Regatta Emergency Safety Plan


Safety is the primary concern of all events conducted on Mercer Lake. While recognizing that any sporting activity carries some risk, PNRA believes that it is important to be prepared to meet any emergencies which may arise during all stages of an event. A critical part of the preparedness to meet emergencies is to define areas of responsibility and delineate lines of action. This ensures the swift coordinated response with minimal disruption of the overall event.

As with any plan, strict adherence to the letter is not expected in all circumstances. It is impossible to anticipate all conceivable situations. Any plan merely provides the framework upon which efforts of the individual are to be guided. Therefore, the participants are still expected to remain alert and flexible and to exercise good judgment in all circumstances. Nonetheless it is likewise expected that the framework provided is of sufficient quality that most circumstances will be managed by adherence to its structure.

The Marina Office on the Lower level of the Boathouse at Mercer Lake will serve as Command Central. All Emergency situations are relayed to the Regatta Director, West Windsor Emergency Services EMT(s) and Command Central.

In the event that an emergency situation warrants additional medical emergency services support, the West Windsor Emergency Services EMT will call in the appropriate level of support.

In the event of an emergency situation that warrants additional law enforcement resources, the Command Center, in coordination with the West Windsor Emergency Services EMT, will coordinate the call to the Mercer County Park Rangers, West Windsor Police and Mercer County Sheriff Departments through radios and calls to 911.

The Closest Fire Department: West Windsor Emergency Services, 153 S Mill Road, West Windsor

(609) 799‐3311 (2.5 miles from Mercer Lake)

Mercer County Park Rangers: 334 S Post Road, West Windsor (609) 443‐8956

Recovery Points

Recovery points are places on Mercer Lake where an injured person or crew(s) can be brought onto land for further care. These are locations that are accessible by on‐land emergency services. Locations should be communicated to on‐land responders using the location title in “ “.

For Regattas on the Park/Finish Tower side of Mercer Lake

Primary Recovery Point:

  • MARINA” – Mercer County Marina Boat Ramp Dock

Secondary Recovery Points:

  • Finish Tower
  • “Caspersen” – the Caspersen Rowing Center 1 S Post Rd West Windsor

For Regattas run out of the Caspersen Rowing Center

Primary Recovery Point:

  • “Caspersen” – the Caspersen Rowing Center 1 S Post Rd West Windsor

Secondary Recovery Points:

  • MARINA” – Mercer County Marina Boat Ramp Dock

On‐Water Emergencies

Areas of Responsibility for All Primary Respondents

Starter – shall be in charge of coordinating response to emergencies in the warm‐up and starting areas.

On‐Water Referees – shall be the Primary Respondents to on‐water emergencies the entire length of the course including the cool down area.

Control Commission/Launch Landing Docks – Shall be responsible for the area in front of the launch/landing docks and the rowing course.

Actions of Primary Respondents

Upon arrival the Primary Respondent shall assess the seriousness of the incident. If the situation can be addressed on site, the Primary Respondent will administer minor first aid utilizing the first aid/safety kit nearest the site of the incident. If greater action is required the Primary Respondent will call on the radio or cell phone to request additional medical assistance. Such a request will clearly indicate which recovery point the Primary Respondent will be going to and the nature of the assistance needed.

If a person(s) are in the water, the primary responsibility is to get the person(s) out of the water and into one of the primary recovery points. Recovery of equipment should be designated to secondary responders. When the air and/or water temperature is below 65 degrees, athletes must be taken to land via one of the recovery points and checked by the West Windsor Emergency Services EMT’s. Athletes will be released by the EMT’s only into the care of a coach or parent.


Secondary Respondents

At the direction of the Regatta Director or the Primary Respondent additional referees or launch drivers will become Secondary Respondents.

Secondary Respondents shall follow the directions of the primary respondents.

Reporting of On‐water Emergencies

The Primary Responder is responsible for coordinating response to any emergency and reporting them to the Chief Referee and the Regatta Director.

Unless a person is the Primary Responder or a Secondary Respondent, Referees, organizing committee staff and volunteers should continue to perform their assigned duties. The organizing committee shall insure that each post is manned throughout the regatta.

On‐land Emergencies

Areas of Responsibly for All Primary Respondents

The Regatta Director or on‐site West Windsor Emergency Services EMT’s (EMT’s) shall be the primary respondent to all on‐land emergencies.

Actions of those Reporting On‐land Emergencies

Upon arrival, the primary respondent shall assess the seriousness of the incident and respond accordingly.

Reporting of On‐Land Emergencies

All organizing committee staff and volunteers shall report land emergencies to the Regatta Director or EMT’s.

After assuring that on‐land personnel are responding to an emergency, the reporter shall return to normal regatta duties.

Coordination of Medical Response

All medical emergencies shall be coordinated between the Regatta Director, Chief Referee, EMT’s and, when the regatta is on the finish tower side of Mercer Lake, the Mercer County Park Marina Staff.

Coordination of Weather Related Emergencies

Thunder and Lightning

The Regatta Director shall be responsible to ensure that weather and radar resources are being monitored for potential adverse weather.

The Regatta Director or Chief Referee will suspend racing and the regatta when:

  • Lightning is observed
  • Thunder heard
  • Radar shows that a thunderstorm is imminent (will arrive within 30 minutes)

Wind and Water Conditions

Referees on the water will report water conditions to the Chief Referee. If it is determined that fair and safe racing is no longer possible, the Regatta Director and the Chief Referee in consultation will suspend racing and the regatta.

Actions Upon suspension of Racing

Specific duties for clearing the water are:

  • The Control Commission
    • will stop all boats from launching and
    • coordinate the recovery of crews using all available docks
      • In an extreme emergency all docks on both sides of the lake can be used to evacuate boats. However, where time allows crews should return to the side of the lake where they launched.
      • The Chief Referee or Regatta Director will make the decision if docks on both sides of the lake should be used.
  • The Starter shall be responsible to ensure that the starting platform and warm‐up area are evacuated.
  • The Referees are responsible to ensure that the course and the cool down area are evacuated.

Resumption of Regatta Activities

The resumption of regatta activities will be a joint decision made by the Regatta Director and Chief Referee. Information concerning the resumption of the regatta will be conveyed immediately to the appropriate personnel.

Other Emergency Situations

In the case of an emergency situation not covered by the above, the Regatta Director working with Mercer County Park Staff and local law enforcement, as appropriate, to develop and implement proper action plans.

In the event where Mercer County Park or the Caspersen Rowing Center need to be evacuated, the Regatta Director and Regatta Staff will work to facilitate a timely and orderly evacuation.