It can’t have escaped your notice that there’s not a lot of light out there. Even if you don’t actually row in the dark, I’m willing to bet you have plenty of outings in pretty gloomy conditions. Which is why I’ve got a bit of a bee in my bonnet about the need for high vis kit. Every time I’ve had a near miss when steering a quad it’s involved someone wearing dark colours that blend into the background. It just makes sense to make yourself as visible as possible when you’re rowing in the gloaming. Seriously, why wouldn’t you?
Some clubs insist on high vis kit for single scullers and anyone at bow but plenty do not. Now I’m all for wearing pretty kit, but even I will always don something in day glo when I’m steering. I can’t really see any good reason not too.
There are loads of waterproof jackets around in fluorescent colours but inner layers are a little harder to come by. Here are a few that I’ve tracked down over the last year.
I found this super-visible Ronhill vest on the Wiggle website. They don’t currently have the exact same model but they do have several similar ones around £12-16. Incidentally I often find cycling gear is very well suited for rowing. In addition to producing well made kit, the cycling people seem to have a better understanding of proper waterproofing (which is weird, really). But actually, don’t get me started on un-waterproof splash tops.
Short sleeve top
Another buy from Wiggle from its essentials range. It cost me under £12 which is a bit of a bargain. It’s doesn’t seem to be in stock at the moment but they do have a decent range of high vis tops so worth a rummage.
This one by Ronhill is light as a feather so it’s terrific when you work up a sweat on a cold morning. I bought it from Millets for £13.
There’s a great range of fabulous high vis kit at Rock the Boat, too – here’s just a snapshot of what they have, which I snapped at a regatta this summer.
I’m still on the hunt for a reasonably priced fluoro mid-layer suitable for wearing in the boat. I’ve seen a few that are wildly expensive but nothing affordable, so if you find something that fits the bill do let me know. I should add that there’s plenty of men’s high vis kit out there, too, but I can’t personally vouch for its quality.
With all this to choose from there’s really no excuse for being invisible on the water. So please, be safe, be seen, and then if I do run into you it’ll be down to your steering or mine, and that’s still a work in progress.