CAPSIZE DRILL TRAINING SESSION - SATURDAY 10 JULY 2010 - INVERNESS LEISURE COMPETITION POOL - 3.00 to 5.00 pm
posted by Roy Sinclair
- 7 Jun 2010, 11:01 p.m.
INVERNESS ROWING CLUB
CAPSIZE DRILL TRAINING SESSION
SATURDAY 10 JULY 2010
INVERNESS LEISURE COMPETITION POOL
3.00 to 5.00 pm
1. Inverness Rowing Club (IRC) is holding a capsize drill training session on
Saturday 10th July 2010 in the competition pool at Inverness Leisure. All
club members are encouraged to attend and are requested to inform Gary Hunt
(email@example.com or 01309 690410) if they are going to
2. The aim of this training session is to train in a drill following a
3. The objectives of the training session are to:
a. allow IRC members a safe environment to practise a capsize.
b. build confidence in personal ability.
b. effect safe egress from a capsized boat.
c. practise self-rescue ie stay with boat and swim to the poolside.
e. conduct righting drills if time permits.
4. Equipment A single and double scull will be used for this session. Boats
and oars will be nominated by Tom following a routine safety inspection. Two
throw- lines are to be at the pool. Boats and oars are to be thoroughly
washed at the club before going to the pool. Members are to wear normal
rowing kit and may in addition wear swim goggles.
5. Safety The club coach / Gary Hunt / Captain will supervise the whole
training session unless on the water when a nominated committee member will
take over supervision. The following points are to be followed:
a. all capsizes will take place in the deep end of the pool with one boat at
a time undergoing a drill.
b. each drill will have a nominated person supervising that particular
capsize with two 'watchers' available to offer immediate assistance;
one to have a throw-line available.
c. only those undergoing a drill are to be on or in the water.
6. Non or Poor Swimmers IRC members who are poor or non-swimmers are to let
the drill supervisor know before getting into a boat.
7. Outline Plan with Times The following is an outline of the events:
TIME WHAT WHERE by WHOM
2.00pm Wash equipment IRC 6 club members
2.30pm Venue ready & Leisure Centre (LC) 1 club member
open access door
2.30pm Carry boats & oars to venue 6 club members
2.45pm Meet LC participants
3.00pm Briefing Poolside tbc
5.00pm De-brief Poolside tbc
5.15pm Return equipment to IRC 6 club members
INFORMATION ON ARA LEVEL 2 CERTIFICATE IN COACHING ROWING
Coaching the Capsize and Immersion Drill in a single scull in a safe
During your Level 2 course you will be assessed on your ability to coach
individuals on appropriate actions that they might take in the event of
capsize and immersion occurring. These notes provide an explanation to coaches
of the rationale for performing a capsize drill and a swimming test and
guidelines on how to coach a capsize drill session.
Why should participants carry out a capsize and immersion drill?
Performing a capsize and immersion drill in a safe environment, such as a
swimming pool, is important so that participants know what to do should a
capsize occur outdoors, and they find themselves immersed in cold water.
One aim of practising the drill is to increase individuals' confidence in
a controlled environment, and to educate them on what they should do, in the
event of a capsize. Coaching individuals to perform a capsize drill and be
immersed in water, also gives you as a coach, an indication of their
competence and confidence in and under the water. Gaining confidence through
practice in a safe environment can reduce any feelings of panic should a
When coaching assess the likelihood of capsize and immersion occurring and
take action to manage the risk appropriately
To minimise the risk of capsize and immersion occurring, you should take
account of the level of experience of the participant(s) and the available
boat types, whilst also considering the weather and water conditions, and the
environment where you row.
Singles, pairs, and doubles may be more likely to capsize than larger boats
such as fours and eights, in which a capsize is more likely to occur at
landing stages, when participants do not use the correct procedure for getting
in and out of the boat, in the event of a collision, or when letting go of the
oar or scull handle(s)! Tandem rigged fours (where the middle pair of rowers
are rowing on the same side) are prone to rolling over when turning in poor
Plan what to do should a capsize and immersion occur.
When coaching, plan for what you would do in different scenarios should a
capsize occur. Remember that the priority is to get the individuals out of the
water as soon as possible. What control measures are in place to manage the
risk of a capsize/immersion occurring? Do individuals know what to do, to get
out of the water as soon as possible? How easy would it be for individuals to
reach the side and get out if swimming or paddling the boat to shore? Are
there any locations where getting
out might be very difficult? You might limit the distance, or the area in
which they row.
