Traffic Pattern

When in Doubt, Don’t Go Out! If you are unsure about the rowing conditions, your ability to safely launch, or that you have the proper gear, don’t put yourself and others at risk. Stay off the water until it is safe.


Emergency Numbers

  • Dial 911 for any emergency
  • *16 on cell phone to access coast guards/marine police directly.
  • St. Michael’s Hospital: 416-864-5094
  • Harbour Marine Police: 416-808-5800
  • Harbour Master: 416-462-1228
  • Boathouse phone: 416-466-5880


  • Centre Island Pier Beach (east of pier)
  • Cherry Beach
  • Outer Harbour Marina (475 Unwin Ave) low dock second last slip
  • Hanlan Boat Club (6 Regatta Rd. South off Unwin Ave.)


1. ANY person or parent/custodial of a rower, crew member, kayaker, or canoer under 18 years of age launching from the Hanlan Boat Club docks is ultimately responsible for his/her own safety or child/cared for child’s safety.

2. ANY person or parent/custodial of a rower, crew member, kayaker, or canoer under 18 years of age launching from the Hanlan Boat Club docks is ultimately responsible for:

  • Following, abiding and complying with the boating safety guidelines and codes set out by Transport Canada, Rowing Canada Aviron and Hanlan Boat Club.
  • Ensuring that they carry the appropriate safety gear in accordance with boating safety guidelines and codes set out by Transport Canada, Rowing Canada Aviron and the Hanlan Boat Club.
  • Ensuring that the water and weather conditions are safe for practice according to the boating safety guidelines and codes set out by Transport Canada, Rowing Canada Aviron and Hanlan Boat Club.

3. Failure to follow, abide and comply with the boating safety guidelines from Transport Canada, Rowing Canada Aviron and/or the Hanlan Boat Club Local Safety Code may result in suspension of dock access and/or complete revocation of membership and/or club access after two (2) written warnings.

Transport Canada – Safe Boating Guide:

Rowing Canada – Safety Guidelines:

Safety & Gear

Life Jacket 

4. Effective in 1999, Canadian Coast Guard Regulations require rowing shells to have life jackets aboard unless:

  • It is attended by a safety craft carrying an approved PFD or lifejacket of appropriate size for each member of the crew of the largest vessel being attended; or
  • If it is competing or training during a provincially, nationally, or internationally sanctioned regatta or competition.

5. This means you must have a life jacket in the rowing shell with you (one per person) or the coach boat beside you must carry them.

6. If the coach boat is more than 150m from the rowing shell during practice, the rowing shell must carry enough PFDs for all participants in the rowing shell.


7. At least one person per rowing shell must carry an easily accessible whistle.

Emergency Cell Phone or VHF Radio 

8. At least one person in a rowing shell must carry a cell phone or a portable waterproof VHF radio to be able to call for emergency or rescue service.

9. At least one member of the crew must be familiar with the emergency phone numbers to call in case of an emergency on the water.

10. It is recommended that at least one crewmember be familiar with the layout of the Toronto Outer Harbour (landmarks and names of places) to be able to direct rescue efforts to the exact proper location without hesitation.

11. It is also highly recommended that at least one crew member be familiar emergency landing areas and be able to direct the rescue, emergency service crews to a proper safe landing area. 

12. The cell phone can be made waterproof by using a specific waterproofing case or use of a zip lock bag with a piece of Styrofoam to ensure floatation.


13. When rowing in the dark, all bow persons or single scullers must wear reflective clothing or one of the 10 Hanlan safety vests located in the east boathouse just on the inside of the east door.

14. In daylight, it is recommended to wear bright clothing to make yourself more visible to others boaters.

Safety on the Dock

15. Prior to using the docks, the rowers must ensure that the docks have been swept clean of any fowl waste.

16. All gear and equipment must be removed from the docks as quickly as possible following a practice or row. Equipment left on the dock is a hazard to other crews.

17. All crews must dock and launch their boats within 90 seconds as other crews are waiting to dock or launch.  Oars should be ready prior to launch.

18. Crews docking have priority over crews launching. If a crew is heading into the dock, please allow it to dock before your crew walks out onto the dock with your boat.  In the case of novice crews, please be aware that they may have difficulty docking their boat and assist them when necessary.

19. Coach boats containing a safety bag (PFDs) and paddle must be ready to run before the crews leave the dock.  Do not leave the dock without confirming with your coach where on the water your crew will meet the coach to begin the practice.

Rowing Under Supervision

When should a safety/coach boat supervise you?

20. Under Cold Water rules, all rowing practices ARE ALWAYS supervised by at least one safety boat.

21. All Hanlan Boat Club Junior crews (under 18 years of age) practices ARE ALWAYS supervised by at least one safety boat.

