Health and Safety for Outrigger Paddling

It is possible you will get wet, end up in the harbour or ocean in a Huli (capsize) or just jump in for a swim. At all times we must respect our environment and keep safe.

The water in Newcastle is usually quite mild at around 15 – 21 degrees C which is very refreshing in summer.

Personal Requirements and Responsibilities

Fitness test
AOCRA regulations state that each club (NOCC) must conduct a 400m swim and treading water test (10mins) for each existing and new members on a yearly basis. A PFD will be required if you cannot perform the tasks required until you gain more skill and can complete them competently.

Drug and Supplement Usage
The use of performance enhancing drugs is strictly prohibited by NOCC. AOCRA website have full details on anti-doping policies.
Alcohol is not advised to be consumed prior or during a paddling session. Boating rules apply the same as a car license.

New or Pre-existing Medical Conditions
If you have a new or pre-existing medical condition you must get approval through your GP to say that Outrigging will not impact or worsen your medical condition.

If you are pregnant and wanting to continue training. Go to your GP and get a medical clearance to state recommendations to training schedules.

Sun protection
As we are on the water during daylight hours. NOCC recommends wearing a sports water sunblock, wearing a long sleeve rash shirt, hat and sunglasses.
Get medical advice for any sun spots that have appeared or you are concerned about.

Hydration is very important in our sport. Before training or a regatta race, we recommend to start hydrating 2 hours before the race starts. Depending on the weather, drink a minimum of 1-2Litres of water. It is also a very good idea to wear a camelpak hydration hose system during a race to top up your water levels, approx 600ml per hour. After a race it is optional to drink some Hydralyte to increase your electrolytes and salt within the body.

Hypothermia is a concern when paddling in cold/windy conditions or when your body cools down after a race. Wear warm protective thermals or a wind jacket.

NOCC Requirements

Personal flotation devices (PFD’s) must be carried in the canoe for all OC1, OC2’s and OC6’s. NOCC Provides 6 PFD’s in each OC6 canoe and inflatable types for those paddling the OC1 & OC2. It is not yet mandatory to wear PFD’s when racing in OC1 & OC2 regattas, but weather conditions or race rules may require wearing them.

Leg Ropes need to be fitted to OC1 & OC2 when racing as per AOCRA Requirements. Their use at other items is strongly recommended.

Coaches and Steerer’s
Our Coach and steerer’s at NOCC have had many years experience in paddling and watersports. They have also undertaking a training in how to coach people and how to paddle correctly. They always pass on their skills and knowledge of the water and conditions to fellow paddlers.

Canoe Maintenance
NOCC Canoes are kept clean and maintained to a safe and acceptable level for Outrigging. Any damages are notified to the coach and he will organise to either fix the damage himself or arrange to get it fixed.

Huli Procedure

All paddlers will be trained for when a Huli occurs, so they are somewhat prepared with knowledge and understanding on how to recover.

A Huli or Capsize is when the outrigger looses balances are rolls over into the water. This can happen with little or no warning. Causes may include paddlers moving their weight side to side with paddle changes, wave and wind conditions under the ama. All paddlers should practice sitting up straight and flexing forward.
See video here

Remain calm, think and act accordingly.

Seating position duties
Seat 1 Responsible for gathering paddles and personal gear (drink bottles etc) that might be floating away.
Seat 2 Along with seat 4, you are to climb over the canoe and lift the ‘Iakos'(arms attaching the hull to the outrigger) to flip the canoe over to the correct side.
Seat 3 Along with seat 4, you are to swim to the ama and in timing with seat 2 & 5 as they lift the canoe, you are to push the ama up out of the water using a scissor kick for power.
Seat 4 See Seat 3.
Seat 5 See seat 2.
Seat 6 When the Huli has just occurred, your responsible for making a head count to insure all paddlers have surfaced and are ok. You then give instructions to help flip the canoe back over. You are to look out for any dangers and make decisions to keep your team safe.

Once the canoe has been flipped over, the strongest 2 paddlers will enter the canoe and start bailing the water out. All other paddlers are to be hanging onto the canoe to keep safe. Seat 1 can add all paddles and equipment back into the boat. Do not try to bail from outside of the boat. Bailing is most efficient done in a seated position with a swinging action. scoop and throw. It is best to bail as fast as you can, so that when the boat is half empty of water, everyone can jump back in and paddle to safer water conditions if needed.

Risk Warning
This is a risk warning given in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Liability Act 2002.
Paddling in an outrigger canoe is a dangerous recreational activity which involves a number of significant risks of physical harm. These recreational activities have a number of obvious risks and a number of risks which are not so obvious. but which are nonetheless significant risks to physical harm.
In engaging in outrigger canoeing, participants are warned of the following risks, death by drowning, death, permanent disability, paralysis, shoulder dislocation, rotator cuff injuries, broken limbs, blisters, back complaints(including disc prolapse), bruising, needle stick injuries, cuts, cuts from broken glass, viral or bacterial infections from water pollution, shark attack, hypothermia, dehydration, sunstroke, skin cancer, exhaustion and lack of concentrations.
A number of the risks identified above are clearly obvious risks and are inherent in the sports, whereas a number of the risks arise from the environment in which the sports are conducted. None of the risks should be ignored or taken lightly.