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SSRC Safety Plan



Shanklin Sandown Rowing Club is committed to the safety of its members and its guests whilst they are engaged in club related activities. The aim of the SSRC Safety Plan is to ensure that all members and visitors are made aware of the safety requirements of rowing and related activities at Shanklin so that they may participate safely at all times. 

As a member of the Hants and Dorset ARA we are governed by British Rowing and as such are advised to follow the safety policies contained within BR’s ‘RowSafe’ guidelines. These guidelines are not mandatory as such but every effort is made to follow them as far as reasonably practicable.

It is also worth noting that at SSRC and within the Hants and Dorset ARA; most of our activities are on the coast/sea so some of these guidelines may be irrelevant. 

These requirements apply to SSRC Club members when operating away from Shanklin except where local safety procedures are issued for the location visited. These guidelines are also to apply to crews visiting SSRC and any other person boating from the premises.

This Safety Plan is also to be used in conjunction with the club Rule Book, Byelaws and Risk Assessment; all of which can be found in the Safety Folder at the club or on the Google Drive account.


In the event of an emergency; guidelines on how to deal with the emergency are contained in Appendix A – Emergency Plan.


Whilst is it down to the Safety Advisor of the club and Coaches to ensure safety procedures are in place, ALL members are personally responsible for and have a duty of care to ensure that their actions, both on and off the water, are conducted in a manner that does not compromise the safety of themselves or others.

All members are expected to comply with the requirements of the British Rowing RowSafe Guide, the Clubs Safety Plan and any other instructions issued by the Club, in respect of safety. The safety of an individual(s) and equipment should always take priority over any other aspect.


    • 4.1 - Safety Equipment

The Club provides certain safety equipment, which shall be used by its members to accord with the following:

Life Jackets / Buoyancy Aids:

The wearing of a lifejacket or buoyancy aid is compulsory for: 

  • All coxswains. 

  • All drivers and passengers of any launch used in connection with Club activities. 

  • All junior members that have not completed and passed a Club organized capsize drill and swim test.

Where participants are adults & have not undertaken the club swim test/capsize drill; lifejackets/buoyancy aids should be offered but are not mandated. The decision shall be based on the individuals own assessment of their abilities in water.

Where, due to a medical condition, members are considered to be at risk of becoming unconscious or immobile, as a result of immersion, an automatic lifejacket must be worn.

Throw Lines:

Any person providing coaching or safety cover from the use of the Launch/Safety Boat must equip themselves with a throw line. All throw lines are in the safety bag (carried on the Launch) along with first aid kits and thermal exposure blankets. These items are also located in the same area as lifejackets in the Boathouse. Training on the use of throw lines is given during the club swim/capsize tests.

When appropriate, the throw lines can be used from the shore also.

Thermal Exposure Blankets:

Any person providing coaching or safety cover from the Launch or the shoreline should equip themselves with sufficient thermal exposure blankets. All thermal exposure blankets are in the safety bags along with first aid kits and throw lines, located in the Boathouse.

First Aid Box:

First Aid boxes are located in the Gym, Kitchen, Bar, Boathouse and the safety bag (left in the launch). These First Aid Boxes are routinely checked and re-supplied where appropriate.
Routine checks are documented in the Safety folder. 

Any member requiring the use of a First Aid kit must inform their coach and/or the Safety Officer as an incident report may be needed.

    • 4.2 - Thunder Storms and Lightning

All members should be aware of the local weather forecast when planning outings, particularly when thunderstorms have been predicted.

If thunder is heard and/or lightning observed before the outing has commenced; individuals and crews must remain at the club.

If thunder is heard and/or lightning observed whilst on the water, individuals and crews should return immediately to the Club; however this has to be with due consideration to the “30-30” rule for lightning. The rule being to count the time taken until you hear the thunder. If it is 30 seconds or less you must seek proper shelter.

Individuals and crews must remain at the club or under proper shelter for a minimum period of 30 minutes after the last lightning or thunder, before considering it safe to commence the outing.

    • 4.3 – Condition of Equipment

Prior to use, all equipment is to be checked to ensure that it is serviceable and appropriate for the purpose for which it is intended. This includes ALL equipment at the club including the Gym equipment. Although the Safety Officer and Captain routinely check the equipment it is the responsibility of each individual to ensure the equipment they use is serviceable. 

