Jayson asked me about the swim test I completed a few days ago for my rowing club; this sparked my curiosity about what other aquatics clubs use to determine whether individuals are prepared to participate.
1) What's the standard in your sport (or specific club)?
2) Do you think that the current test is a good assessment of whether or not an individual would be safe in the event of an accident?
I did a search for US Rowing standards, and found this link http://qs.phly.com/selectsurvey/Pages/USRowing/SwimTest.html with a few guidelines. As mentioned on the page, I think waivers are not a good option in most cases. I coached rowing two summers with youth whose parents signed waivers but I will NEVER do that again. I had to question how ethical it was for the club to accept waivers, not knowing for sure and witnessing that each child would be safe in a boating accident. Thankfully, everyone was okay...
Over the years I've learned that more than a few rowing clubs use waivers to get around the logistics of ensuring that everyone can swim. Although in larger boats (i.e., 8's) flipping is unlikely, accidents can happen (like this one last month with a University of Cinncinatti crew): http://www.wlwt.com/r/27434057/detail.html
Let's all be safe rather than sorry!