Important Changes since 2021

The event management committee takes the safety of all paddlers very seriously, as previously undertaken a comprehensive review of last year incidents and the RPM Committee are continually reviewing the ways in which wecan improve the safety of the event.  To this end, we have implemented some additional mandatory safety requirements for all paddlers. We have implemented these new requirements after reviewing of known incidents in past events and to also comply as a minimum with International Marathon Rules.

Safety Equipment – All paddlers are required to comply, penalties up to disqualification will be imposed for breeches.

1. All participants are to wear an appropriate personal flotation device (PFD) whose construction meets Or exceeds Australian Standards for PFD Level 50 or PFD Level 50S (previously known as PFD Type 2 and PFD Type 3) at all times while on the water. The (PFD) must show evidence that it meets Australian Standards (AS) and has the necessary internal labels reflecting the (AS). 

PFDs should be the correct size for the wearer and be adjusted correctly whilst on the water. A whistle attached to the buoyancy aid for emergency use is recommended to enable a person to attract attention.

Inflatable Level 150 PFDs are not considered suitable and/or not approved under the Paddle Australia Safety Guidelines. They provide no buoyancy without action by the wearers, who may be incapacitated and therefore unable to inflate them.

2. All paddlers Must carry with them the following mandatory equipment
— Space blanket (carried on person – in pocket on PFD)
— Spare clothing (carried in a dry-bag attached to boat)
— Pea-Less Whistle – attached to PFD   – implemented 2015
— Waterproof torch  – compulsory for all 200, 200 Relay and 100 Paddlers, optional for all other paddlers. – implemented 2015
— Mobile Phone – Where you have a mobile phone, carry it in a waterproof bag (suggestion is double bagged inside zip-loc plastic bags)  Have phone turned OFF unless required.  At briefings, safety phone number will be provided.
— Drinking water and snacks

3. Competitors must comply at all times with the rules of the river as laid down by SA Harbors and Navigation Act 1993 & Harbors and Navigation Regulations 2009. The most obvious of the navigation rules (including canoes and kayaks) to be followed are in a river such as the River Murray keep to the right hand side of the waterway in the direction you are travelling as far as is practicable. Jutting snags, sandbars etc, can denote the navigable channel. Note that not only is it illegal but it is very dangerous to cut corners on the wrong side of the river.

Non-compliance with racing rules renders the competitors liable for time penalties or disqualification and possible exclusion from the event.


In the event of a capsize, at least one paddler must stop, we would prefer two paddlers to  provide assistance to crew/s who they consider are in difficulty, the event officials would request that the recusing paddler does not proceed until the capsized paddler/s is back in the craft and underway.

We would appreciate if the rescuing paddler can report the position of the boat, boat number and number of people involved to the nearest event official downstream. The Race Director will make time adjustments for claims of lost time by paddlers providing assistance.

The paddler who capsizes will be required to report in at the next check point to meet our Canoe Medics to ensure their wellbeing is considered before completing the event.

Before registering for the event start on the following day, all those paddler/s involved in a capsize MUST be assessed by the Canoe Event Medics who will signed off the reportable incident form before being allowed back on the water.

Number Holders – All craft must have a number holder to attach the provided race number which includes an electronic timing tag.

** The purpose of carrying a mobile phone is in the event of a medical emergency that you can call and alert the Race Director or Communications/Safety team to request assistance.

Paddler Safety

So you’ve done all your preparation. You’ve been training for months and increasing your distances. The weather looks okay, not perfect – cold with possible rain and light head winds.

During the first day things are going well until suddenly one of the rudder wires breaks and the boat skews into the middle of the river and is caught by a wave.

You tip in. When you swim back to the bank you can’t find a place to repair the boat so you stand in waist deep water and make a temporary repair – 10 minutes.

You are then very cold and manage to get back in the boat and continue.

The rudder wire breaks again – you’ve not warmed from last time and the rudder looks beyond repair……

The RPM has a number of measures in place to ensure your experience is as safe as possible. Please be aware of the following safety measures to help you in times of trouble.


The RPM takes place during winter and can be very wet, windy and cold. Wear adequate clothing to stay warm and dry. All paddlers are required to carry additional warm dry clothes, a windproof & water proof jacket, a space blanket and high energy food and drink. If you are forced off the water before the end of the day, stay warm and eat something to recover.

While the RPM officials will make every effort to render timely assistance, the nature of the course means that you need to be prepared and self-reliant.

Emergency Evacuation Points

There are Emergency Points located approximately every 10 km along the course. These are manned by RPM officials to observe boats as they pass. Display your boat number clearly so that officials can see it from the bank.

The Emergency Points are marked on the course maps which can be download of the website.

These points are accessible by road and are well sign posted from the main road. If you need to withdraw from the event try to get to one of these points.

Rescue Boats

The rescue boats provide an invaluable service in ensuring paddler safety. They are manned with experienced staff and can help you re-enter your craft or pick you and your boat up if you have withdrawn between emergency points. If you require their assistance, please hail them down – it is sometimes difficult to see a paddler on the bank.

First Aid

Qualified First Aiders are on hand at checkpoints to help with urgent medical requirements and injuries. Please ensure your medical details are up to date as this will help the first aiders to provide the quickest care.

If you are driving

Please be careful driving. We share road access to the river with others. Ensure your boats are secure on the car or trailer before driving. If you are tired, let someone else do the driving or rest.