Each rower is responsible for their own position in the boat (rigger, seat, slide and stretcher) and the blade(s) they wish to use before the outing commences. Training & guidance is given by the coaches in how to check the equipment.

All members are to report any damage immediately to their Coach and/or the Captain who will then take the appropriate action.

    • 4.4 – Incidents and Accidents

All members are responsible for reporting all accidents, incidents and ‘near-misses’ that they have knowledge of or witness within 24 hours of the event. This is done via the British Rowing online incident reporting system, to satisfy the requirements of the British Rowing RowSafe Guide.

In addition to the online system, all members are to bring the incident to the attention of the Safety Advisor, their coach or club captain.

All accidents and incidents will be reviewed by the Safety Adviser and these will be discussed at rowing sub-committee level; along with any additional control measures that are deemed necessary to avoid any future repetition.

Emergency Services are to be contacted by the best means possible as appropriate to any accident or emergency situation.

    • 4.5 – Launches

Launches are to be used only by drivers that are authorized by the committee. The use of the Launch by incompetent drivers greatly increases the risk of an accident and is strictly forbidden.

The RowSafe guide recommends that all Launch drivers hold an RYA Level 2 Power Boat qualification but this is not mandatory. The Safety Advisor maintains the list of current approved drivers and these may or may not hold the qualification. 

All drivers and passengers are to wear lifejackets. The driver is responsible for ensuring that a safety bag / launch rescue kit is carried at all times. Any items used or missing are to be notified to the Safety Advisor as soon as possible.

The driver is also responsible for ensuring that a radio is taken; these are stored in the Bar and should be left inside their waterproof bags.

All launch drivers are to ensure that the launches are handled with consideration to other water users and in accordance with the British Rowing RowSafe Guide and the club’s bylaws.

The launches are designed to carry two persons, the driver and the coach. In the event of a capsize recovery operation the maximum number of persons on the launch may exceed two persons in order to safely convey rowers to the shore or boathouse.

Whilst the Safety Adviser will try to ensure the Launch is in good working condition at all times; it is the responsibility of the driver/operator to ensure the launch is working correctly and safely before each outing. All control mechanisms are to be checked BEFORE the engine is started to ensure proper control can be achieved from the Centre Console (Steering, Throttle, Gear linkages and the KILL switch/lanyard).
The Kill switch is the most important aspect as it is the only way to stop the engine in the event of a malfunction and/or emergency. 

After each outing the launch must be cleaned and the engine flushed with clean water.

All launch drivers MUST be over the age of 18. 

    • 4.6 – Coxswains and Steersman

In all coxed boats, the coxswain is deemed responsible for the overall safety of the boat and crew whilst on the water. The wearing of lifejackets or buoyancy aids by coxswains is MANDATORY. If the launch is not available the cox is advised to take a radio with them for the outing.

In coxless boats, the person occupying the bow seat or the person controlling the rudder (when fitted) is deemed responsible for the overall safety of the boat and the crew.

The only exception to the foregoing being when the coxswain, or the steersman, is a cadet/junior; in which case responsibility will be transferred to the coach or to the person providing the direct instruction and supervision.

The Cox or Steersman must be aware of the hazards he/she may encounter whilst navigating the boat, particularly when launching/recovering at the start/finish of a session (refer to section 4.11).
The Sailing club often use the same stretch of water as do divers so be on the lookout for these hazards.

    • 4.7 – Coaches

Coaches at SSRC do not necessarily have to hold a certain qualification or award to be deemed as a ‘Coach’ but it is preferred. Due to the nature of our club and association it is sometimes not viable for every coach to hold a qualification with BR. In these cases the Coach, is such, through experience and rowing status only. 

Coaches are to ensure that: 

  • Crews are aware of the appropriate safety procedures

  • Crews use safe rowing/sculling equipment

  • The outing is conducted appropriate to the prevailing weather and water conditions

  • Consideration is shown to other water users

  • Crews are appropriately dressed for the session

  • The Coach is to be particularly alert for symptoms of hypothermia and heat stroke / dehydration

  • In particular, when coaching young children, the whole crew should be dressed suitably

  • When coaching coxed boats, care must also be taken to ensure that the cox is properly dressed

  • Particular attention is paid to the coaching of coxes as their competence is essential to water safety as well as the crew’s success

    • 4.8 – Rowing and Sculling at night

Rowing or Sculling at night is NOT permitted at SSRC as we do not have the guidance/practices in place for such activities.