What control measures are in place to manage the risk if a capsize and
immersion does occur? How will you assist in the rescue? If there is a
coaching launch, is it on the water and ready to assist in the event of a
rescue? How would you summon assistance? Are you carrying a throwline?
Take steps to reduce the consequences of a capsize should it occur.
• Using a more stable boat.
• Ensuring that the crew wear buoyancy aids or lifejackets.
• Limiting the distance in the outing that participants move from the
bank and from the safety of the boathouse.
• Checking that the buoyancy of the boat is adequate.
Self rescue is the last resort. Participants should only go out sculling where
there are other individuals on the water or on the bank, who might be able to
assist in a rescue. In conditions where the risks associated with a capsize
would be increased, such as in cold weather, or poor conditions, the safest
choice is not to go out on the water in the first place.
Always carry and use a throwline when coaching
Always carry a throwline when coaching, if you are on foot, cycling or in a
launch, as this will assist you in rescuing an individual in the water.
Throwbags can be obtained in various lengths but 15 to 25 metres is the usual
choice depending on the location.
There is always the temptation for people to enter the water themselves to
attempt a rescue and there have been many instances of rescuers successfully
doing this without regard for their own life. There have also been many
instances of rescuers entering the water and sadly becoming a second
The advice is DO NOT go into the water to attempt a rescue - you may
become a victim too!
Using a throw bag requires training and generally in a short time one can
become very accurate and able to throw the line a good distance with little
When aiming with your throwline, aim to throw the line so that it lands over
the person in the water, this will make it easy for them to grab. Hitting the
target directly can be difficult and you should practice using throwlines! The
capsize drill session provides a good opportunity.
A throwline can be thrown directly to participants in narrow sheltered waters,
but even where participants cannot be reached directly, a throwline will
reduce the distance that individuals have to move with the boat before they
can be towed in.
Coach individuals to stay with the boat!
One effect of cold water is to affect your muscles and your ability to swim;
no matter how strong a swimmer you are "swim failure" can occur.
Further detail on the risks of immersion in cold water, including swim failure
is given in the pages on immersion and hypothermia. Coach the participants to
hold on to the boat at all times after they have capsized so that they can
stay with the boat.
Stay with the boat;
• A capsized boat is more easily seen by those coming to help,
• A capsized boat provides you with a buoyant raft
• Staying with the boat allows you to pull your body out of the water to
reduce rapid cooling.
• Staying with the boat allows you to re-enter the boat if you can
• In crew boats staying with the boat keeps the whole crew together
enabling you to help each other
• Only leave your boat when you know you are safe or that staying with
the boat will take you into greater danger or if the boat no longer remains an
effective life raft.
Stay with the boat!
Righting and towing the boat
Where the wind and water temperature and conditions allow, and the boat
capsizes close to the bank, then the boat can be turned over and towed. When
the boat is the right way up, it can be towed with less resistance.
In combinations of cold water temperature and weather, high winds, fast stream
or tide, or when there is a large distance from the bank, or the boat is too
big and heavy, towing may not be feasible. In these circumstances,
participants should remain with the boat and get as much of their body out of
the water as possible, by lying across the hull or deck.
Lying on the upturned hull or deck
If immersed from a single scull, heat loss will be reduced if the participant
can get as much of their body out of the water as possible by lying on the
upturned hull of the boat, or across the deck.
How to paddle the boat whilst lying on top of the hull
Coach the participants to climb onto the hull using a combination of strong
leg kick together with the arms pulling up on the deck or hull. Alternatively
sliding up the hull from bow or stern can be achieved with less effort;
holding on to a rigger and paddling with the other hand and using a leg
How to right the boat
Coach the participants to arrange their oars loosely parallel to the hull and
then push down on the nearest rigger with the feet and one hand.
At the same time they should reach over the hull with their free hand to grip
the far rigger and pull it up and over. They should take care to avoid the
sculls or blades as the boat rights itself.
How to tow the boat
Coach the participant to keep hold of the boat and to move towards one end. By
using a lifesaving kick, they can keep their head clear of the water and be
able to breathe whilst keeping a lookout to observe their direction of
When landing the boat participants should be coached to ascertain their speed
of drift and be aware of possible underwater obstructions and dangers; e.g.
tree roots, scaffold poles, glass etc.
When at the side they should test for the bottom with their feet, and to be
aware of difficulties with soft mud etc.
Once on a firm base they should walk out to waist depth before attempting to
do anything with the boat.
