Quote from a discussion on rec.sport.rowing about safety…. much about other stuff but some clear points of view here.
"Evidence that the oarlocks had any relevant part in delaying the rescue
of the 2 inverted Germans in the World Championships at Dorney in August
has yet to appear. Unfastening oarlocks to remove the oars has never
been a part of any procedure for rescue of people trapped in their
inverted shells. Were it so, then it would also be the duty of
potential rescuers to ensure, before the event, that they were fully
familiar with the range of oarlocks being used by competitive rowers &
to plan & prepare accordingly.
OTOH, when something goes messily wrong, rather than blame any of the
1. The crew disabling or rendering ineffective their foot release mechanisms
2. The regatta committee failing in its duty of care to check what is,
in the UK, a mandatory safety requirement for foot release
3. Both members of the crew unnecessarily & foolishly laying back in the
boat after their race & thereby losing their visual horizon & so
precipitating their own inversion
4. Apparent lack of any clear procedure for rescue should rowers be
trapped by a capsize – hardly an improbable occurence in an event where
there has been the deliberate decision to _not_ check safety equipment -
this prolonging the inversion with the potential for drowning
5. Failure of the rescuers to have familiarised themselves with the
proper operation of equipment which, while recent, is hardly new.
All those fundamental flaws are instead ignored, while blame is planted
upon a piece of equipment which was irrelevant to & blameless in the
chain of events which brought about the mishap & whose sole safety
function in rowing is to _retain_ the oar at all times against release,
both under normal use & in the event of accidents."