Boat Usage Policy


The Boat Usage Policy provides guidelines and direction to HBC coaches and members on boat use and maintenance.

Boat Assignment & Usage Guidelines

In order to row a HBC boat you must:

  1. Be a HBC member in good standing.
  2.  Have received instruction in care and use of equipment.
  3. Have been assigned the boat by the Club Manager, the Club Captain, or the appropriate Program Coach.

The following guideline will be used in determining which equipment is appropriate for crews and members:

  1. Size and weight of individuals: Rowing shells are built to support specific weights.  Using Equipment designed for a lighter crew many cause serious damage to the boat.
  2. Rowing experience and competence: The equipment should be matched to the crew’s rowing ability.
  3. Commitment to training and racing: Crews training and racing for HBC will be given priority at peak training times.
  • Competitive Elite Athletes: Have demonstrated superior rowing and bowing skills. Are committed to training and racing for the HBC for the season at major regattas.
  • Club Competitive: Crews training and racing for the HBC. Boat assignment will be based on rowing ability.
  • Recreational: Crews rowing for fun and fitness. Boat assignment will be based on rowing ability.
  • Learn to Row Participants: Includes participants of all Learn to Row type programs including but not limited to Learn to Row and Youth Rowing Camps.  The Rowing Instructor or Program Coordinator will assign boats to participants. 

Boat assignments are at the discretion of the HBC coaches and program coordinators. Members who use boats not assigned to them or without the appropriate permission will be sanctioned up to and including suspension or termination of membership and privileges with HBC.


Once cold water rules are lifted, all crews heading out without a coach boat must ensure:

The coach has approved them to row solo and has approved the equipment they would like to use. 

They sign in and out of the logbook, which is located in each boathouse.

They have a PFD and whistle in their shell.

Equipment Handling Guidelines

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 large boat (4+s or 8+s). 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 board 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, let her run, back off and try again. Always try to have someone catch you at the dock.

10. Shells are to be given routine preventive maintenance at least weekly by the crews assigned to row the boat.

11. When transporting shells to regatta remove 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.  If you do not know how to properly secure the boat, ask for help!

12. Do not place shells on the ground. Shells should be placed on stretchers so they are properly supported. Always walk round a supported shell, never step over a shell.

14. RIGGING IS NOT TO BE CHANGED WITHOUT THE CLUB MANAGER’S APPROVAL. Please contact the Club Manager or the Club Captain directly if you need information about the rigging process or to discuss specific boats.


Handling oars

1. All oars are marked 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 the Club Manager’s or Club Captain’s approval. 

3. Carry oars with blades forward and only carry one or two oars at a time.

4. If an oar is damaged, report it immediately to the Club Manager or the Club Captain.

5. Club sculling oars must be stored at the back of the Havergal Boat House in the designated area. 


Coxie Duties and Commands

As the coxie, you are in control of the boat both on and off the water.  You are responsible for your own safety and the safety of your crew.  All members of the crew are required to listen to you and expect that you will provide them with the necessary instructions and commands to handle the boat safely both on and off the water. 

To make life easier for your crew, commands should be given clearly and loudly so that all members of the crew understand what is being asked of them.

In order to give the rowers an opportunity to understand and follow your commends, each time that a command is given it should be repeated as follows:

State the Command (i.e., all hands on the boat ready to lift)

State “Ready”  (gives the rowers a chance to prepare to execute your command all together)

State the last part of the Command (i.e.,  lift)

This way the rowers can execute your commands all together.  One rower cannot lift a boat.  Only all members of the crew lifting together can safely lift a boat.


Coxie Calls (ie. How to get the boat out of the boathouse!)

Boats are stored in the boathouse with their bows facing the water.  This means that a boat can be walked directly out of the boathouse and onto the docks for launching.  When the boats are coming off the water, the crews must spin the boats so that the stern of the boat heads into the boathouse first.

