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Navigation Rules

The basic purpose of the navigation rules is to avoid collisions.  


Stand-On Vessel - The boat that has Right-of-Way is the stand-on vessel and should maintain course and speed.  


The Give-Way Vessel - The Give-Way vessel must keep out of the way and should make its change of course obvious and early.  It is always a vessel's obligation to avoid collistions even if it has the right-of-way.


The boat that is more maneuverable is the Give-Way vessel.  In most cases, sailboats or powerboats must keep out of the way/change course for an outrigger canoe.  The outrigger is the stand-on vessel.


The boat that is less maneuverable is the Stand-on vessel and should maintain course and speed.  In most cases, a large cargoship, tugboat with tow, SUP, windsurfer, surfer, or dragonboat would be the the Stand-on and the outrigger would be the Give-Way vessel.


If two boats are approaching head-on, they should alter course to starboard to pass port side to port side (pass on the right).


Understanding Tides & Currents

Tides: The vertical movement of water. Primarily caused by the gravitational pull of the moon on the earth.  There are typically two high and two low tides each day on the east & west coasts of the U.S.  With a watch & tide table and chart you can determine the depth of the water in which you are in at any given time.


Current: The horizontal movement of water caused by the river's flow, wind, and ocean movements.  In coastal areas when tides rise, currents flood; when tides fall, currents ebb.  Depending on their direction, these currents can either assist or hinder your progress while paddling.  It is important to know the direction and strength of currents.


Warning Signs & Signals

Fog horns or whistles may be used to communicate between vessels.  The prolonged blast is four to six seconds in duration while a short blast is one to two seconds.


Five or more short blasts is the danger signal. When you hear this signal it means a dangerous situation exists or your intended course change is not acceptable


International Distress Signals: (Including list in case you encounter another boat in distress)

  • Smoke signal giving off orange-colored smoke

  • Rocket parachute flare or hand flare showing a red light

  • Rockets or shells, throwing red stars fired one at a time at short intervals

  • Continuous sounding of a foghorn

  • "Mayday" spoken over a radiotelephone

  • Signal consisting of a square flag having above or below it a ball or anything resembling a ball

  • Slowly & reatedly waving bothoutstretched arms

  • A radiotelegraph or radiotelephone alarm signal

  • High intensity white light flashing at regular intervals from 50-70 times per minute

SOS, a light, foghorn, or whistle to signal SOS

Morse code: dot-dot-dot, dash-dash-dash, dot-dot-dot


VHF Radio

Very High Frequency Radio 



Buttons on the radio:

  • L/H Toggles between 1 & 25 watts of power for transmitting

  • WX Weather channels (1-9). Use the channel you can hear the best

Channel Use:

  • 16 Emergency (Coast guard or vessel assist) and hailing channel for calling other boats

  • 12, 14 Vessel traffic.  Channel 12 outside the Entrance buoy, Channel 14 inside the bay.

  • 13 Bridge to Bridge Communications

  • 9, 68, 69, 71, 72, 77, 78 Ship to ship or Ship to Shore conversations


Three Levels of emergency which must be communicated on Channel 16


Mayday - Immediate Threat to life or property (boat is sinking, person in the water, medical emergency)


"Mayday, Mayday, Mayday, this is Kaimanu Mirage, Kaimanu Mirage, Kaimanu Mirage. Mayday. State Location, State Course. State Destination. State Nature of your emergency. State the kind of assistance desired. State number of people on board and condition. This is Kaimanu Mirage. Over"


Panpan - Request for assistance but not an emergency 


Securite - Warning of navigation danger


The Float Plan

Before leaving for a long paddle, it's a good idea to tell someone else your plans.  Leave a float plan with a friend or relative who can contact the US Coast Guard or other agencies in the event you don't return on schedule.


Provide the following information:

  • Name & Phone number of the person reporting

  • Complete description fo the boat (Type: Outrigger Canoe, 6M Color: Red & Yellow)

  • List of people on board (Names, age, and contact)

  • Method of communication (Cell phone, VHF radio)

  • Survival Gear (6 PFDs)

  • Trip Plan (Leaving and Expected Return location & Time)



Hypothermia & Heat Emergencies

Paddling in the bay can expose you to both a lot of weather.  It is important to be prepared for these changes.  Drink lots of water and wear clothing that protects your skin and head fromt he sun. Have warm clothing if the weather is cold.  


Heat Exhaustion:

Without prompt care, heat exhaustion can advance to a more serious condition -- heat stroke

Warning Signs

  • Cool, moist, pale skin

  • Heavy sweating

  • Headache

  • Dizziness

  • Nausea

  • Weakness, exhaustion


  • Move person to cool environment

  • Remove clothing soaked with perspiration and loosen any tight clothing

  • Apply cool, wet towels or sheets

  • Fan the person

  • Give person a half glass (4 oz.) of cool water every 15 minutes



Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is life threatening. Anyone suffering from heat stroke needs to be cooled and an EMS technician should be contacted immediately.

Warning Signs

  • Red, hot, dry or moist skin

  • Very high temperature

  • Changes in level of consciousness

  • Vomiting

  • Rapid, weak pulse

  • Rapid, shallow breathing


  • Move person to cool environment

  • Apply cool, wet towels or sheets

  • If available, place ice or cold packs on the peron's wrist, ankles, groin, armpit, and neck

  • If unconscious check breathing & pulse



Medical assistance should be given to anyone with hypothermia.

Warning Signs

  • Shivering

  • Impared judgment

  • Dizziness

  • Numbness

  • Change in level of consciousness

  • Weakness

  • Glassy stare


  • Check breathing & Pulse

  • Move the person to a warm place

  • Remove all wet clothing, gradually warm the person by wrapping in blankets or putting on dry clothes. Do not warm a person too quickly such as immersing in warm water. Rapid rewarming may cause dangerous heart thythms. Hot water bottles and chmical heat packs may be used if first wrapped in a towel or blanket before applying

  • Give warm, nonalcoholic and non-caffeinated liquids to a consious person only


Recommended Safety Equipment
  • Additional Paddle

  • Manual bailing device (bucket, bailers)

  • Basic First Aid

  • Tool kit

  • VHF Radio

  • PFD for each paddler

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