Professor Paddle: Whistlin' Dixie!
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Matt Haverly
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  Quote Matt Haverly Replybullet Posted: 30 Apr 2016 at 10:20am
A whistle is so effective, so cheap, and so small and easy to keep on you. I was rescuing a couple boats and paddles and got far downstream from the swimmers. I had to hike back up the bank and to the road and through some private property with the permission of the land owners (the bank was impassable along the river and the current to fast along the steep bank to paddle upstream). I used the whistle to get the attention of the property owner so that I would not surprise them at close proximity - this was effective. I explained later my intent for using the whistle and they very much appreciated it. I continued using the whistle periodically to let the swimmers who were long out of sight know my location and that I was making my way back to them. They did not have a whistle but the used their fingers to whistle loud back and let me know the same. 2 rescued boats and one out of 2 rescued paddles later, we were able to find each other after getting separated rather quickly.
Matt Haverly
Sultan, Washington
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megspk
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  Quote megspk Replybullet Posted: 30 Apr 2016 at 10:33am
Sounds like a s#^t show...do you know your whistle signals?
A strong person and a waterfall always channel their own path. -Unknown

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  Quote Matt Haverly Replybullet Posted: 30 Apr 2016 at 10:54am
No - I don't know whistle signals. To be honest so few people have whistles I don't think it helps if you are the only one who knows whistle signals and nobody else. You know? But I agree that a crew that uses a set of whistle signals effectively certainly is a solid idea. Getting the attention of crew earlier via whistle (as opposed to shouting or whatever) can make such a difference especially in a swim with gear lost/compromised or an entrapment situation - as sometimes just a short distance in a swift section of river with steep impassable banks can make for so much time added to get to the upstream person.
Matt Haverly
Sultan, Washington
matthaverlymobile@gmail.com
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megspk
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  Quote megspk Replybullet Posted: 30 Apr 2016 at 11:56am
I would have to say the majority of paddlers do and should wear a whistle. The river is a loud place to be and yelling does not always work for communicating. There are standard hand signals that every paddler should know and whistle signals that every paddler should know. These are used in all forms of whitewater fun, not just in kayaking.

Here's a good link for the whistle signals:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U85sUIrcqtU

Here's the link on AW for the hand/paddle signals.
http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/Wiki/safety:start

Everyone should know these signals and if they don't, teach them. It takes no more than 5 minutes to go over the whistle and hand/paddle signals.

Edited by megspk - 30 Apr 2016 at 11:56am
A strong person and a waterfall always channel their own path. -Unknown

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  Quote irenen Replybullet Posted: 30 Apr 2016 at 4:44pm
Just reading through this thread it seems like there's a huge range of types of whistle blasts that people interpret various ways and the only consistent variable is that people agree that people are used to interpreting different things. I agree with a few people from earlier on that having one long blast for trouble keeps it simpler than wondering if two short blasts meant trouble upstream or three short blasts meant trouble downstream, etc.  But I can't say I make a practice of checking with whatever crew I'm putting on with what they are used to as far as whistle signals, which would be a great idea. Sounds like a good job on the clean-up Matt by the way. :)
It's all fun and games until someone loses a paddle.
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Matt Haverly
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  Quote Matt Haverly Replybullet Posted: 30 Apr 2016 at 9:11pm
Irene, I think I need to hand you a whistle just to referee in PP threads. :)

YES YES - you don't need to roll to do whitewater kayaking! Yes yes - everybody knows all the whistle signals and has a whistle!!!! Please please - no more negative props!!!!   

Matt Haverly
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  Quote megspk Replybullet Posted: 01 May 2016 at 7:57am
There is definitely more than one way to utilize a whistle, this forum topic is a great example of that!

After reading all the posts, I discovered I typically go with one blast for attention and then repeated whistle blows for help or an emergency. I have used/heard a good short loud blast to indicate a swimmer also (attention!). The upstream and downstream whistle signal options may get confusing and not everyone knows the specifics.

I don't use my whistle for basic communication on the river (but I'm also not paddling g5 where I may not be able to visualize my boating partners), This is where the hand and paddle signals come into play for communication.

Whistles used in excess are annoying and lose their "attention" grabbing factor.

BTW Haverly, I didn't dish the negatives your way, must be another friend of yours!

A strong person and a waterfall always channel their own path. -Unknown

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Matt Haverly
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  Quote Matt Haverly Replybullet Posted: 01 May 2016 at 12:50pm
Well, I've got friends in low places. I do live in Sultan after all... :)

We now return to your regularly scheduled programming (something to do with whistles I believe)
Matt Haverly
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matthaverlymobile@gmail.com
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