England. Our relationship with
sport's governing bodies is managed through Sport England and UK Sport, the
non-departmental public bodies for sport. Public funding for the governing
bodies is provided via Sport England and UK Sport according to a range of
criteria, including child protection, equity and safety in that sport. Each
year an annual audit of corporate governance is completed to determine
whether the governing body continues to satisfy the criteria and may
continue to receive public funding. That audit applies not only to the
Amateur Rowing Association, but to all national governing bodies in receipt
of public funds, including those with responsibility for swimming, athletics
and sailing.

I have spoken about the Government's relationship to the sport's national
governing bodies. It is also important to be clear about the role of the
governing bodies. In this country, the governing bodies are responsible for
all aspects of amateur sport. They set the rules and standards for their
sport, and clubs that meet those standards can become affiliated to the
governing body. One advantage of affiliation is the ability to compete in
recognised national and international competitions. If a club fails to meet
safety standards or does not have child protection or equity polices in
place, it runs the risk of losing its status as an affiliated club."

> 2. You say "These standards should be the minimum
> enforceable platform upon which clubs build their own
> safety strategy." How do you propose these to be enforced?

See above.

The ARA has several mechanisms already in place by which to enforce
regulation - though with better organisation, and attention to outcome as
well as process, these mechanisms could be easily improved.

For example, there are the checks at ARA events. Then there is the club
safety audit system. Currently this is a self audit system, and the ARA
does more about the audits it doesn't receive (by excommunicating
non-compliant clubs) than it does about those it does receive. This is at
least partly because, due to poor ARA organisation, RWSAs do not have enough
time to process the audits and give useful feedback, let alone enforce
compliance and re-audit. The RoSPA report recommends that the role of RWSAs
is re-defined to make it more manageable. Audit only helps positive change
if the cycle is completed.

The RoSPA report recommends that the ARA implements external auditing, for
example, clubs being audited by a neighbouring club, preferably a different
one each year, as far as possible. This is a much more useful process, and
far less susceptible to optimistic answers to awkward questions. This would
also allow clubs to share experiences and learn.

The Rules of the ARA allow for the imposition of fines or suspension, or to
"otherwise penalise" a club, an event, or a member.

> 3. What happened to personal responsibility, I receive guidance in
> many things eg How to cross a road safely, I then choose whether to
> follow that guidnace, is that not a very practical method of informing
> people of safety?

Here is a different example - the wearing of seat belts. Before it became
compulsory most people didn’t bother, and if they did it was for selected
journeys only. There was no shortage of “guidance”: we all knew it was a
good thing to do - and it might save our life and prevent serious injury.
However, most of the time, most of us are not thinking about those risks –
we’re just thinking about getting to work, or to the shops, or whatever else
our daily life serves up for us. Once the seat belt law came in, and we
realised we might be prosecuted for non-compliance, we were jolted into
wearing the belts all the time – and before long it became a habit – which
has been passed on down the generations. There will always be some
dissenters, but most of us now don’t question whether we should wear the
seat belt when we get into a car – we just do it.

The outcome of changing seat belt “guidance” into “regulation” has been a
positive change in population behaviour and perception – and oh, of course,
many, many thousands of lives have been saved, and injuries prevented.

We have posted many times on the issue of personal risk assessment. Most of
us think we can understand risk, and make logical informed decisions. But
the truth is that humans are rubbish at risk assessment - even those who
have had much experience and training. In reality our decisions on risk are
based on emotion - and the first rule of risk assessment is to understand
and accept this! Sub-conscious anxieties and desires win through every
time, and influence decisions largely undetected.

Sometimes decisions will turn out to be right, but sometimes they will be
wrong - a formal and rigorous risk assessment will produce more right than
wrong decisions, but is certainly no guarantee. Add to this the fact that
most people when making their risk assessment will only be in possession of
a fraction of the relevant information, and it becomes clear that personal
risk assessment is of limited use. So, although it is useful as one level
of the safety system - it is flawed on its own.

> 4. You use this example “Policy on wearing of PFDs for beginners and
> juniors – set one and communicate and enforce.” Is this not prudent,
> all clubs circumstnaces are different, eg I would suggest junior (esp
> beginners or non swimmers) us bouyancy aids on the tideway at all
> times, however if they are on a lake, can swim and it is the middle of
> august with a safety boat on hand is this necessary, clubs have to
> make that decision themsleves as circumstances vary so much.

Both Coroners severely criticised the ARA for their lack of a clear and
consistent regulation on the wearing of life jackets. The Berkshire Coroner
was clear that this contributed to Sikander Farooq's death.

The risk assessment above is incorrect. The water in a lake is somewhat
colder than that in a river, especially in summer. The top couple of feet
(or maybe less) are warm, but an immersed human will extend down into the
colder depths, and their movement brings the cold water to the surface.
Being smaller (and usually thinner) a junior is more susceptible to the
effects of cold water immersion. In cold water, being able to swim is of
some help, but not as much as you might think, as cold water makes us all
poor swimmers.

Every summer, people die in lakes due to dry drowning, the effects of cold
shock, swim failure and even hypothermia - simply because they do not expect
the water to be so cold. Near where we live, on a hot day at the end of
last July, two teenagers died quite near the edge of a reservoir, both
within a minute or two of going in for a swim, disappearing under the water
in full view of several onlookers, who were powerless to help - it happened
so quickly. They were both good swimmers, and no, they weren't caught up in
weeds, and they weren't drunk or on drugs.

