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Traffic Patterns

Baltimore Community Rowing promotes the sport of rowing for fitness, competition, and recreation for residents of the Baltimore Metro area. 

The traffic patterns are designed so that all the boats in one path are going in the same direction. Everyone should be familiar with them, and coaches, coxes, bow persons and singles rowers must know and adhere to them completely.

Use common sense. When crossing traffic, look both ways. Make any turns far enough from obstacles (like the bridge) so that you can be seen by other boats. Pull off the traffic pattern if you need to stop, don't make sudden turns in front of other boats. Never assume that power boats see you, and stay away from them.

Be ready to yield the right-of-way. The Coast Guard regulations say that nothing exonerates a boat, its crew or master if they neglect to maintain a proper look-out, go too fast, fail to take action to avoid collision or ignore their responsibilities.

Note that the crossing area coming out from the dock and the area around the double day/green marker and the red channel marker at Ferry Bar are high traffic areas.  Be extra observant when approaching these areas.

Traffic Pattern Maps

Overall Traffic Pattern: The map above shows the traffic pattern from the Patapsco Middle Branch Basin to the Baltimore Inner Harbor for all crews.  All rowers and coxswains must be sure they know this pattern accurately.  Please note the areas of “high traffic” as well as the areas of “safe refuge” as noted on the maps
Middle Branch of the Patapsco Basin:  This is the body of water we refer to as the “Basin.” Most of our rowing is here, so be sure that you know this counter-clockwise pattern.

Ferry Bar to Ft. McHenry:  From Ferry Bar, put the Harbor Hospital on your stern and head for Lehigh Cement. Once at Ft. McHenry, follow the return track shown. Watch out for other rowers, buoys and cans, and wakes from ships.

Ft. McHenry to Baltimore's Inner Harbor:  There is a lot of commercial and pleasure boat traffic in the approach to the harbor. It's a fascinating row with great scenery, and this pattern is the safest route.

Patapsco River:  From the dock to the entrance for the Patapsco River for approximately 3500m 

Windy Days:  When the wind is moderate, but too strong for the normal pattern, rowing close to the protected shore will afford calmer water. Notice that the north shore and south shore windy day patterns are clockwise so that boats will not collide with others using the standard patterns. When the wind is strong and high, BCR alters crews traffic patters so that accidents do not happen. It is the responsibility of rowers and coxswains to be aware of and use the traffic pattern above when the weather deems it necessary.


- George Pocock

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