Safety is the #1 priority to make outrigger canoe paddling fun. The information below is intended to be helpful but not inclusive.

Recommended Safety Equipment

  • Personal Floating Device (aka PFD) for each paddler
  • Extra Paddle
  • Bailing Buckets*
  • Basic First Aid*
  • Tow Rope*
  • Charged Very High Frequency (aka VHF) Marine Radio
  • Whistle
  • Light Source

*OC6 only

Recommended Paddling Attire & Other Necessities

Dress appropriately for the weather and water conditions. It’s always smart to wear layers in the Bay Area.

  • Hat
  • Water repellent clothes (e.g., Rash guards, neoprene or board shorts. Refrain from cotton clothing, which will soak up instead of repel water.)
  • Diving shoes, water shoes, or flip flops
  • Sunglasses with strap
  • Sunscreen
  • Paddling or cycling gloves (optional)
  • Paddle or Steering Blade
  • Bottled Water
  • Small Snack (e.g., energy bar)
  • Towel & Change of Clothes

Safety Checklist Before Leaving Site

  • Rigging
  • Iakos
  • Pumps
  • Plugs
  • Rudder Cables
  • Leash
  • PFDs
  • Extra Paddle

The Float Plan

Before leaving the beach for a paddle, the coach or designated person will review the float plan and count the number of canoes and/or paddlers. For everyone’s safety, it’s critical to listen and follow the plan. Regardless of paddling on OC6s or OC1s, a plan must be made and adhered to. Although you are responsible for your personal safety, it’s recommended to identify landmarks to meet up occasionally and take a count. If you need to leave practice early, let someone know.

If an emergency should occur, call 911 or VHF Channel 16. Be prepared to provide the following information:

  • Name & Phone number of the person reporting
  • Description of emergency
  • Location of emergency (e.g., use landmarks, compass directions, GPS coordinates, and distances)
  • Description of boat (Type: Outrigger Canoe, OC6/1 & Color)
  • Survival Gear (6 PFDs)

Understanding Tides & Currents

Check the tides, currents and weather conditions before every paddle. There are multiple web sites (e.g., and apps (e.g., NOAA Weather Radar, World Tides [YEAR], WindandTides, Windy to name a few) that are available online.

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. Tide tables are available online so you can determine the depth of the water in which you are in at any given time.

Currents: 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.

Hypothermia & Heat Emergencies

Paddling in the bay can expose you to both hot and cold weather. It is important to be prepared for these changes. Drink lots of water and wear clothing that protect your skin, and head from the sun. Wear warm clothing (i.e., wear layers like a long sleeve rash guard or two, light-weight jacket, and long pants–all should fit close to the body and be water repellent), 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 is life threatening. Anyone suffering from heat stroke needs to be cooled and 911 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
  • Treatment
  • Move person to cool environment
  • Apply cool, wet towels or sheets
  • If available, place ice or cold packs on the person’s wrist, ankles, groin, armpit, and neck
  • If unconscious, check breathing & pulse


Medical assistance should be given to anyone with hypothermia. Warning signs include:

  • Shivering
  • Impaired judgment
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness
  • Change in level of consciousness
  • Weakness
  • Glassy stare


Check breathing and 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 rhythms. Hot water bottles and chemical heat packs may be used if first wrapped in a towel or blanket before applying. Give warm, non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated liquids to a conscious person only

Safety is a priority at all times on and off the water. After paddling, be aware of your surroundings. It’s always recommended to “buddy up”. It is the last TWO members’ responsibility to turn off our site lights and to lock container and front gate. For all emergencies, call 911 immediately.