If the participant has been immersed for along time they shouldn't stand up
too quickly but keep their body as horizontal as possible to prevent surges in
Once in a safe situation the participant(s) should attempt to empty the boat
by half turning and carefully lifting the boat higher as the water flows out.
If practical it is easier if to remove the oars before lifting and stow them
safely. Don't let go of the boat or it may drift out of your grasp.
Getting back into the boat
It is a good idea to practice trying to re-enter a single scull in the safe
environment where you practice your capsize drill. You need to practice, as
getting back into the boat can be tricky and can require a lot of energy. The
ability to get back into a boat in deep water can be critical to the safety of
individual scullers in cold water, but remember that what might be achievable
in a safe environment may be more difficult when a capsize occurs for real.
When attempting to re-enter the boat in deep water, participants will have to
be aware of the speed of drift and other hazards.
When practicing in a safe environment, due care needs to be taken, as
saxboards tend to be fragile and riggers very hard.
Getting back into the boat from deep water
Imagine that you have capsized, and have righted the boat. You are in the
water on the strokeside.
To re-enter the boat from deep water,
1. Lock the two handles together in the forward position with your right
2. Keep your hand locking the handles together.
3. Put your left hand on the deck at the front of the cockpit.
4. Kick your legs hard to lift yourself up out of the water,
5. Push down with your left hand, as if you were getting out of a swimming
pool at the side.
6. Turn towards the stern and quickly sit on the deck/slides with your feet in
the water. You should be facing out of the boat.
7. You can then swing your feet into the boat and then find the seat to sit
Getting back into the boat from shallow water
Re-entering the boat from shallow water; where you can stand up, is easier
than in deep water.
Using the "Buddy" system of rescue
One option to rescue an individual in the water using a single scull is to get
them to support themselves on the stern deck. In cold water conditions
reducing the amount of time in the water reduces the dangerous effects of cold
on the body. The individual can be supported out of the water, and you may be
still able to scull the boat to safety.
The boat is a 75 kg Janousek single scull. The sculler weighs 80 kgs and the
victim 80 kgs
The boat is held steady with the blades in the safe position whilst the victim
mounts the stern. The riggers are sufficiently out of the water to enable the
sculler to propel the boat to safety.
Using the same boat and sculler, but with a 100 kg + victim being transported;
again with sufficient rigger clearance to allow steady progress.
Coaching the capsize and immersion drill
The purpose of the capsize and immersion drill is to develop individuals'
confidence in knowing what they might do if a capsize occurs. Having practised
in a safe environment, they will be better prepared and more confident, and
will panic less if immersion occurs in cold water, in an outdoor environment.
This can help them to take the most appropriate action. As a coach, you should
conduct a thorough risk assessment of the environment that you are coaching
in, and before every outing you should update this assessment of risk
according to any changes, e.g. changes in the water and weather conditions,
and manage the risk appropriately.
Planning a session
It is important to carry out a check of the boat to be used in a capsize
drill, as you would normally with any boat before going on the water. In
particular; are the heel restraints adjusted correctly on the shoes, and are
the buoyancy compartments sealed? To remind yourself of checks that should be
carried out on any boat before an outing, refer to the Water Safety Code. Pay
particular attention to thoroughly cleaning the boat, including bleach in the
washing solution if it is being used in a swimming pool
Check the heel restraints
When coaching the capsize drill, you should emphasise to participants the
importance the importance of checking that their heel restraints are correctly
adjusted. Participants should easily fall out of a capsizing boat without
having to intervene to free themselves. The heel restraints should be separate
and tight enough and short enough to ensure that each heel does not rise above
the lowest fixed point of the shoe. Your heels would normally rise no more
than 40mm. The shorter the heel restraint, the easier it is to get your feet
To carry out a capsize drill coaching session you will need;
1. Access to a pool deep and large enough (e.g. 6ft deep, 20ft wide, 40ft
long) to allow the drill to take place. The pool must be clear of other
swimmers, lane ropes etc. (Check that the access to the pool allows you to get
a boat through the doors)
2. A clean and safety checked single scull(s) (1 X) and set of sculls.
3. A selection of different lifejackets, buoyancy aids and throwlines.
4. Assistants to help hold the ends of the scull and control its position in
The swim test
The swim test is designed to check that individuals are competent swimmers and
are confident both in and under the water. A poor swimming ability and a lack
of confidence in water, will dramatically increase the risk presented by a
capsize and immersion in water. However, it should be stressed that the
ability of even very able swimmers to swim is drastically reduced in cold
water and that staying with the boat is essential.
