SCRC Safety Information (March 2024)

Safety Flags – Water Levels

  • SCRC posts safety flags at the site and on SCRC website to identify some rowing conditions.
    • The website “flag” is changed automatically based on data retrieved from NOAA/USGS sites and cannot take into account conditions that are not related to water level and temperature.
    • Conditions observed at the river (e.g., debris) may necessitate a more restrictive flag being posted at the site.
    • The higher severity flag has precedence. Members shall adhere to the higher severity flag.
  • No member may remove or downgrade a flag without authorization from a board member.  Any member may “upgrade” the site flag from no flag to yellow or from yellow to red if they believe there is potential danger to other rowers or equipment. The member must immediately notify the SCRC Board (email [email protected]).
  • The flags indicate the following conditions and rowing limitations.
    Red Flag
    • dangerous conditions. No member may row. For example: water level 4’ or over, water temperature below 45 degrees. 
    Yellow Flag
    • caution water conditions. Novice boats not permitted to row. For example, water level is between 3’ and 4’.
    Blue Flag
    • cold water. Water temperature is less than 60 degrees. Novice Master boats and all Youth boats must adhere to the Four-Oar Rule.
      • (Per USRowing guidelines) When air temperature is below 40 degrees and/or water temperature is below 50 degrees, keep a launch within 100 yards of all shells
    Brown Flag low water. Water level is below 0.5’. Use caution near shoals and through bridge arches.
    Fish Flag shad netting occurring near Lewis Island, which typically occurs in April and May. Give leeway to shad boat and net.

Four-Oars Rule

  • If the water temperature is at least 45° AND the combined water temperature and air temperature does not total 90, the rowers must row a boat that has at least four oars (i.e., 8+,4+, 4-, 2x).
    • Example 1: if the water temp is 45 and the air temp is 40, the total is 85; therefore Four-Oar Rule is in effect.
    • Example 2: if the water temp is 45 and the air temp is 55, the total is 100 and the Four-Oar Rule is not in effect.

New Jersey Cold Weather PFD Rules

Rowing Restrictions and Requirements

  1. Members shall use good sense when determining if they should launch; weather (wind, fog) and water conditions (debris, white caps) change very quickly and cannot be automatically indicated on the Safety Flag. If in doubt, err on the side of caution and do not row.
  2. No rowing if the river height equals or is greater than 4’, as measured per the NOAA site for Delaware River at New Hope/Lambertville Bridge.
  3. No rowing if the river temperature is equal to or less than 45 degrees. When air temperature is below 40 degrees and/or water temperature is below 50 degrees, keep a launch within 100 yards of all shells (Per USRowing guidelines)
  4. No rowing at night.
  5. No rowing in dense fog, defined as limited or no visibility of the Free Bridge (New Hope-Lambertville) from the launch site.
  6. No rowing if you hear thunder or see lightning. If you encounter thunder or lightning while on the river, return to the boat ramp immediately. Wait 30 minutes after the last sound of thunder before launching.
  7. No rowing if there is a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning issued for Bucks or Hunterdon County.
  8. If there is a severe thunderstorm or tornado watch issued for Bucks or Hunterdon County, coaches and rowers should check radar, use extreme caution, and be in a position to return to the launch area quickly as storms can change course and/or develop unpredictably.
  9. Members should be mindful of the changing times of dawn and dusk during the season. Boats may launch 30 minutes before sunrise and must have a bow light. 
  10. Boats launching around sunset must launch with a bow light and must return before 30 minutes after sunset.

est. 1992