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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, September 10, 2020

  1. General Rules
    1. Safety comes first. All members are to be safety conscious at ALL times.
    2. Only Club members, 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. During non-COVID Pandemic times the following applies: Persons who are potential new members of the club may sign up for  a 4-week trial period for $30. 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 for $30.
    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 kept. It is the responsibility of the Program coach to ensure that waivers are completed by all program participants.
    4. Every program practice (whether regularly scheduled or other) must have, at minimum, one person in direct supervision throughout the practice. If the coach is not present, the individual supervising the program practice must be on the official MRC list of alternate coaches, approved by the Board; this list will be posted on the boathouse bulletin board. Approved individuals must be at least 18 years old and not currently a member of the Junior program, be qualified in rowing by training or experience, be knowledgeable about basic sports safety principles and basic rowing safety and be authorized by the appropriate program coach.
    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. Program coaches are responsible for establishment and oversight of requirements for individuals in their programs 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.
    7. Practices MUST be canceled if lightning is seen by anyone and 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. A lightning detector is available in the boathouse to help determine the distance of the storm from the boathouse over time - practices should be canceled or delayed as warranted on the basis of this information.
    9. The coxswain 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 new coxswains in improving their skills, but only when the shell is not moving. If a coxswain'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. Any request by a member of a crew to end practices for impending weather is to be granted.
    10. All sweep boats that are equipped for coxswains shall not go out on the water without a coxswain. If a coxswain is not available, a shell will not go out unless the shell is accompanied by the launch and prior approval has been received from the coach.
    11. All club boats and boats stored at the boat house 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. The water temperature shall be determined by the UW-Madison Lifesaving Station. When a launch accompanies shells, singles and doubles are to stay within 100 yards of the launch and within 100 yards of shore; other boats are to stay within 500 yards of the launch. For early and late season rowing and sculling (water temperature below 55°F), launch drivers must be certified and approved by the program coach. Early and late season sculling, under the guidance of the sculling coach, generally shall be limited to competitors and take place during the daylight period.
    12. 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.
    13. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices (PFDs) must be carried in all water craft. At the minmum this means:
      1. 1 PFD per 4s and 8s, usually carried by the coxswain;
      2. 1 PFD per person in the rowcats and in all training boats;
      3. As many PFD as reasonable in a launch but a minimum of 5, plus 1 per person in the launch (including at least one throwable type 4 PFD [seat cushion]).
    14. A Coach must give approval for any MRC boats to be transported from the boat house. All shells and launches taken out of the boat house for any practice are to be signed out in the logbook. For practices, coxswains are responsible for signing the boats in and out. For sculling, the bowman is responsible. 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, comments, and above all, any equipment problems encountered should be entered in the log. A detailed entry noting the problem should be entered in the maintenance log and the chair of the equipment committee should be informed of the problem. 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,
    15. All shells are to follow the set traffic pattern.
  2. Miscellaneous Rules
    1. All boat house doors are to be shut, locked, or fully secured, and all equipment properly secured in the boat house when crews are on the water and when the last person leaves the boat house.
    2. The boat house is to be used for official Mendota Rowing Club activities only. Any other use of the boat house 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.
    6. Park hours are posted in the park by the City of Madison. Except as specifically authorized by the Board of Directors, no one is to be in or near the boat house outside of park hours, except to return equipment after a regatta.
    7. Club members must obtain permission from the board of directors or chair of the equipment committee to use repair bay or tools.
    8. The boathouse is officially closed for use by club members when the on-the-water season ends (i.e. when the dock is removed). Exceptions will be made for regularly scheduled Board meetings and specific events scheduled by program coaches and/or approved by the Board.
    9. Junior members of the club may not be in the boathouse or boathouse vicinity unsupervised. 
    10. The boat house 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. Moving 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 on stretchers, make sure it isn't resting on any part of the rigger.
      5. Lift the boat evenly.
      6. Always use a coxswain to move a boat. Listen for the coxswain'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 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 entered in the log and written on the white board over the sign-out desk in the boathouse.
      9. Be careful when landing at the dock. Remember that the coxswain 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 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 stretchers or horses so they are properly supported. Always walk around a supported shell, never step over a shell.
      14. 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.
    2. Handling oars
      1. All oars have been color-coded as matched sets. Use matched sets of oars for the same shell. Sculling oars are to be used only with the shell designated for that set.
      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. 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 in the repair log located on the boat bay desk.
    3. Handling launches
      1. Launch drivers need to be approved by the coaches or another certified launch drive and 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. ANY CLUB PROPERTY IS TO BE USED FOR ROWING-RELATED PURPOSES ONLY. Launches are to be used only for rowing related purposes unless otherwise approved in advance by the Board.
      2. Launches stored on the lifts are to be securely tied to the lift and the lift properly hoisted and locked at the completion of each practice.
      3. Launches stored on the trailer inside the boat house 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 entered in the log - 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
        2. The swim test must be administered by a lifeguard or water safety instructor
        3. 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.

        4. 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. 
        5. A SCUBA or Life Guard certification can be used instead of the swim test. These certification must be renewed every 5 years. 
        6. 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. 
      4. 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
      5. For any sculling boat that leaves the boathouse without a safety launch at least half the rowers must be independently certified scullers.
      6. See the MRC Sculler’s Manual for a full set of rules for scullers.
    6. 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 will not be allowed to scull for two weeks. If a regatta is scheduled during those two weeks he/she 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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PO Box 646
Madison, WI 53701

Boathouse Address:
622 E Gorham St
Madison, WI

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