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to mean "ok"... any theories? Noticed in the opening scene to cool hand luke one of the guys on the chain gang signaling with a head tap...any correlation?
 

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Renaissance *******
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I learned it in dive cert class so I always assumed it came from scuba
 

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Head tap bad

The "head tap" signal should be done away with, or at least everybody needs to come to an agreement on exactly what it means. As far as I can tell it means "are you OK?", "I am OK", and "Heads Up", depending on who you are and what situation you are in. That is very confusing. A hand signal should mean one and only one thing. I guided rafts with a guy who would basically do sign language to me as we were floating down the river. Nobody knew what any of his hand signals meant except for him.

It has probably been done before on this forum, but it would be great to have a discussion of the different hand signals and their meaning. If there is another thread on this, then direct me to it.
 

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Scuba here too, and found it pretty universal, at least as universal as I traveled (Hawaii and Honduras). Most people seemed to think it was the O of OK, which is weird if it is truly universal because english really isn't. Just because someone doesn't know the norms doesn't mean it should be thrown out, it's outlined quite well in every rescue manual I've read. I'd say it's best to talk to the person who isn't following the river signal norms and try to educate.

I wonder if it goes back to military/navy. My dad always used it for lake boating growing up, he had no scuba/river training, but was in the navy on subs.
 

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Renaissance *******
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Yep. Scuba signals are "OK" with fingers circle for close range and head tap for OK at distance. All the boaters I know use the head tap for ok, paddle up for clear=come/go on and point with blade to indicate direction.
 

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Renaissance *******
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All the boaters I know use the head tap for ok,
Except when EL Flaco is on the trip then I use the head tap for "Fuck you"
 

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I always used it to mean "I'm Ok are you OK?"...obviously the reply is without the "are u ok"
:)

Cant wait to be sitting in some rapids soon using it...3-4 months :(
 

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well since this is a paddles form, is everything ok, same page kida thing.

With cranes and rigging it means use the main hoist of the crane.
 

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As long as we're on the topic of river signals, I have a question about whistle signals. I've been having a running argument with a friend about the proper whistle signal for an emergency (swimmer, flipped raft, etc.). Every rescue manual I've read and class I've taken uses 3 whistle blows for an emergency..... SOS..... universal distress signal. Many people I boat with also use one whistle blow for a non-emergent "heads up, pay attention" signal. My friend says that I'm wrong. That it's 2 whistle blows for a swimmer or emergency involving others, and 3 whistle blows if you (the whistle blower) need help. He claims to have learned this at a very reputable swiftwater rescue course. As far as I can see the AWA only lists the 3 whistle blow for any emergency. No matter what I say, my friend won't give up his position on this. If I'm drowning/getting thrashed/about to hit a rock/etc, I'm probably not going to be blowing my whistle once, twice, three times, or at all. I'm probably praying that someone blows their damn whistle so I can get a little help. What say you all????
I any case, I guess it's best to discuss all river signals with your group at the start of a trip to make sure everyone's on the same page..... even if that means sign language that someone makes up.
KJ
 

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Seeing as it's Thanksgiving, I wonder if you're really just wanting to talk turkey legs and Schlitz.

No, seriously, good question, I am in the school of thought that whistles are used all over the place differently. While there is an pretty well documented "rule", I know around here at home I don't see people following it. If shit happens, blow your whistle because it's the only way to get other people's attention. If I hear a whistle, any kind number or duration, I assume trouble and go to see what is up, what I can do, is there a swimmer, what? If I first see a swimmer or other trouble, my whistle is going loud, long, and often. I think it's really easy to miss the count on blasts, or some of the blasts, and have a miscommunication, and I'm going to keep blowing until someone gets the message - look at me, see what I have to say or signal from there.

If I'm a swimmer, I have yet to be in a situation where there wasn't another person blowing a whistle to get attention, so I've not needed to do so. I agree with you, if I can get that thing in my mouth and shove air through it, one, two, three blasts, whatever, just please look for trouble when you hear a whistle.

With luck, if you hear a whistle it may be just a single blast for getting attention (I've sometimes done that), but when I'm on the receiving end I'm always expecting and preparing to deal with trouble. Just in case.

