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The following rules and regulations apply to all members of the FOX VALLEY ROWING CLUB, INC. (“FVRC”), “Learn to Row” class participants and those who row out of the FVRC boathouse.




  • Membership. Only dues paying FVRC members and persons enrolled in FVRC- sponsored “Learn to Row” classes will be allowed to row or cox in FVRC shells. Paid members of other rowing clubs can row or cox as guests on a limited basis. Each FVRC member must have a current, signed USRA waiver on file (signed by a parent if the member is under 18) and be able to swim.


  • Boat Storage. The FVRC offers boat storage for privately owned rowing shells (not canoes, kayaks or other types of boats) on a limited basis. Storage fee of $150 per calendar year (or portion thereof) applies. Anyone wanting to store a rowing shell in the FVRC boathouse is required to join the FVRC, pay membership dues and have a current waiver on file.  BOAT STORAGE IS AT THE OWNER'S RISK.

  • Safety First. Do not take chances, and do not overlook problems that put you or others at risk.


  • Log Book. There is a log book in the boathouse, with a divider for each shell rowed by the FVRC. All damage and repairs to shells should be noted in the log book. Additionally, all rigging adjustments should be noted in the log book.


  • Communicate. Questions, worries, problems should be reported immediately to others in the FVRC. With shells being regularly rowed by several different crews, it is especially important to inform others of any problems with any of the shells. With lots of shells going into and out of the house and on and off of the dock, be sure that other rowers, coxswains and coaches know what you are doing at all times.


  • Heads Up in the Boathouse. This is common sense and always necessary. If you are at the boathouse and other crews or rowers are moving shells in and out, your best bet is to stay outside until it is your shell’s turn to enter or exit. Always know where your shell’s bow, stern and riggers are.


  • Report any Damage to Equipment Immediately. Accidents happen, and almost anything can be fixed. This includes broken skegs, bent riggers, dents or holes in shells, broken footstretchers, etc... If a shell is damaged, please inform others and note the damage in the log book in the boathouse, so that the damage is not made worse and the shell is repaired as soon as possible. Reporting damage promptly also aids in the maintenance of an appropriate supply of spare parts.   Do not row a damaged shell, and do not attempt repairs without asking someone how to fix a particular problem. Do not assume that someone else has reported the problem.


  • Rigging. Please note all rigging adjustments in the log book in the boathouse. There is a school of thought that the less people that know how to adjust rigging, the better. While we don’t necessarily think that this is the case, neither do we want rigging being adjusted on a daily basis. Everyone should know how to put riggers on and take them off, but adjustments to height, pitch, spread, and other measurements should be done only after you have permission and a clear idea of the correct way to make adjustments.

  • Junior/Novice Supervision. Each juniors practice and practice for novice (one year or less experience) rowers of any age shall have, at a minimum, one person directly supervising. The supervising individual shall be an experienced oarsman (at least two (2) years experience), be at least 19 years old and be either in a launch or in the shell.


  • Boathouse. All boathouse doors are to be locked at all times when crews are on the water and when the last person leaves the boathouse.


  • Clean up. Please keep the boathouse neat. Do not store personal items (bikes, etc…) in the boathouse. Boats should be thoroughly rinsed and/or wiped down following each row. To avoid transmitting infections, etc… oar handles should be thoroughly wiped down after use, preferably with Clorox wipes (or equivalent).




  • Don’t try to move a shell without having a full crew to do it. An eight should not be moved with fewer than eight people plus a coxswain. VERY IMPORTANT: Listen to the coxswain and do not move the boat without a coxswain’s command.


  • Lift, don’t slide a boat off of the rack on its gunwales.


  • Don’t step, lean, or pass heavy objects over a shell, whether it is on a rack or on blocks on the ground. Always walk around, never step over a shell.


  • Always be aware of where your bow and stern are, especially if you turning a shell on the way in or out of the boathouse. The eights are approximately 60 feet long, and turning them between the boathouse and the dock is tricky.


  • Always check for bicycles and other vehicles on the road to the boathouse before exiting the boathouse with a shell. Kids on bikes or rollerblades come tearing down the hill regularly, and nobody wants to have a kid on a bike hit a shell as it comes out of the house.


  • Always make sure that a shell, when placed on a rack, is not resting on one of its riggers.




  • Listen to the Coxswain. Unless a coxswain’s command will place either the crew or the shell in immediate danger, always obey your coxswain immediately. Your coxswain is in charge of the crew at all times.   He or she is the only person who can easily tell what is in front of the shell, and in all cases, the crew should immediately respond to the coxswain’s calls. If a coxswain’s command will place the crew or shell in immediate danger, however, the rowers have the responsibility to stop the shell.


  • Water Temperature. Until the water temperature is above 50 degrees, do not row without either a launch or at least one experienced person in the shell (experienced being two or more years on the river).   Cold water is a killer since hypothermia can render you unable to think, let along swim, within a minute. Having an experienced person along is also important in the spring, because the river is very different when the water is high and running fast because of snow melt. If you have only rowed the river in August, you will be amazed at the current in April.


  • Row on the right hand side of the river. Treat the river like a street or highway – other rowers expect that you will be on the right hand side.


  • Yield to smaller shells. Coxswains, realize that singles and doubles cannot see you as well as you can see them. Even if you are on the right side of the river or otherwise have the “right of way,” keep your distance from smaller shells and give them a wide berth.


  • Do not stop immediately upstream of the 441 bridge. When there is a lot of current, you can drift into the bridge before you can start rowing.