    • 4.9 – Unescorted outings

Outings by individuals and crews outside of the normal club training sessions are to be booked out using the board mounted in the Boathouse. An estimated return time is to be stated along with crew details. Individuals are to ensure that they book in on return to avoid false alarms.

If a coxed four is going afloat, a radio must be taken so that anyone who arrives at the club can contact the boat if needs be. This does not apply to small boats (all boats other than a coxed four), however, these boats must stay within the marked area (See Figure 1, Appendix B).

    • 4.10 – Training in rough conditions

This area is not covered in much detail within BR’s RowSafe guide and as such does not offer much guidance on this aspect of rowing.

SSRC is a Coastal Rowing club and the regattas we attend are mainly Coastal. It is therefore expected that the sea is often quite ‘choppy’ and rough. The regattas are frequently held in rough conditions with high winds so it is therefore accepted that crews need to train in a similar environment at the home club. There is also the added complication that the sea can change state quite quickly whilst a crew is out training.

The Coastal boats we use are not the same as river boats and can cope with a higher degree of chop and/or swell when on the sea. 

It is therefore down to the discretion of the Coach or Senior member to determine whether the outing, although rough, can still go ahead.  It has to be accepted that it is very unreasonable and totally impractical to have a ‘guide’ or written rule than can determine this so the decision must be made by the coach and/or senior rower present as they are able to make a decision based on all of the factors and previous experience.

Factors to be taken into account by the decision maker are as follows:

  • Crew Type – Four or small Boat?

  • Crew Status – Senior, JS, Junior, Novice or Cadet?

  • Time of year – This relates to the ambient temperature and should be factored in

  • Sufficient support at club – Someone to keep a look out or operate radio?

  • Weather Forecast – It may be windy now but is it supposed to die down for example?

  • Wind direction – A westerly wind doesn’t have as much affect as an Easterly!

  • Visual aids – The use a visual aids to determine chop/swell (Buoys are a good example)

  • Training objective – Will the crew benefit from the outing? Is rough water work what they need at this stage?

Conditions may be deemed ‘rowable’, but fall into the ‘Difficult Conditions’ category; in which case the guide found in Appendix B, must be followed.

    • 4.11 – Launching/Recovering the boat

This section is relevant to the Safety Plan because it involves a particularly hazardous situation, especially at low tide.

At SSRC it is frequently ‘tricky’ to launch and recover a boat at the start/finish of a session due to the high probability of waves coming in to shore. If it is particularly bad then it is advised to launch from the left hand side of the groin; this area is often calm as the groin breaks the swell to a degree.
Rowers are to be quick and execute the launch/recovery in a quick and controlled manner to avoid swamping the boat.

The actual technique for such a launch/recovery will be instructed by the Coach/Cox in charge of the session.

All crews are to keep reasonably close to the groin when launching in front of the club, especially at low tide, as there are large rocks that pose a high risk of damage to the boats. Although this is not such an issue at high tide, it is good practice for all crews to launch/recover next to the groin area to ensure the boat is positioned away from rocks.
Care must be taken not to get too close to the groin however as that will obviously cause issues.

Please refer to Appendix C for more information on Launching/Recovery of the boats.

It is advised also that the radio is to be used to inform the club when the crew is about to come ashore so that extra help can be provided to junior crews for recovering the boat. This minimises the risk of damage to the boats and injury to the crew.



    1. – Lifting of Boats

Coaches and crews are to ensure that every care is taken to prevent injury when lifting boats in and out of the racks and the sea. One person is to be in charge of the manoeuvre, giving clear instructions before and during the lift (this is often the cox).

Extra care should be taken when carrying boats down/up the boathouse steps. These steps are steep and shallow pitched and can become slippery when wet. Always ensure there is plenty of hands to help with the lift, not just the crew that used the boat.

    1. – Gym

All members are responsible for keeping the gym clean and tidy. After use, every member is responsible for returning all equipment that they have used to its proper location and for cleaning down all items of the equipment that they have used.