You are absolutely right, the most important thing is to go over those things with your group, safety talks are not just for commercials and multi-days. Time to re-read rescue books over the winter.
 

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I had never heard of the 2 whistle thing, so I had to look at my books. None of my books refer to 2 whistles, and my two main river rescue books (Walbridge/sundmacher) & (Bechdel/Ray) actually only refer to 3 blasts. My manual received in guide school is the only one that refers to a single blast, and it is "look at me for more signals, possible emergency". It also references the 3 blasts, especially fast and long and short following each other, like sos. I have at least one more book, which I haven't dug out for now.

My Rescue 3 book, received during a Swiftwater Rescue Tech course, is even more confusing. 1 blast is "stop or attention". 2 is "attention upstream or pull boat upstream". 3 is "attention downstream or pull boat downstream. 3 blasts long and repeated is emergeny or rescue.

So while I wait for my pumpkin cheese in a waterbath to finish (very scary stuff!) cooking, I wonder what/if a layperson can surmise is the standard rule is for whistle blasts. I just go back to my previous post, especially safety talks before boating.

Happy Thanksgiving Buzzards!
 

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Renaissance *******
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2,3 -20 if I'm in trouble I expect I'll be blowing the hell out of my whistle until my lungs are full of water and it makes a little fountain out of the top
 

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As long as we're on the topic of river signals, I have a question about whistle signals. I've been having a running argument with a friend about the proper whistle signal for an emergency (swimmer, flipped raft, etc.). Every rescue manual I've read and class I've taken uses 3 whistle blows for an emergency..... SOS..... universal distress signal. Many people I boat with also use one whistle blow for a non-emergent "heads up, pay attention" signal. My friend says that I'm wrong. That it's 2 whistle blows for a swimmer or emergency involving others, and 3 whistle blows if you (the whistle blower) need help. He claims to have learned this at a very reputable swiftwater rescue course. As far as I can see the AWA only lists the 3 whistle blow for any emergency. No matter what I say, my friend won't give up his position on this. If I'm drowning/getting thrashed/about to hit a rock/etc, I'm probably not going to be blowing my whistle once, twice, three times, or at all. I'm probably praying that someone blows their damn whistle so I can get a little help. What say you all????
I any case, I guess it's best to discuss all river signals with your group at the start of a trip to make sure everyone's on the same page..... even if that means sign language that someone makes up.
KJ
This isn't going to help, but you'll laugh your ass off.

http://www.mountainbuzz.com/forums/f11/bout-lost-my-life-yesterday-18716.html
 

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3 blasts - trouble, sos etc. this is fairly universal.

The others are less well defined. 1 for look at me or yes. 2 for no. Some places have intricate schemes for lowering boats or doing other tasks. Always talk to your group, odd person out needs to conform to the groups standards.
 

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Kjirsten
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I actually learned the complicated, 1=heads up, 2=look upstream, 3=look downstream signals in guide school. The few times Ive needed my whistle or someone with me did, that system goes out the window. Everyone I know now only uses 1 for heads up and 3 for an emergency. Much easier and gets the job done. Ohhh and a continuous loud whistle on flatwater means I need more beer/whiskey over here.
I had never heard of the 2 whistle thing, so I had to look at my books. None of my books refer to 2 whistles, and my two main river rescue books (Walbridge/sundmacher) & (Bechdel/Ray) actually only refer to 3 blasts. My manual received in guide school is the only one that refers to a single blast, and it is "look at me for more signals, possible emergency". It also references the 3 blasts, especially fast and long and short following each other, like sos. I have at least one more book, which I haven't dug out for now.

My Rescue 3 book, received during a Swiftwater Rescue Tech course, is even more confusing. 1 blast is "stop or attention". 2 is "attention upstream or pull boat upstream". 3 is "attention downstream or pull boat downstream. 3 blasts long and repeated is emergeny or rescue.

So while I wait for my pumpkin cheese in a waterbath to finish (very scary stuff!) cooking, I wonder what/if a layperson can surmise is the standard rule is for whistle blasts. I just go back to my previous post, especially safety talks before boating.

Happy Thanksgiving Buzzards!
 
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