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The following rules and regulations apply to all members of the MENDOTA ROWING CLUB (MRC) and all MRC class participants.

Document last revised, May 9, 2023

  1. General Rules 
    1. Safety comes first. All members are to be safety conscious at ALL times.
    2. Only Club members, invited guests, or those persons attending organized Club classes, who have paid all club fees or met Club requirements, will be allowed to row or cox in club boats. Persons who are potential new members of the club may sign up for  a 4-week trial period by paying the applicable fee. However, these individuals may not represent MRC in any regattas until they are full members and have paid their dues. Members of other rowing clubs may row or cox as trial/guest members on a limited basis, as coaches permit, and are required to sign up for the 4-week trial period and pay the applicable fee.
    3. Each member or guest member must have a signed waiver on file. It is the responsibility of the Club Administrator to ensure that an up-to-date record of waivers is completed during club registration. 
    4. Every program practice (whether regularly scheduled, private, or other) must have, at minimum, one person in direct supervision throughout the practice. If a coach is not present, the individual supervising the program practice must be on the official MRC list of alternate coaches.  Alternate coaches can include private coaches (non-club member coach) or club members approved by the head coach to lead a practice.  This list will be posted on the boathouse bulletin board., 
    5. The appropriate program coach must approve the use of any MRC boat by program members. During a program's practices, the coaches will approve the use of specific boats by program participants. The head coach is responsible for establishment and oversight of requirements for individuals to use boats outside of scheduled program practice. Individual practices must avoid conflicts with scheduled practices of any group.
    6. The program coach has the authority to cancel program practices for safety reasons and shall otherwise exercise his/her advisory role. As part of determining whether a practice should be canceled, the coach for the practice shall obtain a current weather forecast to determine whether severe weather is predicted. For individual practices, the coxswain, sculler, or bow person, shall assume all responsibilities normally undertaken by the coach.  If a practice is canceled, the head coach and all members signed up to practice shall be notified.  The coach may also switch practice to land in inclement weather.
    7. Practices MUST be canceled or delayed if lightning is detected or seen by anyone. Boats shall remain off the water for a full 30 minutes after lightning is observed. Boats already on the water should immediately seek a safe location on land to wait out the storm (return to MRC boathouse if safely possible). Do not try to out-row a storm.
    8. The coxswain or bow person is in sole command of a shell and should be the only person giving commands and instructions when the shell is moving. Rowers can assist a new coxswain or bow person in improving their skills, but only when the shell is not moving. If a coxswain's or bow person’s command will place either the crew or equipment in a harmful position, the rowers have the responsibility to stop the shell. A rower should only stop the boat and NOT attempt to issue correcting instructions or commands. 
    9. Sweep boats that are equipped for coxswains shall not go out on the water without a coxswain, unless the shell is accompanied by the launch and prior approval has been received from the coach.
    10. All club boats and boats stored at the boathouse are to be accompanied by a launch when the water temperature is below 55°F, or when conditions warrant a launch escort as determined by a program coach. Please refer to the cold water guidelines found here.  Launch drivers must be MRC certified.
    11. No club boats are to be rowed after dark (1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise) unless all of the following conditions are met: 
      1. Practice is supervised by a program coach;
      2. Shells and launches are properly lighted;
      3. All boats are accompanied by a launch and all shells remain within 100 yards of the launch at all times.
    12. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices (PFDs) must be carried in the launches and all boats equipped for coxswains. At the minimum this means: 
      1. 1 PFD per 4+s and 8+s, usually carried by the coxswain;
      2. 1 PFD per rower in the supervising launch.  In addition, launch drivers and others riding in a launch must wear a PFD.
      3. 1 throwable type 4 PFD (seat cushion) in the supervising launch. 
    13. The head coach must give approval for any MRC boats to be transported from the boathouse.  The repair log will be checked for any issues and the equipment manager notified of any boats leaving the boathouse for an event other than practice.   All shells and launches taken out of the boathouse for any practice are to be signed out in the logbook. For practices, coxswains and bow persons are responsible for signing the boats in and out. The responsible person should include in the logbook the boat name, the direction the boat will be headed, and the time of departure. On return, the return time should be entered in the log. Any equipment issues should promptly be reported through repair@mendotarowingclub.com.  If warranted, place an "Out of Service" marker on the boat. For regattas, the coach or group captain is responsible for following the above instructions. Unless otherwise arranged, all boats must be returned to rowable condition after a trip or regatta prior to the next scheduled practice for any program,
    14. All shells are to follow the set traffic pattern.
  2. Miscellaneous Rules 
    1. All boathouse doors are to be shut, locked, or fully secured, and all equipment properly secured in the boathouse when crews are on the water and when the last person leaves the boathouse.
    2. The boathouse is to be used for official Mendota Rowing Club activities only. Any other use of the boathouse by members must be previously approved by the Board.
    3. All gasoline is to be kept in the outside storage cabinet. Other flammable materials must be stored in the appropriate storage area.
    4. Smoking is not permitted in or around the boathouse or storage area.