All members shall be deemed responsible for their own safety whilst using any of the Club’s gym equipment. The coaches will provide regular guidance but should any member have any doubt concerning how to use any item of equipment, or correct technique; they should seek guidance from the Captain/VC or a Coach before using or continuing to use the equipment.

Junior members are not permitted to use any of the gym equipment (rowing machines, weights machines or free weights) unless accompanied by a coach or supervised by a person deemed responsible by the committee.

All rowers under the age of 12 are only permitted to use the free weights purely for technique purposes only (when supervised). When using the rowing machine, the drag factor must be kept on the lowest setting (‘1’). No ergo session must exceed 20 mins and the use of competitive and technical challenges of a limited duration is deemed more appropriate.

It is advised that all rowers under the age of 16 have a limit of 30 mins on the ergo, unless conducting a test piece.

The use of any gym equipment by social members and by guests is prohibited as they are not covered on the clubs insurance.

    1. – Smoking & Drugs Policy

The club has a No-Smoking policy and smoking is not permitted in any part of the club.

The club has a zero tolerance on the use of recreational and/or performance enhancing drugs. Anyone found to be using such substances will be bought before the committee and may have their membership terminated. 

Members are responsible for ensuring that their guests are briefed accordingly.

    1. – Telephones

There is no telephone at the club. A list of useful numbers is displayed on the notice board in the entrance to the club. 

These days, everyone carries a mobile phone so if anyone needs to make a call there is always a mobile phone available.

    1. – Kitchen

Users of the kitchen and appliances are to ensure that care is taken when in use; that the cooker is not left unattended when in use and that all appliances are left safe when finished with. Furthermore, work-tops, crockery etc. are to be left in a clean and hygienic state.

    1. – FIRE

In the event of a fire the Club House is to be evacuated and the car park used as a muster point. An attempt is to be made to account for individuals. Members are responsible for the safety of their guests.
There are various Fire Exits in the club and these are labelled with signs. 

Fire Extinguishers are provided but are not to be used by individuals to fight fires. They are only there to assist in evacuating the building if the fire escape is blocked by fire. Firefighting is to be left to the professionals and no individual is to put themselves or others in more harm by trying to extinguish the fire.

    1. – Car Park

Extreme care is to be taken by all members when using the car park in order to prevent injury to people on foot or carrying boats whose vision may be obscured.

    1. – Members of Public

Owing to the nature of the premises, members of the public frequently enter the site in the belief that there is public access to the toilets. All members are to exercise care and attention to prevent members of the public being injured and are to, if appropriate, politely ask them to leave the premises for their own safety.



    1. – Drivers

Only individuals authorized by the Club are to drive the Club minibus. All drivers are to be members of the club for insurance purposes. It is up to the driver to do basic checks of the vehicle before transporting boats and rowers.
The driver must also ensure that ALL occupants are wearing a seat belt.

    1. – Boat Loading

SSRC is one of the few clubs that do not use trailers. Instead, the minibus is fitted with a boat rack on the roof. This method of transport is used when traveling to regattas and alternative places of training (River Medina for example). The driver is to ensure that all boats and equipment is safely secured prior to departure and that the necessary requirements for rear projections and lighting are observed. The coach will arrange the boat loading sessions but as a general rule; those that are competing need to attend boat loading to assist and make sure that all equipment is loaded into the van. 

Loading the boats, especially the fours, can be dangerous and requires a minimum of 4 people involved in the lift. All members are trained in how to load the boats correctly and should ensure they adhere to this policy.
No under 18’s should be allowed on the roof of the minibus in any circumstance.



Safety is a standard item on both main Committee and H&D agendas, and is reviewed at every meeting.

Safety can only be consistently achieved through a process of good communication, education and periodic review. If any individual identifies any safety related issue which is not documented, or that they feel others can learn from, they can make a significant contribution by discussing the topic with the Safety Adviser who can then take the appropriate action.


The Safety Adviser is there to help keep everyone safe by making members aware of the Safety Guidelines and procedures for the club. The Safety Adviser attends annual regional safety meetings as well as monthly Committee meetings to ensure Safety is constantly being considered. 

Whilst the Safety Adviser is expected to carry out checks on the Safety Equipment/equipment at regular intervals (as far as reasonably practicable); it is ultimately the responsibility of the individual to ensure the Equipment they chose to use is in good working order.

