Section 1 - Safety Rules

Running an organization with people from all kinds of backgrounds working in , on, and near the river requires procedures and policies which are extensive yet flexible.  These rules are 'live' in that they change as the club encounters new issues or changes in the environment.  Please select from the Table of Contents to the right.

1.1 Parking Lot and Driveways

    a. Pay attention to signs in parking lot.  Do NOT park on the grass.  Park cars close together, as there is limited parking space.

    b. When entering or exiting the parking lot at the Northumberland Boat Club drive between the Boat Club and the river on the paved portion.  Do NOT exceed 5 mph.  There can be pedestrian traffic throughout that area.

1.2 Dock usage

    a. All rowers must pay for dock usage.  (See annual fee schedules)

    b. First rowers on dock daily shall clean any bird droppings off dock.

    c. Boats shall not be left unattended on dock.

    d. When other crews are waiting for dock space, tie in and adjust foot stretchers on the water.

1.3 Traffic Patterns

    a. We row in a clockwise pattern on Lake Augusta.  Rowers always row with their “right side” toward the shore.  Coxswains remember to keep your “left side” to shore.

    b. Observe the 1/3 rule when rowing.  Divide the river into thirds, with the water intake marking the edge of the upstream 1/3.  The upstream 1/3 of the river is to be used for rowing upstream along the Route 11/roadside. The middle 1/3 of the river is toward the Sunbury side of the intake.  When returning to the boathouse, always stay in the middle 1/3 of the river (at least 30-40 meters from the Sunbury shoreline). The final 1/3 is along the bank on the Sunbury side of the river. 

    c. Vessels with the least maneuverability have right of way, but should be cautious and take action to avoid all other types of boats. 

    d. Non-powered boats have right of way over powered boats.  REMEMBER:  Pedestrians also have the right of way in a crosswalk, but it is no contest with a bus.  You could end up dead right!  Always give way or yield.

    e. Boats without coxswains have right of way over boats with coxswains.

    f. Launch and land with bow upstream.

    g. After launching, row upstream on the boathouse and road side of the river. Always go outside (Sunbury side) of the Northumberland Boat Club “No Wake” zone.  Then remain west (port side) of intake.

    h. Pass under Northumberland Bridge using first through third arches on the west side.  The deepest and safest arch is the third arch, which has red and green navigation lights located on the bridge.

    i. Return on east (Sunbury) side of intake, passing under Northumberland Bridge using fourth or fifth arches (the deepest).  When the dam is inflated the water depth is not an issue, take care when going under the bridge!

    j. Take special care to avoid intake and any other buoys marking hazards.

1.4 Weather and Water Conditions

    a. Prior to rowing all rowers must make sure weather and water conditions are safe to row, to include but are not limited to the following conditions:

        1.Water level must be above 8 feet and below 16 feet as measured at the Sunbury gauge (go to Sunbury gauge webpage).

        2.River current must be less than 60,000 cfs as measured at the Sunbury gauge (go to Sunbury gauge webpage)

        Exception:  At a coach’s discretion and with a coach on the water, boats (especially bigger boats) may be out if the current is between 60,000 and 90,000 cfs.

        3. Fog/ Visibility – Rowers must be able to see the opposite (Sunbury) river bank.  If fog sets in while on the water, immediately return to the dock. Move slowly toward the dock  and be prepared to  stop quickly.  Use your sound-making device  (horn, whistle) to advise other boats of your location (1 long blast, followed by 2 short blasts).

        4. Thunderstorms – stay off the water if lightning is sighted or thunder is heard and for 30 minutes thereafter.

        5. Whitecaps - Do not row in whitecaps. If boats are already on the water when the water becomes whitecapped, return to the dock immediately.

    b. Be very observant if the south wind is blowing because the water can kick up and increase the danger of the water conditions very quickly. This is due to the wind blowing in the opposite direction of the water current.

    c. A coach on the water has discretion during coached rowing to make decisions about the above water and weather conditions.

    d. Board members have the duty, responsibility, and authority to override the coaches’ decisions/discretion 

WATER CONDITIONS at Shikellamy State Park - The entry road to the park closes (floods) when the river reaches 16 ft. The boathouse itself shouldn't flood until until the river reaches 25-26 ft. 

1.5 Hazards

    a. No Wake buoys at marina

    b. Rock outcropping just north of moorage

    c. Water intake

    d. Remnants of the Pennsylvania Canal between the water intake and the bridge

    e. Shoreline extending out into the river below the bridge

    f. Shoreline is not straight, so be aware of shallow areas on the west side

    g. When the dam is up there is sufficient depth to row all the way to the power lines.  The rowing pattern remains the same.

    h. When rowing above the bridge stay toward the west side of the river, but be aware of large branches and downed trees that stick out from the bank.  Stay at least 25 meters from the shore.

    i. When rowing downstream below the bridge stay off the Sunbury side at least 30-40 meters.  There are numerous rocks, shallow spots, deadheads, and sunken hazards.

    j. When returning to the dock, be aware there is a large delta just south of the CPRA building that extends out into the river.  When the dam is inflated it is not a problem, but when the dam is down or the water is low, stay at least 60-70 meters from the west shore.

    k. North branch has rock outcropping on upstream end of island

Table of Contents

Section 1 – Safety Rules

1.1 – Parking Lot and Driveways

1.2 - Dock Usage

 1.3 – Traffic Patterns

 1.4 - Weather and Water Conditions

 1.5 - Lake Augusta Hazards

Section 2 – Safe Practices

2.1– General Rowing Rules

 2.2 - Clothing

 2.3 - Commands

 2.4 – Boathouse Behavior

 2.5 - Emergencies

 2.6 – Additional Safety Guidelines

Section 3 – Equipment

3.1 – Use of CPRA Equipment

 3.2 – Rowers’ Responsibility

 3.3 – Additional Rules

Section 4 – Launch

4.1 – Use of Launches

4.2 – Equipment in Launches

Section 5 – Guest Rower Policies

  5.1 – Guest Rower Policy

Section 6 - Required Clearances


Bow Certification Form

Bow Certification Process

Equipment Damage Report Form

Rowing classifications guidelines

Swim test certification

Permission to use photos