Guidance for coached and coach-less Crews
1. No stream to worry about on the lake, but the major hazard is the wind: the lake follows a NW to SE direction from Start to Finish, and there is excellent weather information available on the Met Office or BBC Weather apps. The wind usually blows across the lake from SW or NE. It can blow inexperienced crews on to the bank, or out of their lanes. Crews can also get into difficulties in the corners at the Start. Steersmen and coxes must be alert, and know where the wind is coming from.
2. Congestion is the other major hazard with so many crews afloat for head races and at weekends when the river is on red boards. You must be familiar with the circulation pattern (map posted on the side of the boathouse), use the correct pontoons (outbound pontoons closest to the Return Lake, inbound pontoons closest to the Car Park), and show consideration to other crews.
3. Other crews may not be as considerate, and can get in the way. They will not always alert you to their presence. There is a limit to how many crews a coach can look out for, and a parent on a bike can provide a coach with an extra pair of eyes. The smaller the number of crews to supervise the better on a crowded lake, and it is wise to plan training to keep them close together. Keeping your crews (and others) safe always comes first - before coaching.
4. Dorney Lake is fed from a spring, and is 2-30C colder than the river. In the event of capsize, crews must get out of this water fast - safest to swim to the nearest bank using the boat as a float, and walk out the lake, but remember the wind direction.
Leaving your boat and running back to the boathouse may be the quickest way to get back in the warm. There are hot showers in the changing rooms (up the stairs by reception), and crews should always bring a towel and change of kit because there are many ways that they can get soaked to the skin. Scullers in particular must know what to do in the event of a capsize before they boat.
5. Coaches are expected to carry a throw-bag. You should learn how to use one, and practice regularly. Even if you think that you are pretty useless, there may be someone to help you who can do better.
There is a big yellow rescue boat, but it can take some time to get to a capsize so it is best to find quicker ways to get out of cold water. Do not wait for the rescue boat. It may at least give you a lift back to the boathouse.
6. You are training away from home so re-familiarise yourself regularly with all the relevant RowSafe's guidance on Rowing on Unfamiliar Waters (1.6), Weather & Environment (1.7), and Immersion in Cold Water (1.8).
7. In case of emergencies, make sure that you always have the following numbers saved in your mobile phone:
Dorney Lake reception 01753 832756
Dorney Lake rescue boat 07961 994442
Wexham Hospital A&E 01753 634018
Issue v1.0 14-Feb-2014