It is also the responsibility of the Safety Adviser to ensure the Risk Assessment, Safety Plan and all documentation is kept up-to-date. These can be found in the clubs ‘Google Drive’ folder and anyone wishing to access it can do so using the following link:

The Safety Adviser is NOT there to police members and ensure the Safety of everyone. He/she is there purely to provide advice on the Safety aspects/procedures of the club and it is the responsibility of individuals to ensure they follow these guidelines.

James Thompson
Club Rowing Safety Adviser
Shanklin Sandown Rowing Club



Appendix A


In the event of capsize or swamping:

  • Remain calm! Costal boats can and do capsize or fill with water and it is important to stay calm and know that following a few basic rules will help keep you safe.

  • All SSRC coastal boats have buoyancy tanks and, even if swamped, will not sink. The crew must stay with the boat and can use it for buoyancy. Staying with the boat creates a much bigger target for people to see and you can be rescued, if necessary, much easier.

  • If out of your depth & unable to wade ashore, hold onto the capsized hull as a buoyancy aid & attempt to swim it to shore. 

  • If the water is cold, get as much of your body out of the water as soon as possible, draping yourself over the upturned hull (if necessary turning over the hull for this purpose).

  • If possible, "buddy-up"; holding on to each other until rescued to provide mutual warmth and support and to help ensure all are accounted for.

  • Other boats in the vicinity should fetch help or a launch if one is available. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO RESCUE FROM ANOTHER ROWING SCULL - you are likely to tip over, putting more people in the water with no one to get help. A Four/Quad can provide assistance as these are much more stable.

  • Small boats can be righted and the crew can attempt to re-establish themselves in the boat and clear the water.

In The Event of a Serious Incident:


  • Raise the Alarm with a launch or with other boats if available. 

  • Use a radio to alert the clubhouse who can then dial for emergency assistance 999.

  • The remainder of the crew must bring the boat directly ashore in a controlled manner as quickly as possible.

  • The casualty(s) take the highest priority over the equipment!


    • Possible serious incidents associated with rowing:

The following gives guidance for recognizing and treating possible serious incidence associated with rowing.

      • Hypothermia:

The symptoms of hypothermia depend on how cold the environment is and how long you are exposed for. Severe hypothermia needs urgent medical treatment in hospital. Shivering is a good guide to how severe the condition is. If the person can stop shivering on their own, the hypothermia is mild, but if they cannot stop shivering, it is moderate to severe.

Mild cases

In mild cases, symptoms include:

  • shivering,

  • feeling cold,

  • low energy,

  • discomfort at higher temperatures than normal, or

  • cold, pale skin.

Moderate cases

The symptoms of moderate hypothermia include:

  • violent, uncontrollable shivering,

  • being unable to think or pay attention,

  • confusion (some people don't realise they are affected),

  • loss of judgment and reasoning,

  • difficulty moving around or stumbling (weakness),

  • feeling afraid,

  • memory loss,

  • fumbling hands and loss of coordination,

  • drowsiness,

  • slurred speech,

  • listlessness and indifference, or

  • slow, shallow breathing and a weak pulse.


Severe cases

The symptoms of severe hypothermia include:

  • loss of control of hands, feet, and limbs,

  • uncontrollable shivering that suddenly stops,

  • unconsciousness,

  • shallow or no breathing,

  • weak, irregular or no pulse,

  • stiff muscles, and

  • dilated pupils.

Although hypothermia is defined as occurring when the body temperature drops below 35°C (95°F), mild hypothermia can start at higher body temperatures. 

As the body temperature decreases further, shivering will stop completely. The heart rate will slow and a person will gradually lose consciousness. When unconscious, a person will not appear to have a pulse or be breathing. Emergency assistance should be sought immediately and CPR provided while the person is warmed. CPR is an emergency procedure, consisting of 30 chest compression followed by 2 rescue breaths.


Treating hypothermia

As hypothermia can be a life-threatening condition, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Hypothermia is treated by preventing further heat being lost and by gently warming the patient.

If you are treating someone with mild hypothermia, or waiting for medical treatment to arrive, follow the advice below to prevent further loss of heat.

Things to do for hypothermia:

  • Move the person indoors, or somewhere warm, as soon as possible.