How to proceed as a group of rowers

22. When more than one crew is being accompanied by a safety boat these crews must row in a flotilla followed by the safety boat. The lead boat must be no more than 150 metres ahead of the safety boat

Safety/Coach Boat Operation

23. For side-by-side coaching, it is recommended to have both a boat driver focused on the traffic ahead and a coach focused on the crew.

Rowing Before Sunrise Rules

24. ONLY Experienced competitive rowers and crews with explicit permission from the Club Captain may row in the morning before sunrise.

25. Rowing in the dark in the evening (past sunset) is forbidden.

26. Rowing in the dark is forbidden for all Hanlan Boat Club Junior (under 18 years of age) rowers.

27. Rowing in the dark is forbidden for all novice rowers and crews.

28. Rowing in the dark is forbidden for all non-competitive rowers and novice crews.

29. Boats must have a flashing white light fixed to the bow

30. Boats must have a flashing red light at the stern.

31. Rowers must insure they are highly visible, a reflective jacket or jacket with large reflective bands on the back MUST be worn.



32. Rowing in darkness represents a significantly higher risk and before asking for permission, you should consider the following carefully:

  • Prior to launching in the dark, you may not be able to properly assess the rowing conditions, such as waves and wind.
  • You may not see oncoming fast moving weather systems.
  • Due to the low visibility, you have a much higher risk of collision with floating debris, land, and other rowers.
  • You will not be easy to find and rescue if you capsize, get stranded or have an equipment failure.
  • You must be very familiar with the topology of the shorelines, the locations of the buoys, and the traffic pattern.

33. When alone in the coach/safety boat, keep behind the crew(s) to have full view of both the crew(s) and the traffic ahead.

34. Be aware:

  • Coach Boats are capable of only a limited number of occupants (aluminum boat 4 person MAX)
  • Aluminum boats are very difficult to handle in high winds or rough waters.
  • According to Coast Guard regulations, operators of coach boats or emergency launches must wear their lifejackets at all times. Failure to do so may result in a fine by the Harbour Patrol.
  • It is mandatory for all coach boat operators to have a valid Toronto Harbour Power Vessel Operator’s permit and Coast Guard license.

35. Coaches should carry a first aid kit and basic tool kit with them.

36. Operators can be charged and/or ticketed for careless operation for:

  • Operating a craft in a way that could adversely affect the safety of others, considering weather, visibility, amount of traffic, or number of other boats or people nearby, maneuverability, navigation conditions and hazzards.
  • Operating in a careless manner without due care and attention for the factors listed above and the safety of others.
  • Failing to fill portable fuel tanks only while ashore.

Cold Water Rules

37. In March, April, May, October, and November, cold water rules are in effect.

38. When water temperature is below 10C cold water rules are in effect.

39. When air temperature is below 5C cold water rules are in effect.

40. Under cold water rules:

  • All rowers must have a safety boat on the water within 150 meters (see rowing under the supervision of a coach/safety boat)
  • All club crews must sign Out and In, in the Log Book before leaving the club.
  • The last person to leave the club and lock up must make sure all crews are in.

41. During June, July, and August, single scullers should endeavor to row with a buddy. If rowing alone, they must follow the traffic pattern and row within 75 meters of the shore.

Rough Water Rules

42. In a racing shell: quad, four, coxed four, or eight, if waves break into the shell twice within 20 strokes, the water is too rough and the shortest and safest course back to the dock should be taken.

43. If you are unable to follow the traffic pattern due to rough water, you must return to the dock.

44. If white caps are visible, the water is too rough and no rowing is permitted.

High Wind & Weather Rules


45. There is NO rowing permitted if the sustain wind speed is 15 knots (30 km/h) or higher

46. There is NO rowing permitted if the wind is gusting over 20 knots (40 km/h)

47. There is NO rowing permitted if white caps are visible on the water.


48. Do not leave the dock if you can’t see beyond “Water Rat Point” (about 100 meters). If you are out on the water when the fog comes in, landmark yourself and immediately head for the nearest shore. Keep your eyes and ears open for other boats that might be lost on the water and pose a danger to you.

Electrical Storms, Heavy rain, Air Temperature Changes

49. No rowing permitted during thunderstorms, if you hear thunder while you are on the water you MUST immediately return to the dock.

50. Heavy rainfall can significantly reduce visibility, water can quickly accumulate in the shell, don’t leave the dock in heavy rain.

51. While on the water, be aware of sudden temperature changes, this is a precursor of very strong winds, if the temperature drops rapidly immediately return to the dock or seek shelter if the water is too rough to return to the dock.

Collision Prevention & Traffic Pattern

52. All rowers must strictly follow the traffic pattern.

53. If you are unable to follow the pattern because of rough water, you MUST return to the dock.

54. Being right (in the correct traffic path) does NOT make you safe, YOU MUST look behind you every 10 strokes to ensure no one has drifted in your path.

