Navigation Update From The Captain September 9, 2013
Now that it is dark for the first part of early morning workouts, make sure you have good lighting. A bright, white, steady-on bow light is a minimum requirement. Flashing red does not hack it. A bright stern light is also a good idea - head mounted lights work well.
Let's be careful about navigation, whether it's dark or the sun is up.
Most importantly, I'm making a new rule: The first two red buoys (#2 and #4) at the top of the harbor where we start the HOTS MUST be left to starboard when coming north back into the river, under all circumstances. They must be left to port going south. There are sunken hulks and pilings between these buoys and the East Providence shore which, at the right tide level, can be hidden just below the surface.
The third red buoy (#6 - not the same #6 as the one just north of the boathouse) coming back into the river from the harbor may be cut (except during HOTS) to ease the S-turn coming back up stream around India Point. Look out for the white 5mph buoy near it.
Keep single file going through the railroad bridge.
On exiting the railroad bridge going north, keep well to the East Providence side. Don't cut the corner going past Waterman Grille.
Since the rule about not rowing on the race course at low tide seems to be universally ignored, and there have been no mishaps (that I know of), coming south from Pawtucket you may turn onto the course after passing buoy #19 at any time except when the tide is exceptionally low. If you can see mudflats and rocks above 19, stick to the channel. Make it a general rule not to turn onto the course until after 19, even at high tide when it is tempting to turn after 21.
Finally, although it is permissible to go north on the course after passing buoy 6 (the one just north of the boathouse), please make it a firm habit to follow the channel all the way north. Group workouts may go north on the course, but keeping well to the East Providence side and being vigilant about traffic coming south on the course.
Be heads up for head on traffic and collisions from all directions when navigating these tighter courses.