    5. Alcohol consumption is not permitted in or around the boathouse, with the exception of organized MRC social gatherings and fundraising events approved by the Board.
    6. Park hours are posted in the park by the City of Madison. Except as specifically authorized by the Board, no one is to be in or near the boathouse outside of park hours, except to return equipment after a regatta.
    7. Club members must obtain permission from the Board or chair of the equipment committee to use the repair bay or tools.
    8. Except as otherwise approved by the Board, the boathouse is to be used only for official club functions, including scheduled and individual practices, land training using ergs, bikes, and weights, regularly scheduled Board meetings and specific events scheduled by program coaches and/or approved by the Board.
    9. Junior team members of the club may not be in the boathouse or boathouse vicinity unsupervised unless permission is granted by the Junior Varsity Coach.  Middle School team members are not allowed in the boathouse unsupervised at any time. 
    10. The boathouse door lock combination is not to be shared with any non-club members.
    11. MRC enforces a zero-tolerance policy concerning the possession or use of drugs or weapons in the boathouse.
  3. Equipment handling guidelines 
    1. Boats
      1. When lifting a boat, always make sure there are enough people and that they are properly distributed.
      2. Always lift boats off the racks, don't slide them off on the gunwales.
      3. Watch riggers carefully to make sure they won't hit or scrape anything.
      4. When putting a shell on the racks or in slings, make sure it isn't resting on any part of the rigger.
      5. Lift the boat evenly.
      6. The coxswain or bow person is responsible for directing the movement of the boat. Listen for the coxswain's or bow person’s commands and refrain from unnecessary talking.
      7. Never step in the bottom of the shell or drop anything heavy into the bottom of the shell.
      8. Before leaving the dock at the beginning of practice, do a quick inspection of seat, rigger, stretchers, etc. to make sure no parts are missing, loose, or broken. Notify the coach or supervisory person immediately if there is a problem. Replace missing or broken parts immediately. If something can't be fixed, use a different shell. Never row a damaged shell. Any problems found before and/or after practice should be reported using repair@mendotarowingclub.com.
      9. Be careful when landing at the dock. Remember that the coxswain or bow person is in charge. Take the best approach to landing and proceed slowly in order to prevent boat damage. If the first attempt at landing does not go well, weigh enough, back off and try again. Always try to have someone catch you at the dock.
      10. Shells are to be given routine preventive maintenance as scheduled by the equipment committee.
      11. When transporting shells to a regatta, remove or secure all seats and rigging. Gunwales should be on foam protectors, never on plain metal. Make sure all shells are secure - boats should not be able to move in any direction during transport.
      12. Drivers transporting boats to regattas are responsible for compliance with all applicable laws and regulations for boat transportation.
      13. Do not place shells on the ground. Shells should be placed on slings or Ts so they are properly supported. Low slings should be used for singles and doubles.  In windy conditions, shells on slings should be oriented into the wind to minimize the risk of the slings blowing over.
      14. Boats placed in slings on the boathouse apron are to be positioned to avoid obstructing the park walkway.
      15.  Always walk around a shell, never step over a shell.
      16. Except for components intended for routine adjustment such as foot stretchers and adjustable oarlock spacers, RIGGING IS NOT TO BE CHANGED WITHOUT A COACH'S APPROVAL. Please contact a coach directly if you need information about the rigging process or to discuss specific boats.
      17. After being rowed, boats are to be rinsed off if necessary and toweled down before being put away.
    2. Oars
      1. All oars have been color-coded as matched sets. Use matched sets of oars for the same shell if possible. 
      2. Do not change oar markings or settings without a coach's approval.
      3. Carry oars with blades forward and only carry one or two oars at a time.
      4. Use oar horses when possible.  Avoid laying oars down on the pavement and never lean oars against the side of a building.
      5. If an oar is damaged, place it on the rack in the repair bay and enter the problem using repair @mendotarowingclub.com.
    3. Launches
      1. Launch drivers are to be certified in accordance with the MRC Launch Manual found here.Certification can be completed by the head coach or other coaches or certified launch drivers as approved by the head coach.  Launch drivers are responsible for compliance with all boating regulations while operating MRC equipment. Use of the launches is to be entered on the log sheets by the launch driver, just as is done with shells. LAUNCHES AND OTHER CLUB PROPERTY ARE TO BE USED FOR ROWING-RELATED PURPOSES ONLY, unless otherwise approved in advance by the Board.
      2. Launches stored on the lifts are to be fully hoisted and securely strapped and locked to the lift at the completion of each practice.
      3. Launches stored on the trailer inside the boathouse are to have all gasoline tanks removed. The gasoline is to be stored in the designated spot for flammable material.
      4. The launch is to be considered a safety vehicle at all times. Launch drivers should make sure all the proper safety equipment is in the launch before leaving the dock. Launch drivers should be familiar with rescue guidelines. The number of persons in the launch should be limited to ensure room is available to rescue crew, if necessary.
    4. Miscellaneous 
      1. Make sure any equipment problems are reported to repair@mendotarowingclub.com - DO NOT ASSUME THAT SOMEONE ELSE HAS REPORTED THE PROBLEM. If the problem is severe, make sure that the equipment will not be used by anyone else - such use has the potential to cause additional damage or to cause injury to a rower.
    5. Safety 
      1. All members must view the USRowing safety video (available in the boathouse) every year.
      2. All members must review the club rules and by-laws every year.
      3. All members must complete a swim test every 5 years. 
        1. To pass the swim test each rower must demonstrate the ability to: 

