Senior Rowers Queried on Merrimack River Experiences

Survey on river quality as seen from 2 feet +\- from the water’s surface.

Photo by Daria Tumanova on Unsplash
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128 “senior” rowers, former high school and college athletes offer thoughts on the Merrimack River.

Responding to a poll, 80% of the Masters level rowers from Newburyport, MA to Manchester, NH row on the Merrimack River 3 to 6 days per week, where 40% said they row daily, and almost as many row a few days a week.

A statistic from question number Q9:
39% do a “wet start” by walking into the water carrying their racing shell, then get into the boat. Some have tipped over into the Merrimack.

(Many rowing clubs on the Merrimack do not have docks from which to launch.)

It’s immediate exposure to the water every time they row. These amateur athletes are among the most knowledgeable folks around about the Merrimack River. That’s why it is so disturbing to read their observations about the health of the river. Only 20% said it was ok for swimming...and 9% thought you should not even step in it! So when, on occasion when their boat tips, they get back in as quickly as possible.

The survey was developed and constructed by Olivia Duffin, a marketing student at Suffolk University and an intern for ACES. This research project on the experiences of recreational users of the Merrimack River is an important part of our Healthy Rivers Initiative. Project leader Rick Jacques is a member of EbbTide Rowing on the Merrimack River in Haverhill, MA.

Results of the survey, when complete, will be shared with public officials and stakeholders in support of the development of strategies directed at healing the river.

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about the author
Ron Martino

After a career in Marketing for science and high tech based corporations, Ron is a member of the Marketing Communications Team of the Alliance of Climate and Environmental Stewards (ACES) where he often focuses on our communication strategies both in traditional and social media.

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