55. It is acceptable to use a mirror rear view mirror.

56. No power strokes or starts are permitted in Hanlan bay (area in front of Hanlan and the sailing club docks).

57. There is no WESTBOUND rowing permitted in front of the sailing club docks.

58. There is NO rowing allowed between the multi-hulls. However, under EXCEPTIONAL CONDITIONS coxed onlycrews may be allowed to proceed in a single file through the multi-hull when two coach boats guard this area and are posted at the east and west ends. When this is in effect NO OTHER CREWS shall loop around the multi-hulls area.

Emergency Procedures

Safe Emergency Landing Areas

59. The following areas have been identified as Safe Emergency Landing zone, and should be used during an emergency situation:

  • Centre Island Pier: Enter the beach area just east of the pier. There are public phones off the beach by the restroom. There is 24 hours/365 day emergency service available on the Toronto islands.
  • Cherry Beach: There are public phones by the bus stop. The beach is easy to locate and access by emergency service.
  • Outer Harbour Marina (475 Unwin Avenue): low dock between the second last and last slip.
  • Hanlan Boat Club (6 Regatta Road, south off Unwin Avenue) - phone in the UCC (East) Boathouse.

Emergency Phone Numbers

  • 911 is patched into Marine Police, *16 on cell phone
  • St. Michael’s Hospital: 416-864-5094
  • Harbour Marine Police: 416-808-5800
  • Harbour Master: 416-462-1228
  • Boathouse phone: 416-466-5880

Emergency Procedures

60. In all on-water situations, the coxie or stroke are responsible for directing the crew. In coxless boats, the bowperson shall direct the crew.

Swamping or Capsizing

61. In the event of swamping or capsizing:

  • Stroke shall take charge of crew.
  • Coxies shall sound whistle or horn. Crew shall wave to attract coach boat’s attention; coxie shall put on life vest.
  • Crew unties shoes and puts on extra clothes, especially hats.
  • Keep oars totally extended to add buoyancy arid stability.

62. To reduce hypothermia due to contact with cold water and air, crew should “compress” as far as possible, keeping legs together and arms against chest, while stabalizing the shell with their oars. Rowers should stay as still as possible to minimize heat loss. Remain calm.

63. Stay inside or with the boat; never try to swim to shore or away from the shell.

64. Put on the life vests when received from the coach boat.

65. Off-load quietly and carefully into the coach boat when instructed to do so by the coach.

66. In the event of a capsize, each rower should climb up onto the shell, thus removing as much of his/her body from the water as possible (one person on each side of the shell, with arms joined over the hull).

67. Do not leave the shell until instructed to enter the coach boat. Then, proceed calmly and carefully to avoid capsizing or swamping the coach boat.

68. If the shell swamps, stay calm. Half of the athletes should bail while the other rowers row slowly back to the club.

Rower Overboard

69. If a rower goes overboard, such as when an athlete catches a crab:

70. Let the boat run and hold water.

71. Stroke should remove his/her oar and direct it in the direction of the overboard rower.

72. The crew should then back the boat up to the rower and hlep him/her back into the boat.

73. If a coach boat is near, let the coach rescue the overboard rower.

Rower Unconscious

74. If a rower has lost consciousness, support him/her in the water until a coach boat arrives or help him/her to the bank as quickly as possible if no coach boat is near. If necessary, resuscitation should be applied immediately, even if the rower is still in the water. As soon as you are on shore, call 911 if needed.


75. Hypothermia is the lowering of the body temperature to below 35degrees Celcius, or 95 degrees Farenheit. In water temperatures between 1 and 5 degrees Celcius, exhuastion or unconsciousness sets in in 5 to 30 minutes. Death can occur in less than 1 hour. Symptoms of hypothermia are: blue lips, shivering, loss of muscular co-ordination, decreased consciousness, fatigue, confusion, and shock. Once ashore, athletes can find clothes and blankets in the trailer. Put on dry clothes and administer first aid. The first aid kit is located in the trailer. Water, a kettle, and “Quick” are also in the trailer to make hot chocolate.


76. If an injury occurs when rowing, as a result of a collision or other misadventure, ensure the comfort and safety of the individualas best possible, while minimizing further aggravation of the injury. If possible, transfer the injured person to the coach boat or return to the dock.

77. The first priority is the safety of all athletes. Please make sure all athletes are safe before rescuing the equipment.

78. When back on shore, call 911, if needed, or rush individual to the nearest hospital (St. Michael’s Hospital 416-864-5094). Call ahead and warn them that an injured/hypothermic rower is on the way.

79. Report all damage and injuries to the Head Coach and/or Club Captain.

Water Pollution:

80. The water on which we row is polluted. If your boat capsizes, try to keep mouth shut to avoid swallowing water. Cuts and blisters should be treated for possible infection after each row.