Possunt qui posse videntur

Dear <<First Name>>, 

Thankfully active rowers don't need to wear lifejackets but those who are coxing or are in launches do.  Unless you are coxing a 'front-loader' (we don't have any of these, but they are popular with schools) you should have a lifejacket that auto-inflates upon contact with water. Don't wear these in a front-loader as there's a danger of getting stuck.

We have three types of lifejacket - like those shown below - two that self-inflate and some 'life preservers' which are really buoyancy aids. What's the difference I hear you cry with barely masked enthusiasm... I'm coming to that...

DB60 Buoyancy Aid

A lifejacket is designed to turn an unconscious body over and keep it facing upwards. The inflated bladder will support the body and head. A buoyancy aid has much lower requirements for, er, buoyancy, and is suitable if some one is constantly in-and-out of the water such as water-skiing.

Please note that the red lifejackets are designed for juniors with a weight limit of some 50kg. The blue ones are for adults. It's to do with the way they deploy and support.

When putting on a lifejacket make sure it's tight around your body. If it has a crotch strap then use it; it's not there for decoration! Whilst we're not likely to have to use one in anger it mustn't be able to slip over the top of your head.

Launch drivers MUST also attach the kill cord to something around their body. Remember to use something that means you won't kill the engine if you get up in a hurry. And if you are involved in a rescue face upstream and MAKE SURE the engine is in NEUTRAL before you attempt to haul anyone aboard. I usually check and double-check then tell the sculler 'engine in neutral'. Can't be too careful! 

And please be gentle when engaging gears on the launches, particularly when going from 'forward' to 'reverse'. Pause at 'neutral' before expensively crashing the gearbox! You wouldn't do it in you car...

Stay safe folks,

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