What is the required minimum swimming ability?
All rowing participants should be able to swim at least 50m in light clothing
at least half of which should be carried out on the back using a breaststroke
kick, also known as a life saving or frog leg kick. Clubs may wish to extend
this depending on their local situation and hazards. Participants should be
able to demonstrate that they are also competent underwater, in treading
water, and in swimming on their front and back. If a participant for physical
or other reasons cannot meet the requirements of the test, then they must wear
an approved buoyancy aid or lifejacket when in a boat.
Why check swimming ability?
As a coach you will not know the exact swimming ability of the participants,
unless you check it. Participants may present swimming and life saving badges
or certificates, but it is in everyone's interest to observe their
swimming ability. In the case of juniors you should not rely on the signatures
of a parent or guardian as proof of swimming ability. After the test it is
important to log the results of the swim test and the capsize drill as this is
vital information for all coaches when making risk assessments.
When outlining the session to participants, make sure that you indicate the
different depths of the swimming pool clearly and point out any important
safety information on the procedures with regard to diving in etc.
Start the swimming test at the shallow end, so that participants can lower
themselves gently into the pool.
The breast stroke kick on the back will be needed in the event of a capsize to
tow the boat using the hull as buoyancy. The use of a float can be beneficial
for practicing breaststroke kick on the back.
Coaching the Capsize and immersion drill (Practical)
The aim is to replicate a worst-case scenario - upside down, still attached to
an overturned boat but under safe, controllable, repeatable conditions. To
remind you of the steps involved there is a guide to coaching the capsize
drill in pictures.
1. Practicing capsizing the boat
The first step is to educate individuals in what it feels like if a boat
capsizes and they go under the water. Check that they can perform the drill
with confidence, and offer them a few opportunities to practice.
Hold the poolside rigger and gently ease the participant away from the side of
the pool. You can use assistants to hold the ends of the boat. Keeping hold of
the rigger allows you a high level of control, good eye contact and reassures
the less confident that they can be pulled back to the side easily. Ask which
way the participant wishes to capsize (left or right) and gently raise or
lowers the rigger accordingly.
Remind them to be careful that they do not bang their head on the riggers when
Check that they are happy and confident and ready to proceed before the
When capsizing with the sculls in
Coach the participant to slide the seat to be in line with the riggers and
push one scull forward. This ensures the spoon is close to the boat and does
not hit the bottom of the pool. The participant then holds the rigger mainstay
with the free hand, pushes the other scull forward and takes hold of the
Breaking the drill down into stages
You can coach the drill in three or four stages to allow participants to
successively increase their confidence. You should coach each participant to
progress at a rate that they are comfortable with, to help build their
confidence. Here are some suggested stages that the drill can be broken down
Stage 1: No Sculls, feet out of the shoes or clogs.
You as the coach, or an assistant holds the rigger from a position on the side
of the pool. The participant gets in and brings the seat level with the
rigger. The participant must then hold the rigger mainstays to hold themselves
in and to turn over completely with the boat.
Stage 2: No Sculls, feet in the shoes or clogs.
Follow the same procedure as in stage 1, but this time encourage the
participant to perform the drill with their feet in the shoes or clogs. This
reinforces the previous capsize and adds one level of difficulty. This is an
excellent opportunity to teach how loosely laces and velcro straps should be
Stage 3: Sculls in swivels, feet out
Once in the boat, the participants should be taught the safe position which
will allows the boat to be pushed to the middle of the pool under control.
Capsizing with the sculls in the swivels should be done at the deep end to
avoid the sculls getting caught on the bottom of the pool.
Stage 4: Sculls in swivels, feet in shoes or clogs
Coach the participant to capsize the boat with the sculls in the swivels and
their feet in the shoes or clogs.
Level 2 Certificate in Coaching Rowing
The participants should easily fall out of the boat when capsizing or when
One way to test an individual's confidence underwater is to get them to
demonstrate that they can hold themselves in the boat and tap on the bottom of
the upturned hull three times before surfacing. You would of course not bother
to do this in practice if a real capsize occurs, it is just to show that they
can remain calm underwater. As participants should fall out easily from the
boat, this may sometimes be difficult!
2. Practising what to do once immersed in the water.
In a session, you should encourage participants to practice at least some of
1. Righting the boat and towing the boat in the water
2. Pulling the body out of the water onto the upturned hull and paddling the
3. Pulling the body out of the water onto the deck of a righted boat and
4. Getting back into the boat from deep water
5. Performing the "Buddy" rescue