There have recently been two incidents where para-rowers have capsized when using boats with floats fitted to the ends of their riggers. In both cases the rowers had difficulty in releasing the straps that hold them into their seat.

Rowers should be aware that it is possible to capsize a boat with floats. Floats provide considerable initial stability when the boat is nearly upright but the stability decreases rapidly as the boat rolls to one side.  Once fully inverted the floats tend to keep the boat stable in that inverted position making rescue difficult.

Extra care is also needed because athletes with spinal cord injuries often also have reduced respiratory capacity, muscle atrophy, osteoporosis, difficulty regulating heart rate, blood pressure, sweating and body temperature and may have a sideways curvature of the spine. Ensure that the safety boat has at least two persons on board who are able to rescue the rower.

An outline Risk Management Plan is presented below, this should be customised to local conditions.

Risk Management Plan