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POWER BOAT SAFETY
A Note from Luke Evslin
Every team should have a simple change protocol in place. Maybe that protocol will vary depending on the team and their driver, but it needs to be followed regardless of the experience level.
An example could be:
1. Before any paddlers jump into the water the engine needs to be in neutral.
2. A spotter, other than the captain, will verify that the prop is disengaged and will give the call for each paddler to jump.
3. When every paddler has swum well clear of the boat, the spotter will notify the captain that the prop can be engaged.
4. When picking up paddlers the same process will be reversed. The captain will come within swimming distance of the paddlers and then disengage the prop.
5. When the spotter verifies that the prop is disengaged, they will give the call to the paddlers to swim to the idling boat.
It’s up to each of us to enforce that protocol. Until the governing bodies sit down and figure out how they are going to make the race safer (making it an iron race, extending the first change, mandating prop guards, etc), it’s up to each of us to do it for ourselves.
More than anything else, the paddlers, the coaches, and the drivers all need to be aware of the acute danger of propellers. Let’s work together as a community to make sure that nobody gets hit again.
1. Will there be water refill stations available on Molokai before the race?
No. In future years, we hope to have water refill stations available on Molokai at Hale o Lono before the race. We anticipate that with your voluntary pledge to race “single use plastic free” you will make plans before race day to have your water system(s) filled and ready to go. There will be water stations at registration and after the race at the tent.
2. Do you have any recommendations of which water systems I should use come race day?
Yes. We recommend you practice using a 2 or more liter hydration pack (such as a camel pack, Platypus, Geigerrig, etc). The water packs can be filled before the race and placed into your coolers instead of the water bottles. You will need to try the water pack system in the races leading up to Na Wahine, as well as your training runs to see what works and what does not work. You will likely need more than 2 liters of water on race day, consider using 2 water hydration packs, one for water and one for your mixed drinks.
3. What if I run out of water?
Before you pledge to race “single use plastic free” make a plan and discuss scenarios with your coach, escort boat driver, and teammates to refill your water systems with a hydration station that is attached to the escort boat such as an igloo with a water spout. Where you put the igloo and how it is attached must be considered if the water spout is on the bottom. There are other water spouts that can be attached to 5 gallon water tanks. This system has not been tested during a race.
4. I race with water as well as electrolyte drinks like Gatorade and vitamin water can I still race “single use plastic free”?
Yes! Keep in mind, if you are pledging to race “single use plastic” free then bottles of electrolytes should not be used. Instead, practice before race day using powder electrolyte systems. This can be tested during practice or races to determine if your body likes or dislikes certain powdered drinks. Discuss this with your coach, escort boat driver, and team mates so that they do not purchase a case of electrolyte drinks.
5. How do I clean out my hydration pack when I use electrolyte powder?
There are many ways to keep your hydration packs clean. Talk to seasoned paddlers and see what they do, also take a look online for suggestions. A number of paddlers keep their hydration packs in the freezer after they rinse it out and fill it with water so that ice is always in the water pack. There are brush cleaners that can be used but watch out for that mold.
6. Can I use social media to let my community know I am racing “single use plastic free?
Yes! Please do. We want to spread the word throughout the paddling community and world. Check out Na Wahine O Ke Kai’s Facebook and website page (nawahineokekai.com) for suggestions and consider using the hashtag #.
7. I do not like hydration packs, do you have any other suggestions?
You can use your reusable water bottles or reuse bottles that were used previously. Check out the videos
8. I want to race “single use plastic free” but I do not want to ask my teammates to as well, can I still sign up?
Yes! Absolutely. On the registration form, there will be a checkbox for those that want to participate. Please tell your team registration person to check that box on your behalf. Educate your teammates and show them this year how easy it was to do so that they consider doing it next year!
9. How will I get my hydration pack to Molokai?
Talk with your coach, team mates, and escort boat driver to make a plan. Consider filling it up with the water you need for the entire race (more than 4 liters is recommended) and delivering it to your escort boat driver before you go to Molokai. Ask your escort boat driver to put the pack in the cooler so it is waiting for you on race day. Another option, consider bringing your hydration pack with you to Molokai and fill it up with the water you need on race morning and place in your escort boat cooler at Hale o Lono on race morning. MARK your hydration system with your name and consider tying a ribbon on it so it is easy to find come race day.
10. Does this apply to days before the race?
No, but we encourage you to use your reusable bottles. Tap water on Molokai is cleaner than the store bought water. Bring a Brita for your team, or you can use the water dispenser next to the grocery store in kaunakakai.
Frequently Asked Questions Escort boat drivers
1. I want to anchor a refill station on my escort boat to support paddlers that want to race “single use plastic free” do you have any suggestions on where or how to do this?
Mahalo for your support! Every escort boat set up for team racing is different, talk to different escort boat drivers and your team to see what you think will work. Make sure it is anchored in a place that paddlers can easily access during water changes. Please practice during training runs or races leading up Na Wahine o Ke Kai.
2. How can I help my paddlers get their water systems to Molokai?
Set a day and time the week before the race to meet your paddlers. Meet them with a cooler that they can place their water systems. Let them know that you will arrive on race day with their water systems on ice.
3. I usually buy a case of water and case of sports drinks for my paddlers to drink during the race. What should I do instead?
Mahalo for participating and helping Na Wahine o Ke Kai race “single use plastic” free. Work with your team and coach to make a plan to not purchase cases of water. Consider bringing your own water system as well. Practice using a water system during races before NWOKK.