> Climbing back in is not an option for many older and less flexible rowers. During capsize training it is very useful for people to find out if they can get back into their boat. If they cannot do it in a warm swimming pool with flat water, it is essential that they don't waste energy in the cold, choppy water trying the impossible. They must revise their risk assessment so that they don't rely on be able to get back into their and that they practise something they can do, e.g. straddle and paddle. I suspect that fewer than half novice masters can actually get back into their single in real water conditions. For those who can't, an outing on their own may not be sensible.
I am in that position. I am 77 years old, and not a novice, having rowed since 1950, and discovered, to my slight dismay, about 5 years ago that I couldn't get back into a single on my own. It was early morning with no-one around. Luckily it was high summer, the water was nearly still and warmish and I was only about a quarter of a mile from the raft, so I swam the boat back. Had it been further, or the water cold, I would have had to abandon the boat and try to climb the bank. I realized then that sculling alone was risky, and doing so in winter was no longer sensible.
This week I was out in a pair, when, to avoid a collision, we went too close to the bank, hit a branch and turned over. It rapidly became clear that we were quite unable to get back in. The water was cool. Luckily there was a friendly quad nearby who held our boat level, and a handy tree branch which I could grasp and pull myself up and into the boat. Even that was a struggle. On our own we would have been helpless. My partner is younger and then managed to climb in.
I recount all this, not just for your amusement, or for my mortification, but to emphasise that very veteran (masters!?) rowers and scullers, however experienced, need to think quite carefully about safety. In winter being alone on the water is probably too risky.