  • Once sheltered, gently remove any wet clothing and dry the person

  • Wrap them in blankets, towels, coats (whatever you have), protecting the head and torso first

  • Your own body heat can help someone with hypothermia. Hug them gently

  • Increase activity if possible, but not to the point where sweating occurs, as that cools the skin down again

  • If possible, give the person warm drinks (but not alcohol) or high energy foods, such as chocolate, to help warm them up

  • Once body temperature has increased, keep the person warm and dry

It is important to handle anyone that has hypothermia very gently and carefully.

Things you should NOT do:

  • Don't warm up an elderly person using a bath, as this may send cold blood from the body's surfaces to the heart or brain too suddenly, causing a stroke or heart attack;

  • Don't apply direct heat (hot water or a heating pad, for example) to the arms and legs, as this forces cold blood back to the major organs, making the condition worse

  • Don't give the person alcohol to drink, as this will decrease the body's ability to retain heat

  • Don't rub or massage the person’s skin, as this can cause the blood vessels to widen and decrease the body’s ability to retain heat. In severe cases of hypothermia there is also a risk of heart attack 


      • Near-Drowning

The goal is to safely rescue the victim and begin first aid.

In a near-drowning emergency, the sooner the rescue and first aid begin, the greater the victim's chance of survival. Do not endanger yourself in rescuing the victim during this process.

Rescue options to reach the drowning victim in the water:

  • Use a Throw Line

  • Throw a rope with a buoyant object

  • Use a long stick

  • Bring a boat alongside the victim and tow the victim to shore. Do not haul the victim into the boat because it may cause the boat to capsize, and both of you will be in the water. Cold water may render the victim too hypothermic to grasp objects within their reach or to hold while being pulled to safety

  • As a last resort, you can attempt a swimming rescue if you are sufficiently trained in water rescue. Do not attempt a rescue beyond your capabilities. Otherwise, you may harm yourself:

    • For a swimming rescue, approach the person from behind while trying to calm the victim as you move closer. A panicked victim can pull you down

    • Grab a piece of clothing or cup a hand or arm under the victim's chin and pull the person face up to shore while providing special care to ensure a straight head-neck-back alignment especially if you think the person has spine injuries

First aid for a near-drowning victim:

The focus of the first aid for a near-drowning victim in the water is to get oxygen into the lungs without aggravating any suspected neck injury.

If the victim's breathing has stopped, give 5 mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths as soon as you safely can. This could mean starting the breathing process in the water.

Once on shore, reassess the victim's breathing and circulation (heartbeat and pulse). If there is breathing and circulation without suspected spine injury, place the person in recovery position (lying on the stomach, arms extended at the shoulder level and bent, head on the side with the leg on the same side drawn up at a right angle to the torso) to keep the airway clear and to allow the swallowed water to drain. If there is no breathing, begin CPR. Continue CPR (30 chest compression followed by 2 rescue breaths) until help arrives or the person revives.

Keep the person warm by removing wet clothing and covering with warm blankets to prevent hypothermia. 

Remain with the recovering person until emergency medical personnel have arrived.



• Do not go out rowing alone, ever, when the water temperature is below 10 degrees C. Hypothermia is deadly quick at lower temperatures.

• Always row with at least one other boat, or with the coach/safety boat.

• Ensure there is a look out on the beach at all times with radio contact.

    • Key Locations & Telephone Numbers:

There must always be someone at the club with a mobile phone. Crews are advised to take one of the radios on the water with them so they can communicate with the radio back at the club. Modern mobile phones are not as effective as cannot be used inside a waterproof bag or if the user is wet.

In an emergency call 999 and you will be advised accordingly.

In the event of Cardiac Arrest; the nearest defibrillator is located in the Café next to the Rowing Club. Instructions on how to use this kit are on the device itself. They are designed to be straight-forward to use.  

Appendix B

  • Rowing in Difficult Conditions



All rowers must keep within the RED rectangle when rowing in difficult conditions so that you can be seen at all times from the club.

Only Fours with an experienced Cox or Coach are exempt from this rule and a radio must be carried at all times. 

The Captain, Vice-Captain, Coach or Senior Oarsmen will determine when the term ‘Difficult Conditions’ applies.

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