When to whistle when NOT to whistle - Mountain Buzz

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Old 07-23-2009   #1
3, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 89
When to whistle when NOT to whistle

I was curious if there was a specific whistle "code of ethics" out there. I was thinking that you use your whistle only in dire emergencies BUT as I read through the various post it seems like people use their whistle for various things ie "come on down, the rapid is clear" or "Ok, I threw come on down" OR "he give me another beer" OR "whistle to get another boats attention for various reason".
So it got me thinking, I've never seen any formal "code of ethics" with whistle so I'm asking what your opinion is?

Thanks for any feedback,
Scotty V.

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Old 07-23-2009   #2
Pugetopolis, Washington
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 767
Whistle=when someone is swimming,and not on purpose.
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Old 07-24-2009   #3
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Bham, Washington
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 463
1 whistle blow = everything okay, come through
2 whistle blow = hold on somethings ups
3 whistle blows = shit just hit the fan, coming running with a throwbag and rescue gear.

Some people prefer to not use 2 whistle blows as it can be confusing on the river.
The high side of good - Daniel D
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Old 07-24-2009   #4
TakemetotheRiver's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 05
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,479
Signals should always be reviewed prior to hitting the stretch with the crew you are with that day.
"There is NOTHING--absolute nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Look here! If you've really nothing else on hand this morning, supposing we drop down the river together, and have a long day of it?" -Wind in the Willows
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Old 07-24-2009   #5
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 347
1 Whistle = Pay attention
Many Whistles = Shit just got weird (unsafe)
2 Whistles = Check out that hot piece of ass over there (usually only at the boulder play park).
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Old 07-24-2009   #6
niwot, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 96
swimmer only

Originally Posted by TakemetotheRiver View Post
Signals should always be reviewed prior to hitting the stretch with the crew you are with that day.
best advice here-
I personally only use a whistle to mean a swimmer- then my crew doesn't have to either remember or decide who many whistles they heard- long short etc. The exception would be the complex set of whistle commands used when using a high end rescue (lower) system- but this is usually beyond the scope of the training or gear that's carried.
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Old 07-24-2009   #7
Davis, California
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 71
when guiding
1 whistle was hey look at me/pay attention
3 was oh shit panic.

i don't remember if we had a 2.
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Old 07-24-2009   #8
Boulder, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 130
3 Whistles -- there is a major disaster or danger, come running, watch out, etc.

as many as it takes..-- when throwing to a swimmer and you do not have eye contact.

Other then that in general a whistle should probably not be used.

However after saying that last bit.. I believe that the above should generally apply in situations where you may have many different groups paddling (e.g. say the Ark, or the Poudre). If too many people are out there blowing just one whistle blast meaning "hey pay attention" or watch me, or it's clear, or... it could sound to someone outside the groups the "dreaded" 3 whistle blows. Think of a garage full of cars with several car alarms going off -- they will eventual get ignored.

On the flip side, one group, with proper proper communication on the meaning of the different whistle blows, a whistle can be a very good means of communication. For example say safety has been set up for a sketchy drop and the eddy where the paddlers start from is out of the line of sight from the safety group. The safety could use a whistle to signal that it's now clear and the next boater may proceed.

btw -- a lot of this should be covered in a good swiftwater rescue class...
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Old 07-24-2009   #9
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 834
1 whistle = something bad just happened (like a swimmer) or something bad is about to happen (like you are going to get stuffed under a log if you blow past this eddy), HEADS UP

a bunch of whistles = something really bad just happened, someone is going to die if you don't do the right thing right now, HEADS UP
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Old 07-24-2009   #10
Cisco, Utah
Paddling Since: Dawn
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 351
Don't get complicated with this. A whistle blast is just a way to get the attention of someone who can't hear you. 3 repeated is universally accepted for "Emergency". Anything other than this is covered in the scope of rescue training. If you don't have this training you shouldn't be guessing into it.

I rarely use my whistle, but do use it occasionally and think it is an important thing to have. Pulled a guy out from getting sucked under a sieve once cause he was able to get to his whistle. Would have never seen him without this. He certainly got his $2 worth out of his whistle...

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