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NCAWPA small boat handling
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OC Boat Handling and Care

General Policies-

1) Club boats are for club members only.

2) Small boats are to be used ONLY by people who are certified.


If you're not a member, you can't use small boats.  Please go to novice night.

If you are a member and know someone who is not a member, tell them to go to novice night and to sign up and pay to become a member.

Club members are NOT allowed to take non-members in a boat with them. People who are certified are NOT allowed to take a non-certified person with you in the small boats. Doing either is in direct violation of club policy. Normally, the first violation of club policy will lead to a written warning and reminder of club policies. Repeated violations or major violation may result in loss of small boat privileges and/or loss of club membership.

3) Newly certified must be with a partner on the water for the 12 months, as well as two people carrying the boat and together for safety/accountability reasons

4) Always HAVE a PFD and whistle

5) Follow the 100 degree rule (combined air and water temperature)

6) cell phone encouraged or someone who knows where you are

7)if you are paddling alone you should wear the PFD

8)inflatable PFD’s must be worn to meet legal requirements

Boat sign out and Handling:

Damage results in lack of boat availability- These are our club boats, but they're not your boat - treat them as if you are a guest

There are private boats; they are in a different situation- just because you see someone doing it, doesn't mean it's right or following club policy; know the rules yourself and follow them; talk with us if you have questions.

You must sign up online beforehand to use a small boat. Each club member is allowed to sign out a club boat up to 3 times per week.

You may sign up as early as 7 days before the date/time up to 8 hours before the date/time. If you want to do a last minute paddling session, check online first. If a boat has not been signed out, then it is up for grabs. But someone else might have the same idea, so be prepared to arrive and find no boats are available. The signup page is at-

Decide which boat you want to use - club boats have NCA written on them AND have numbers (and the challenger is a club boat too).  Sign it out online.

When you arrive at the boat house, check the boat- make sure the boat you plan to use is available and in working order: vents, ama, 'iakos, (damaged boats will have signs saying "do not use"), examine the boat to make sure it is sea-worthy, you will be in a world of hurt if it's not.

You must sign out in the log book at the boat house - print legibly, fill out the form completely.  There are safety reasons for sign out - we know when to look for you and where to look.

Moving the boats-

  1. check that the dock is clear
  2. take paddle and PFDs to the dock
  3. two people hands on the boat (one person carrying is much later, go through at least one year of two-person carries before you are ready for that)
  4. be careful of all the boats around you and the racks themselves as you're pulling out your boat: goal is no contact with anything -- eg. watch the amas of the boats above and below, make sure your boat's 'iakos aren't hitting those amas
  5. balance is key
  6. communicate with each other all the time
  7. the boat is longer than you think and the ama sticks out farther than you think
  8. corners have to be turned wide
  9. watch the doors as you're coming out of boathouse
  10. walk straight out farther than you think before you turn
  11. watch the telephone pole
  12. watch the railings on the ramp
  13. hull on dock with rudder over edge
  14. one boat first, then the other, both people carrying both boats
  15. shut the bay door and lock it
  16. PFDs attached to the boat (or your body), if you are paddling alone you should wear the life jacket
  17. attach leash, wear at all times
  18. one person in, then the other

On the Water

  1. watch for clear water - floating debris and snags WILL damage the boat and rudder.
  2. river traffic patterns - stay to the right, know which arch to go through- there are charts on the wall at the front of the second bay of the boat storage building.
  3. Know what/who to watch for, bridge rules, rowers can't see where they are going
  4. the rudder is longer than you think
  5. if you hit something with the front of the boat, stop immediately so you don't hit the rudder
  6. Use logic and common sense for turning, especially in the wind- avoid turning ama-side first into the wind when possible.

Huli drill

  1. hold on to your paddle
  2. hold onto the boat
  3. Slight lean to the right is all it takes.
  4. how to turn the boat upright – get on the non-ama side, reach over and grab the iako and pull it over in a controlled manner.
  5. how to get on the boat-

Returning to the boathouse

  1. one person out, then the other
  2. hull on dock with rudder over edge
  3. remove leash
  4. remove PFDs from boat
  5. get two sets of slings out of the boathouse, set them up in the yard
  6. get at least one PFD for each ama and lay it on the ground near the slings
  7. two people hands on the boat
  8. carry to slings, avoiding contact with everything and communicating with each other
  9. set boat in slings
  10. wash boat with hose
  11. turn the boat over
  12. wipe down with towels
  13. check for damage anywhere and everywhere
  14. two people hands on boat
  15. get lined up in the yard before going through the door
  16. avoid contact with everything
  17. straight into the boathouse
  18. walk all the way until you're lined up with the rack
  19. straight into the rack, avoiding all contact
  20. make sure ama is resting on the rack
  21. make sure 'iakos are not hitting the rack above
  22. sign-in in the log book
  23. shut the bay door and lock it

Notes on Navigation Markers-

Most important thing to remember- these mark the channels for power boats and sail boats. It is good to avoid being in the channel in an OC-1 or OC-2, as the other, bigger boats always have right of way and will delight in crushing you like a bug.

GREEN LATERAL MARKER - Should be kept on your left (port) side when proceeding in the upstream (returning from sea) direction.

RED LATERAL MARKER - Should be kept on your right (starboard) side when proceeding in the upstream (returning from sea) direction.

RED & GREEN LATERAL MARKER - May be passed on either side when proceeding in the upstream direction. The main or preferred channel is indicated by the color of the topmost band.

The area located between a red and green lateral buoy is the navigable channel.

    NUN BUOYS                CAN BUOYS              DAY MARKS

Red cone-shaped markers. Keep this marker on your right (starboard) side when proceeding in the upstream (returning from sea) direction.

Green cylindrical-shaped markers. Keep this marker on your left (port) side when proceeding in the upstream (returning from sea) direction.

Red triangles with even numbers are the equivalent of nun buoys (keep this marker on your right). Green squares with odd numbers are the equivalent of can buoys (keep this marker on your left side).

The numbers that are fixed below day-marks indicate the distance (in miles) to the river mouth.



Display information, such as localities, marinas campsites, etc.


Mark random hazards such as shoals and rocks.


Indicate speed limits, wash restrictions, etc.


Indicate areas where boats are prohibited.


Indicate an obstruction to navigation. Do not pass between this marker and the shoreline.


Used for mooring or securing vessels.