The Handbook

Righting an Outrigger Canoe


ALWAYS BE READY TO SWIM.  DO NOT CARRY ANYTHING IN THE BOAT THAT YOU ARE NOT READY TO LOSE TO THE WATER (including wallets jewelry, watches, clothes, cell phones, keys, etc).

Huli 1Make no mistake about it, at some point in time you will find yourself in the water and always hold onto your paddle.

  1. COUNT HEADS – Steersperson take control and have each paddler count off starting with seat 1.  If you come up one short, start searching under the wa’a.
  2. Have one person collect the paddles, usually seat 6 if possible.  Also, any items left in the wa’a and not tied down if possible (i.e. water bottles, bailers, etc.)
  3. If there are large swells reposition the boat, this is the job of seat 1. swell direction
  4. Seats 2 and 4 go to the outer ends of the iakos and stand on them while reaching over the hull and grabbing onto the gunnel or iakos and lift (make sure no one is in the way of the ama as it is hard and  the skull is soft).  If successful and your gunnels aren’t awash, you can bail out your wa’a.


  5. If done quickly enough you can minimize the amount of water that fills the wa’a, seats 3 and/or 5 (Because of the large bailing area and they are nearest to the center of gravity of the wa’a) but keep someone on the ama so it doesn’t go over again.

  6. Bail

  7. When the steersperson tells you to get back into the boat you may do so and begin to paddle.paddle

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