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Emergency Guidelines (inc PFDs)

Emergency Drills


The club uses two types of life-vests/PFDs in the OC6. If you choose not to wear a PFD at all times you need to know how to put on both types of PFDs while in the water.

The large orange Lalizas 70169 is designed for use on commercial vessels. The instructions assume that the lifevest is put on before entering the water it is much harder to put on while in the water. To use:

  1. Unclip belt (this requires pushing the clip together)
  2. Loosen the belt
  3. Put the jacket over your head
  4. Clip and tighten waist belt

The Palm Glide inflatable waistbelt is designed to be inflated in the water. Please watch this video:

To repack please watch

Remember PFDs not life-jackets

We carry PFDs which provide flotation but do not guarantee that the wearer if unconscious will float with the head clear of the water. Please check the Royal National Lifeboat Institutes guide to lifejackets .

Situational Emergency Recommendations

The following are some guidelines for some emergency situations. These do not replace commonsense and each situation will have to be assessed for the most correct course of action.


  1. Do not paddle alone.
  2. PFDs: Wear unless you are a strong swimmer. Put a PFD on first in an emergency.
  3. Paddle with a mobile phone.
  4. Follow your coach/session leaders/steerer’s instructions.
  5. Seek attention from other boats when in trouble (yell, wave, whistle or use flare)
  6. Stabilize situation and any injury.
  7. Stay with your boat.
  8. Boats stay together if practical.
  9. Head for safety if possible or send another boat for help.
  10. Don’t hesitate to call Middle Island Rescue or Marine Search & Rescue or use a flare.
  11. Don’t expect help to arrive without notifying someone.
  12. Where possible, you should stay together. If you cannot make headway to safety then a decision must be made to separate and send a boat for help before more boats are in trouble.

Injury in OC:

  1. Seek support from other boats – yell, whistle, wave paddle (if possible).
  2. Stabilize injury (e.g. drink for dehydration, rest muscle strain, etc)
  3. Head home or to nearest beach to seek medical attention.

Equipment failure resulting in inability to make way (make progress):

  1. Stay with boat.
  2. Seek support from other boats.
  3. Arrange a tow if possible.
  4. If no tow possible, check current direction and wind to see heading. Call Marine Search & Rescue or send another boat for help.
  5. Continue to stay with boat and try to attract attention from any vessel until help arrives.

Unable to recover a huli (cannot bail a boat):

  1. Stay with boat – stay physically holding boat.
  2. Seek support from other boats.
  3. Flip boat backwards and forwards again and keep trying to bail but stop before exhausted.
  4. Call Middle Island Marine Rescue, Marine Search & Rescue or send another boat for help.
  5. Continue to stay with the boat and try to attract attention from any vessel until help arrives.

Cannot make progress against tide, waves or wind:

  1. Seek support from other boats.
  2. Look for alternative route to safety or shelter.
  3. Stay together if possible but if getting blown into danger (e.g. out to sea) then if stronger boat can make headway they should head for help.

Getting washed or blown onto the rocks:

  1. Seek attention from other boats (rescue by other boats is not recommended near rocks).
  2. Do NOT stay with your boat as you approach the rocks. Most injuries are caused by being crushed between boat and rocks (even if it’s a light boat).
  3. Try to get a lifejacket or other buoyancy aid that won’t damage you if you get washed onto the rocks.
  4. Swim towards the safest place to exit the water (shore or another boat).

Canoes can and will occasionally get damaged in normal use but it is unacceptable for damage to be caused through abuse on land or in the boat shed and/or the loss of equipment due to carelessness. We encourage all members to respect the canoes, comply with the usage rules and enable the club to maintain these fun boats in a seaworthy condition for all the members going forward.  Any damage should be reported as soon as practically possible to the Rowing and Paddle Sports Manager and the Outrigger Co-ordinator and/or the club coach and/or the session leader.

Note:if you are involved in an incident you must complete the 'incident report form' and forward to the  Rowing and Paddle Sports Managerand the Outrigger Coordinator. Please refer to “Reporting Accidents” Section in this document.

Calling for help

Who to call:

  • Marine rescue/police (primary contact number): 999
  • Middle Island: 2812 0365
  • Kellett Island: 2832 2817
  • Hong Kong Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (for non-coastal water rescue):
    2233 7999 or 2545 0181 / Fax : (852) 2541 7714 / E-mail :

Finding your specific location:

You can use google maps to find your (decimal degrees) longitude and latitude. Open google maps and drop a pin (touch the screen at your location). Then scroll down to see your GPS coordinates. The image to the left is for just to the South of Kissing Whales off Cape D’Aguilar.