        Swim 50 yards

        Tread water for 10 minutes fully clothed

        After treading water, put on a life jacket

      1. The swim test must be administered by a lifeguard or water safety instructor.
      2. If a dedicated coxswain is not able to pass a swim test, they may take the test wearing a life jacket, life vest or their own automatic inflatable flotation device. The coxswain must wear a life jacket, life vest or their own automatic inflatable flotation device at all times while in a boat.  Personal automatic inflatable flotation device must be equipped with a new cartridge when participant is in a boat.
      3. If a rower is not able to pass a swim test, they may take the test wearing a personal automatic inflatable flotation device. The rower must wear their own person automatic inflatable flotation device at all times while in a boat. 
      4. A SCUBA or Life Guard certification can be used instead of the swim test. These certifications must be renewed every 5 years. 
      5. If you are currently a collegiate rower, you may provide MRC with written proof of your swimming ability from your college coach in lieu of MRC's swim test. 
    1. Any rower wishing to row without a safety launch (independent sculling) must complete the following: 
      1. Re-enter a single from the water every 5 years - the "Flip-Test"
      2. Pass the independent sculling written exam once
      3. Pass the independent sculling practical exam once
    2. See the MRC Sculler’s Manual for a full set of rules for scullers.
  1. Rule Violations

If a rower violates1 any of the club rules, sculling rules (set forth in the Sculler’s Manual), or policies set forth by coaches the consequences will be as follows:

First violation
Rower will get a warning.

Second violation
Rower will not be boated for two weeks. If the rower is an independent sculler he/she/they will not be allowed to scull for two weeks. If a regatta is scheduled during those two weeks, he/she/they will not be allowed to race.

 Third violation
 Rower will be considered for membership suspension or if applicable, independent sculler certification suspension.

1Infractions are at coaches' discretion with appeals to the Board.

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    622 E Gorham St
    Madison, WI

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