> 5. You say "The ARA has failed to set a firm basis of expertly
> informed compulsory minimum safety standards.
> Each club must now decide, unaided, whether to follow
> the recommendations" having read Rowsafe and the RoSPA I think they
> ahve responded, Clubs ARE aided, they have RowSafe as a doc (plus
> other documents which you allude to, we have plenty of guidance!) We
> ahve to decide, based on our stretches of water, our members
> abilities, the time of year what is relevant to our clubs. The problem
> with "rules" is that something will happen that has not been acounted
> for, and the rules have a danger of making people complacent towards
> safety, not thinking about it but taking it for granted, this would
> make any water sort even more dangerous, guidance not rules makes
> people think "What does our club need, what is relevant in our
> situation" not "I'm following all the rules, I don't need to think
> about safety" (my quotes).

There are three parts to this answer.

1) We do not advocate "rules only" any more than we support "risk assessment
only". There has to be both. If someone is following a good set of basic
safety rules, then they have already thought of safety - otherwise they
wouldn't be following the rules. The rules would include a list of things
that should form part of the additional personal or group risk assessment -
such as "check the weather forecast".

2) Safety can be enhanced by default - i.e. it works even if the rower does
nothing. Inbuilt buoyancy fits into this category. If all boats are fully
buoyant, then that is not an issue needing consideration every time you go
out. Of course boats need to be maintained in good order - but this will be
covered in the basic rules.

3) The key aspect to a good safety system is that it is part of the culture
of the sport. In order for people to bother to follow the rules, or to
engage in risk assessment, they have to accept that this is what they should
do. That acceptance comes from safety regulation being evidence based and
reasonable, safety rules not interfering with the enjoyment and challenge of
the sport, safety being a high priority within the club, safety being on
everyone's lips before every outing, coaches going over the risk assessment
for the outing with their charges, and ignoring the old guy who always says
"I've been rowing for x years and I'm alright - this is how we always do
it - that safety lark is a load of rubbish - you'll be alright - its a laugh
to be dumped in the water etc etc".

> To conclude, I basically agree with the initial aim of this campaogn,
> namely flotation as standard in all boats (it is simple to do for new
> baots, I have an issue with "retro-fit" but that is another
> discussion).
>
> However you seem to have strayed from this sensible and supportable
> proposal and I agree a little witht he sentiment of "Cerberus" even if
> his wording is a little blunt. This does seem to be a vendetta, and
> you appear, to me at least, to have lost sight of the initial well
> thought out single issue of boat flotation.

Why call it a vendetta? It is not. Our safety campaign is a tiny part of
our lives, and does not intrude much into our freewheeling pursuit of self
expression, personal development, and pleasant pastime, which being retired
allows! Our initial motivation was to try and ensure that the lessons are
learned from Leo's death. If we, as a society do not learn by our mistakes,
then we do not progress. Sometimes the law and other systems are not enough
to ensure that lessons are learned and changes are made. Sometimes it takes
someone to just keep hammering away.

A vendetta - against rowing? No, rowing is a brilliant sport and deserves
to
be served better.

A vendetta against someone? No, we hold no grudges. Leo was good at
forgiving the moment and moving on - and we have followed his example.
However, we are rather impatient with anyone who is either incapable of
doing their job effectively, or who just doesn't bother - but that is not
personal, just practical.


> I hope you can answer my questions, and possibly get back to you
> original quest, which I would fully support.

Actually, the safety thing has kind of evolved by itself. For example -
Jane was motivated to write the Cold Water Survival document after Sikander
Farooq died, as there just didn't seem to be any existing such resource for
rowers. The Berkshire Coroner welcomed it, and was happy to endorse it. It
has since been taken up by clubs and NGBs worldwide, and has also been
adopted by other water sports, printed in magazines and so on. The new
partnership with the Foundation for Rowing Education came from their
approach to us, not the other way round. We're happy to help if we can -
and if we can't, we'll go away and leave you in peace!

>
> I look forward to a response
>
> regards.

Hope this helps,

Jane and Stephen


ATP*

unread,
Feb 18, 2009, 9:43:06 PM2/18/09
to

"rower2000" <rowe...@hotmail.co.uk> wrote in message
news:d7242f0e-aeec-4521...@v13g2000yqm.googlegroups.com...

That doesn't work too well for a junior or a novice joining a group
activity. Are you going to put the burden of judging safety on a minor or
their parents? Is it reasonable to expect, as a parent, that rough water
could result in your kid drowning, due not to inescapable risks inherent in
the activity, but due to the lack of floatation in the boat or lack of PFD's
or proper clothing on the crew? Is it unreasonable for a novice participant
or a parent to expect that all sensible precautions have been taken to
ensure safety? You cannot assume that all participants have received proper
guidance in safety procedures.


Caroline Smith

unread,
Feb 20, 2009, 5:48:39 PM2/20/09
to
>> So you are in the UK, where travel distances are small. Why not invite a
>> few of the regular rsr contributors and friends to a weekend of rowing, a
>> Saturday evening dinner, and a filming?
>
> I'd volunteer to add my 90Kg (and counting, I'm afraid) to the resources
> available for the test. I'd love to meet more of "us" and maybe even get
> some rowing.

Happy to cox, although I weigh rather more than I did when we did the Oxford
ones!

C

Charles Carroll

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Feb 20, 2009, 8:15:59 PM2/20/09
to
See, Robin! Caroline and Henry! You will shanghai your crew yet. Mahybe
Henning will volunteer to be the camerman?

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