Another option is to share your location using WhatsApp: (1) open WhatsApp (2) select group to share location with (3) press + and select location (4) select share
live location for 8 hours.



Resuscitation in the water

If a paddler is not breathing you do not have time to take them to shore to perform mouth-to-mouth. In deep water:

Position the victim face up, extending the neck to open the airway. This can be accomplished by a single trained rescuer with the aid of appropriate lifesaving equipment (a rescue tube, rescue can, rescue board, bodyboard, etc.) or by two or more trained rescuers without lifesaving equipment. When performed in deep water, this is a difficult procedure, requiring extreme fitness, swimming ability, a flotation device and prior training. Do not check victim’s pulse or attempt compressions while in the water. These are difficult, inefficient and will slow the rescue process.

Reporting Accidents

In the event of any incident, however small, there is a form to fill out and submit to the Rowing Manager and Outrigger Coordinator.  In events of minor damage it is a way of making sure the damage gets repaired. Any incident, no matter how small that causes damage or injury must be reported.  Please use the following form to submit a report.

Click Here for RHKYC Member / Guest Accident Report Form

Or use this link to access the Member / Guest Accident Report Form:

In more serious cases of equipment damage, injury etc. the Club can assist with reports to Marine Police if required etc.


What events would require the safety bag ?

  • Ability to attract rescue
  • Re-rigging/repairing ama
  • Towing
  • Cutting rope
  • Injured paddler
  • Lost/navigation problems
  • Jelly fish stings

Swimming test

  • Two minutes tread water
  • Swim from the shark net to repulse bay beach (longest distance) and back
  • Compulsory PFD wearing for weakswimmers

OC1 solo minimizing risk

  • Wear a PFD
  • Mobile phone - consider sharing location via WhatsApp
  • Inform plan and return time (SARTIME)
  • Spare paddle
  • Leg leash
  • Water

Glossary of items:

Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club:also known as ‘The Club’

Paddlers:‘Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club member’s who pay the active rowing fee and are registered on Team Snap. Development Course fee payers, prospective members who have signed up and paid for a three month development course. Guests of Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club members who have signed a waiver and are joining club sessions on a temporary basis.

Steers Person:The ‘steersperson is the paddler, who when seated in an OC6, navigates the vessel with a paddle and in an OC2 or OC1 navigates the vessel with the foot pedals controlling the rudder.  All communication within the boat should be channeled through the steersperson who ultimately is responsible for making any decisions and judgment calls with the well-being of the crew in mind.

Session Leader:The paddler who is the designated leader of any club organised training session and is the central point of control and communication between all crews and boats taking part in the session.  The session leader will liaise with the club coach with regards to the session plan but make decisions based on their assessment of the level of experience of the paddlers involved in the session and the prevailing weather conditions. 

Club Coach:The paddler who is the designated coach and makes decisions on the session plan, crew formation based on their assessment of the level of experience of the paddlers involved in the session.  Please note that the Club Coach can also be the session leader but will delegate this responsibility when he/she does not attend a club organised session. 

Club organised sessions include:regular training sessions organised and documented on team snap. Paddlers sign up to participate in the session. Crews are defined and boats allocated by the club coach or session leader. Development course fee payers are only granted access to Team Snap after they have completed a waiver and for development course members, paid the fee in advance.  Guests of club members must sign a waiver when attending a club organised session and make themselves known along with their previous paddling experience to the Club Coach and/or Session Leader.

Races:these include domestic and international races where paddlers are representing the club.

Free paddling sessions:Paddlers sign out club equipment using google calendar. Only paddlers with access to team snap are allowed access to google calendars. It is recommended that paddlers sign out in the book at middle island boat house and sign back in on their return. It is strongly recommended that paddlers do not go out alone.

Competent swimmer:Paddlers need to demonstrate that they are comfortable in water. The minimum is the ability to swim from the shark nets to repulse bay beach and back in normal paddle clothing, tread water / float unaided for two minutes and be able to get back into an OC6 from water level.

Huli:Capsize or overturning of the canoe.  A huli is an expected and inevitable part of outrigger canoe paddling.  Sooner or later, you will experience a huli and each paddler should know how to safely deal with a huli and right the canoe.  Always be ready to swim.  Do not carry anything in the boat that you are not ready prepared to get wet.  At some point you will find yourself in the water.  When you do, stay calm and do not panic.


(Remarks: click  here  to get a pdf copy.)