While OAR’s mission is to promote the sport of rowing while having fun, enjoying our surroundings, and getting a good workout, we also keep SAFETY as a primary concern. DEXTER LAKE is located in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.  It is subject to low air temperatures, rain, occasional snow and ice, fog, and wind in the cold weather months.  In warm weather months, the water stays cold until well into the summer,  the afternoons are typically windy, and there are the additional hazards of motorized pleasure boats as well as kayaks, canoes, stand up paddle boards, etc.  The water level in the lake is controlled by both upstream and downstream dams operated by the Army Corps of Engineers.  Water levels can fluctuate dramatically resulting in changing currents, and debris being freed from the shore and floating onto the lake.

All OAR members are expected to be familiar with and competent in the safety and self rescue skills outlined in the following videos:

US Rowing safety video:

Cold Water Boot Camp:

Getting into/on top of a flipped single:

Getting into a flipped double (start at time 5:20):


– Dress appropriately w/ layers (& no heat draining cotton) as well as bring a change of clothes for when you get off the water.
– Days are short: be prepared for dark mornings and evenings.  Use lights on your boats if launching or returning to dock in dim light.
– Check weather at the Accuweather site for Lowell.  Be prepared for sudden changes in rowing conditions—this is a mountain lake and conditions can/will change rapidly.
– Practices may be cancelled due to wind, fog, ice, and temperatures below 30 degrees.  Members should stay alert to upcoming possible bad weather.
– If the Coach needs to cancel practice due to weather conditions, it will be noted on the spreadsheet.  Check before you head out to the lake.  If there is a last minute cancellation, where possible text notices will be sent.
If rowing without a Coach, be prepared for self-rescue if you flip into the water. You have less than 10 minutes before hypothermia and/or drowning become a danger as water and/or air temps go below 4o degrees.  ALWAYS ROW WITH A BUDDY AND CARRY A CELL PHONE IN A WATERPROOF CASE WHEN ROWING UNCOACHED.  AN INFLATABLE LIFEJACKET IS YOUR BEST LINE OF DEFENSE.
Emergency Supplies are kept in a labeled box under the counter in the boathouse for anyone in cold distress (fleece, hats, mittens, pot to heat water, tea, emergency blanket).  If you use any of these, let the Safety Committee know so we can re-supply.