With the ongoing growth of the Saltwater Challenge, continual care must be taken to address the risk of injury on the water to regatta participants.
The below Safety Plan sets out procedures to follow in the event of an on-the-water emergency arising from equipment failure, collision, or unintended water immersion, in order to prevent or minimize related injuries.
On-water emergencies entail the added risk element of water immersion. In addition to the obvious risk of accidental drowning, there is a risk of hypothermia, especially during this time of the year.
Accordingly, it is of paramount importance that all Reggata participants (rowers, coaches and others) in the event of an on-water emergency, yield absolutely to the authority and direction of official Regatta personnel in matters of safety and rescue.
The Regatta Safety Plan is designed for flexibility and adaptability to particular circumstances of a given mishap.
The ultimate authority for management of any operation rests with the Regatta Referee. All other Regatta officials/personnel will look to the Referee for direction.
The purpose of this plan is to set out certain basic rules designed to allow for maximum efficiency and control of any emergency operation.
- The following pages outline information in relation to:
- Execution of the Plan
- Dissemination of the Plan
- Incident Prevention, Notification and Response
- Treatment for immersion and injury
- Disposition of immersed and non seriously injured individuals
- Disposition of unmanned equipment
- Use of Radios
Execution of the Plan
The Regatta Safety Plan will be executed under the direction of the Regatta Referee. The execution of the Plan may be modified as necessary based on individual circumstances in the judgment of the individual directing the execution of the plan.
Decisions concerning whether an event must be stopped and/or cancelled and any changes in the Regatta schedule occasioned by an on-the-water mishap will be made by the Referee and the Regatta Secretary.
Dissemination of the Plan
Each crew entered will receive a copy of the"Rules for Participants" when they collect their bow numbers.
Each participant or crew will be presumed to have read, understood, and agreed to abide by the Rules as a condition of participation in the Regatta.
A copy of the Safety Plan will be provided to each Regatta official at the pre-event briefing and will be reviewed at this briefing.
Each Regatta launch will be equipped with a copy of the Plan.
Course umpires will be strategically placed along the course to ensure the competitors are able to be observed at all times at any part of the course which poses navigation difficulty.
Safety Boats, crewed by a licenced driver and First Aider, will also be placed along the course to effectively respond to an incident. Safety kits will include thermal blankets; thermos; lanyards.
Upon witnessing or being credibly advised of an on-water mishap any regatta personnel shall report directly by radio or mobile phone to the Regatta Referee the following information:
- The precise location of the mishap;
- The general nature of the mishap;
- The apparent number of participants involved;
- The category of the boat involved; and
- Whether the party making the notification is an official on the water in the immediate vicinity of the mishap and is initiating emergency operations.
- The Referee will upon acknowledgement of the receipt of the notification:
- Designate which regatta officials are to proceed to the site of the mishap, and
- Instruct those officials to turn their communications devices to the designated Emergency Channel.
All other parties will stay off of the Emergency Channel.
The Referee will immediately notify the officials at the starting line to cease starting crews in the Regatta until further notice.
The Referee will immediately notify the course umpires upstream of the incident to warn all crews already racing of pending course obstruction and location of the incident.
Response to Notification
The first of the designated respondents to arrive at the mishap scene will:
- Briefly announce over the Emergency Channel that he/she is at the scene and describe what has occurred;
- Advise whether any of the participants are potentially seriously injured;
- Advise if unmanned equipment constitutes a potential hazard to other crews;
- Advise whether crews approaching the scene of the mishap constitute an immediate hazard; and
- Supply any other relevant information.
The Referee will then:
- Decide whether the racing must be stopped, and, if so, make an announcement to that effect over the general communications channel;
- Decide whether additional personnel are needed at the scene and mobilize them as above; and
- Stay in communication over the Emergency Channel.
Designated responders to the scene will work with one another to:
- Rescue immersed individuals;
- Announce whether any potentially serious injuries exist and request the Referee to secure the assistance of emergency services as required;
- Secure and/or remove unmanned equipment constituting an immediate hazard;
- Halt or divert oncoming crews, according to whether the Referee has stopped the event; and
- Provide updates over the Emergency Channel as the circumstances permit.
Treatment of Immersion and Injuries
Simple immersion and/or minor injuries
Individuals who have been immersed and appear to have suffered only minor injuries (if any), will be treated as follows:
- Each “wet” individual will be wrapped in one of the hypothermia blankets (“space blankets”) with which every motor launch will be equipped, and given a warm drink; and
- Each “wet” individual will be taken as soon as is practicably possible under the circumstances to a site for rewarming and medical evaluation.
The default site for treatment of “wet” individuals and individuals with minor injuries will be the ERC boatshed unless otherwise instructed by the Referee.
The Referee will communicate with Emergency Medical Units as required.
Individuals who appear to have sustained more than minor injuries will be treated as follows:
- As soon as a potentially serious injury is perceived, it will be reported over the Emergency Channel to the attention of the Referee;
- The Referee will acknowledge receipt of such reports over the Emergency Channel and issue instructions as appropriate;
- The Referee will secure the assistance of any emergency services; and
- The Referee will designate and mobilize regatta personnel to assist the Emergency Services Units as needed to receive seriously injured individuals for stabilization and transport to appropriate advanced care facilities.
Disposition of immersed and non-seriously injured individuals
Once delivered to the designated rewarming and treatment location, immersed and non-seriously injured individuals will be:
- Rewarmed and have their vital signs determined;
- Evaluated for injuries; and
- Released when appropriate
Regatta personnel will make reasonable efforts to notify the appropriate persons of the whereabouts of equipment and to assist, wherever possible, in facilitating the delivery of dry clothing to immersed crew members.
Disposition of Unmanned Equipment
The primary purpose of recovery of unmanned equipment by regatta personnel is to eliminate a potential hazard and avoid the risk of secondary injury to regatta participants. The safety and recovery of individuals will always take precedence over preservation of equipment.
In the event that a crew becomes separated from their equipment, regatta personnel will:
- Remove the equipment from the course to the most practicable location to avoid a collision hazard;
- Assure the eventual delivery of equipment to a dock location where it can be recovered by the club/school/owner to which it belongs; and
- Make every reasonable effort to notify the club/school/owner where its equipment may be recovered.
Two sets of radios will be used.
RV radios will be supplied to all Marshalls & rescue craft for point to point communications. These radios do not have full course coverage and rely on the Viewing Area Relay Person.
Emergency radios will be provided for full course coverage and will be supplied to Rescue Crew, RV Referee, Radio Relay person at Viewing Area above the Sand Caves, and the RV Course Start. These radios will communicate using channel 3B. This channel is reserved exclusively for emergency purposes on the event day.