Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility


Communication – Hand Signals

Published Fri 19 May 2023

Communicating with your participants can be difficult when its windy or you have an engine close by. Think about where you position yourself, upwind and out of direct sunlight is most helpful. Try to communicate with sailors using a clear voice, and without shouting. 

To assist with communication afloat, establishing hand and whistle signals before leaving the shore is critical to enhance communication with your sailors, and to assist with group control. Below are some suggested standard hand signals for instructors and coaches to adopt in their session delivery.  

Hand signals should be pre-agreed with your group in the briefing before leaving the shore, as this allows you to ensure that all sailors understand and provides the opportunity for any additional hand signals that might be required for that session. 

Go Home - A whistle signal with both hands above my head in a triangle is - all boats back to shore that is the end of the session. 

Come to me - A whistle signal with both hands-on top of my head is everyone to me- all boats get close to my RIB and stop. 

You come to me - A whistle signal with one hand on my head and the other hand pointing to a boat is that boat to me. 

Follow me - A whistle signal with me pointing to my engine or gesturing to stern of powerboat- is follow my RIB- a useful technique from regrouping your participants. 

Starting hand signals- Instead of using flags, you can use hand signals- useful to improve their starting skills like timings.  

3 minutes - A whistle signal with one hand on my head and the other pointing to my watch. 

2 minutes - A whistle signal with both hands above my head.  

1 minute - A whistle signal with one hand above my head. 

By introducing a few of these standard hand and whistle signals to your sessions, you can reduce the amount of verbal communication required afloat and allow for all participants to follow an instruction simultaneously. 

Be creative and make up your own, just make sure that you establish them in the briefing beforehand.