To take a boat out of the boathouse, have the crew stand next to the boat at their assigned seat.  The shells are resting on their gunwales on the rack.  The crews will lift the boats off the racks and side step them away from the racks.  The crew will then split so that each rower is standing on the opposite side of the boat as their rigger.  The boat is then carried on each rowers shoulders out of the boathouse.  It is important that the boats are carried by each rower on their shoulder.  This evenly distributes the weight of the boat amongst the rowers and puts the least amount of stress on the hull of the boat as it is being carried.  The boats are heavy, but when each rower takes their weight a 200+ pound boat can easily be carried by the rowers down to the dock.  If any rowers in your crew are not carrying their weight, please remind them to carry the boat on their shoulders.


Coxie calls for taking the boat out of the boathouse:

Hands on the boat ready to lift … ready … lift

Side step the boat away from the racks … ready … step

Lift the boat up to your shoulders … ready … lift

Walk the boat forward (out of the boathouse) … ready … walk

Walk the boat onto the dock … ready … walk

When the boat is clearly on the dock with room at both ends to put the boat into the water “let it run”

Toes to the edge of the dock

Ready to lift over heads … ready … lift

Roll to the waist … ready … roll

Set the boat in the water, away from the dock … ready … launch


To take the Boat out of the water and back into the boathouse:

Hands on the boat ready to lift to the waist … ready … lift

Press the boat over your heads … ready … press

Split opposite your rigger … ready … split

Walk the boat up the dock … ready … walk

When the boat is off the dock it needs to be spun so that the stern goes into the boathouse first.  The boats are always spun to the right.

Spin the bow to the right back towards the water … ready … spin

When the boat has spun 180 degrees, “let it run”

Walk the boat into the boathouse … ready … walk

Let it run when the boat is next to its rack

Ready to lift the boat onto the rack … ready … lift

Set the boat on the gunwales … ready … set


Boat Repairs and Maintenance

The responsibility of boat care and maintenance falls to those crews that row the boat. It is important that your crew take the time to fully review the boat each outing to ensure that all bolts are tightened, all equipment is safe, and general repairs are made in a timely manner. All repairs should be done on the shore, not at the dock.

Replace missing or worn parts if the part is available. If not, do not row the boat as further damage is a possibility, and DO NOT strip parts from another shell.

It is your responsibility to notify the Head Coach and/or the Club Captain of damage and/or missing parts on the boat and to follow-up to make sure the problem is resolved. Crews are encouraged to participate in all maintenance and repair. 

Please ensure that your boat is wiped off with a towel after each row and washed on a regular basis.

All rowing shells must be returned to the appropriate rack, facing the right direction and stored in a safe, secure manner.

Remember that a damaged boat does not only affect your crew, but also those other members who use the equipment.

Accidents happen but negligence will not be tolerated.


Damage to Equipment Policy

In the event of damage being caused to Club equipment it must be immediately reported to the Club Captain or Club Manager and an Incident Report completed.[1]  Club equipment in this context includes any items that are owned, borrowed, or leased by the Club.

Repairs to the equipment will be estimated and paid for by the Club.  However, the individual crewmembers, including coxies, who were using the equipment when the damage was sustained, will be asked for an equal contribution of up to $250 each to cover the cost of the repairs. Any additional balance will be paid for out of Club funds and/or an insurance claim will be made. In a multi-boat collision all crewmembers and coxies involved will be assessed equally regardless of the damage to each individual shell.

The Club members so assessed will be allowed a period of twenty-one (21) days to make their payment to the Club. Should any payment not be received by then, water privileges will be revoked for that member(s) until payment is received.  


Private Equipment

Many Hanlan members own their own shells and oars.  They spend a lot of money purchasing and maintaining their private equipment.  This includes paying to use specific racks to store their equipment on.

Please do not use, move or touch any shell or set of oars that are private equipment.  If you are not sure whether any shell or set of oars are HBC equipment or private equipment, then do not use the equipment.

Any members caught using private equipment may be sanctioned by the Head Coach or Club Captain.