Common Rules and Communication
As a paddlecraft operator, you are responsible for the safety of your passengers and all activities on your paddlecraft. If traveling with other boats or paddleboards, you are responsible for ensuring that all operators understand common rules and communication methods. Before leaving:
- Assess the skills of all paddlers in the group. Use their skill levels to determine the appropriate route and pacing for the trip.
- Review your pre-departure checklist to make sure you have everything you need for a safe trip.
- Discuss safety. Review the following information with your passengers or other paddlecraft in your group:
- Location of all emergency equipment (life jackets, visual distress signals, ropes, throw bags, first-aid kit, etc.) and how to use them
- The need for all paddlers and passengers to wear a life jacket, especially when conditions are dangerous
- Laws about careless, reckless, or negligent operation, as well as applicable homeland security measures
- General boater and paddleboarder courtesy
- Emergency procedures for responding to a capsize or fall overboard
- Location and description of known local hazards along the intended route
- Conduct emergency drills so that everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency.
- Review ways to ensure clear communication among all members of the group. This should include:
- How to signal for help
- Hand signals to use in various situations
- Whistle signals to use in various situations