Signals

A clear set of visual signals can avoid confusion and save time. These signals are the basic, accepted river running signals. Paddlers should always acknowledge signals. Some simple rules:

If someone is in a safe position waiting for a signal - NO SIGNAL, NO MOVE

Always point away from the danger, and in the direction of safety

STOP:

Palm held upright, motionless

 

Depending on the situation, it can mean:

• Get to the nearest safe eddy

• Hold your position

ONE PERSON TO COME DOWN

One finger held upright followed by a beckoning motion

 

One person only to leave the eddy and paddle the rapid. The next person should not set off until signalled to do so.

GO MORE LEFT OR MORE RIGHT

Hand or paddle extended motionless in intended direction

Move in the direction the paddle or arm is extended. Used to help other paddlers to stay on line; if necessary a sense of urgency can be imparted by using a short jabbing motion.

 

EVERYBODY COME ON DOWN

Fist raised with elbow at right angle

Everybody follow the lead paddler, leaving a suitable distance between each paddler or, if the lead paddler has gone ahead to inspect the rapid, everyone paddle the rapid leaving a suitable distance between each paddler

 

PUT YOUR BOAT OVER THERE

Finger raised to indicate one paddler then pointed at the intended location

This is usually used when the signaler doesn’t want the other boater to break out in the same eddy that they are in. It can also be used to position the strongest paddler in such a way that they are in the best place to affect a rescue prior to less able paddlers shooting the rapid.

 

COME TO ME

Hand placed on top of head as if patting oneself on head

Send whoever has been designated down to join the lead paddler.(This is usually one of those better paddlers able to chase boat, often the back marker. Alternatively, if no one has been designated it just means the next paddler down should “come to me”

 

 

USE OF A WHISTLE

In the noisy white water environment it can be difficult to hear the whistle and to distinguish signals, this reinforces the need for simple, clear agreed signals. Two signals are recommended:

  1. A single whistle blast means look this way
  2. Continuous whistling means that someone is in serious trouble