  • Bottom of the Course. During the spring or at other times when there is significant current, stop well upstream of the dam in Kimberly. There is a set of overhead transmission lines that marks the end of the course. Boats without at least one experienced rower (more than two years) should generally turn immediately after going under the 441 bridge.


  • “Straight” Shells. Only row a “straight” four (a four without a cox) with an experienced (three years or more) rower in the bow. The bow seat will have to call the turns and otherwise steer the shell, as well as get you back to the dock.   NEVER take out an eight without a coxswain.


  • Be courteous on the dock. Do not cut in front of another shell, do not obstruct others and do not litter the dock with shoes or other items. Launch and land quickly and safely, so as to free up the dock for other shells that may be waiting to launch and/or land. The dock is not a good place for discussion. In heavy traffic, get in and launch and wait to tie in and adjust footstretchers until you are on the water away from the dock.


  • Heads in the boat! Pay attention to your coxswain and concentrate on your rowing. Do not worry about sightseeing or watching other shells, and keep quiet unless your coxswain or some emergency requires you to speak. If there is an emergency, immediately yell “Weigh Enough! Check it Down!” loud enough to stop the shell. These rules hold even for those not rowing. Only an alert, focused crew can row well and safely. Socialize when off of the water.


  • Rowing before sunrise and after sunset. When rowing early mornings or late evenings, make sure to have at least one LED light on the bow of the boat in the bow marker holder. Additionally, any launches following boats at this time must have USCG approved lighting. Failure to comply could result in a ticket by the DNR or other local authorities. Any infraction is the responsibility of the driver. Motor launches are equipped with proper equipment.


  • A coach or coxswain has the authority to judge the current situation of the river and call off a practice if he or she judges it to be unsafe for any reason. Rules below regarding current and weather as well as other circumstances will be taken into consideration when making this call. This person has final authority.




  • Each launch shall be equipped with a number of personal flotation devices equal to the number of rowers being coached, plus a personal flotation device (PFD) for each person in the launch. Launches shall comply at all times with all applicable requirements for navigation lights and safety equipment, and must follow all applicable traffic rules (i.e., motor launches always yield to boats propelled by sail or muscle power). Please do not remove safety equipment from the launch. If something needs to be replaced or repaired, please note in log book or email a board member. Please refrain from using PFDs as seat cushions.




  • Report all snags, deadheads and other obstructions by leaving a note on the board in the boathouse. Be aware of the large rock pile in the north bank of the river opposite Sunset Park in Kimberly.




  • Rowing is prohibited when the flow measured at the USGS gauge in Lutz Park exceeds 14,000 cubic feet per second.   Novices are cautioned not to row when flow exceeds 10,000 cubic feet per second.  Real time USGS data for this gauge is available here.




  • All rowing will be canceled if lightning is seen or thunder is heard. Remain off the water for a full 30 minutes after thunder/lightning is observed. If any one person in the boat wants to go back to the dock due to inclement weather, return immediately. If the boat is on the water when a storm hits, seek a safe location to wait out the storm.


  • No boats will be allowed to launch if visibility is less than 500 yards. If you cannot see the wastewater treatment plant from the dock, don’t launch.


  • Do not launch with whitecaps on the river. While the river is relatively protected, a wind out of the northeast, east or southeast will create significant waves. Don’t be fooled by conditions immediately off of the dock – the worst stretch of river in a strong easterly wind is immediately downstream of the wastewater treatment plant. In general, winds greater than 10mph from any easterly direction will form whitecaps or rollers on a portion of the course.



  • Riggers need to be removed from the shells. All rigger nuts and bolts should be back on the shell and tightened up prior to loading.


  • Seats should be removed from the shell or, in the case of the Vespolis, fastened to the deck with bungee cords (The Vespolis have small holes in the tracks for attaching bungee cords). If you don’t know how to take a seat out of a shell, ask someone who does.


  • Speakers should be checked to make sure that they are connected tightly to the shell. If they are not bolted to the shell, remove and transport them separately.


  • Double check that all nuts and bolts are tightly attached to the shell before it is loaded onto the trailer.

  • Shells should be strapped down securely to the trailer. Again, if you have any questions about how to strap a shell to the trailer, ask. Always make sure that the buckle on the strap is not touching the shell.


  • Always remember to load slings, blocks, toolboxes, coxboxes, etc... on the trailer to make sure that they make it to the regatta (and back!).


  • Hang a red flag on any shell sticking more than 4 feet off of the back of the trailer.


  • Always unload shells in the same manner as they are removed from the boathouse - use a sufficient number of people to move the shell and always know in advance where you are taking it, whether to slings, blocks, or to the water.


  • When you are competing at a regatta, assisting with de-rigging and loading is part of the deal. Rowers who are competing are expected to assist with de-rigging and loading, as well as unloading and re-rigging shells upon their return. The regatta is over when your shell is back in the boathouse and ready to be rowed the next morning.




  • 33 CFR Chapter 1, Part 175 contains the requirements for personal flotation devices on waters which are subject to Coast Guard jurisdiction. This includes the Lower Fox River from Green Bay to the mouth of the Wolf River. It states that racing shells, rowing sculls, racing canoes and racing kayaks are specifically exempted from the requirements for carriage of any personal flotation device otherwise required by law. On waters subject to Coast Guard jurisdiction, the federal rule preempts contrary state law, except with respect to children under 13 years of age, who are required to wear personal flotation devices at all times. The DNR has a similar PFD rule.   Copies of the state and federal rules and language exempting rowing shells are on the boathouse bulletin board.




All Wisconsin boating regulations governing the registration and titling of motor launches, navigation lights, traffic rules, speed restrictions and the like are incorporated into these rules by reference. Wisconsin boating regulations are available here.  

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