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General Rules for all Craft
  • Kayaks are defined as all craft propelled by double-bladed paddles, unless they comply with SLSA surf ski specifications.

  • Canoes are defined as sit in craft, propelled only by single-bladed paddles, unless they comply with Outrigger Association specifications.

  • Paddles must not be supported on the boat.


All craft must have hand held paddles.

  • No mechanical devices will be allowed.

  • All craft must carry sufficient buoyancy to remain floating level when full of water.

  • All paddlers must be facing forward.

GPS Trackers 

GPS trackers, supplied by Track Me Live, are used in the  event to enable the  progress of paddlers to be monitored locally, nationally and internationally.  Their use is mandatory for this year’s event. 

Craft Buoyancy

All craft must have sufficient fixed buoyancy for the craft to float upright and horizontal when completely filled with water. Buoyancy will be assessed during scrutineering and if found to be inadequate, the craft must be rectified or automatically be disqualified from the event.
Some manufactured craft do NOT have enough buoyancy to meet this rule. It is the paddler’s responsibility to be prepared for our higher- than-normal standards.

The following are acceptable forms of buoyancy:-

  • Airbags which cannot be dislodged.

  • Foam fixed in position.

  • Core mat.

  • Air-tight compartments with secure hatches.

Advertising on Craft

Promotion for sponsors, supporters and paddlers is permitted (and encouraged) on craft entered in the Hawkesbury Canoe Classic.
All money raised from advertising or sponsorship must be donated to the Hawkesbury Canoe Classic Association Inc. No paddler or landcrew is permitted to raise funds for any other charity due to participation in the Hawkesbury Canoe Classic.


The Hawkesbury Canoe Classic has an outstanding safety record which is partly due to the strict control the organisers put on the standard and use of lifejackets.

All paddlers must wear an appropriate fastened lifejacket that complies with the Marine Safety Regulation 2016 (under the Marine Safety Act 1998) at all times whilst on the water during the Hawkesbury Canoe Classic and Wisemans Dash events.

Lifejackets which conform are those which meet performance Level 50S of Australian Standard “AS 4758 Lifejackets” (as in force from time to time) that complies with the requirements set out in Schedule 7 for that lifejacket.”

Schedule 7 states:

Lifejacket Level 50S or greater is a lifejacket that meets: 

(a) performance standard 50S, 50, 100, 150 or 275 of Australian Standard AS 4758 Lifejackets (as in force from time to time), or

(b) any standard or specifications approved by RMS.

Any standard or specification approved by the Roads & Maritime Service.

This means that in addition to those Lifejackets of AS 4758, we will accept  AS 1499 – 1996 Personal Flotation Devices – Type 2, European Standard EN 393 – 1993 – 50N, AS 2260 – 1996 Personal Flotation Devices Type 3 or European Standard EN 393 – 1993. All lifejackets must be in good condition and “fit for purpose”

Roads and Maritime NSW grant an Aquatic Licence to run the event and the organisers are required to abide by certain rules and legislation in accordance with the granting of that licence.


ISO Standard Lifejackets

The legislation refers to standards for lifejackets being AS4758 and some European Standards. It does not mention an International Standard.

Manufacturers providing a letter to the Hawkesbury Canoe Classic Association Inc. stating that their lifejackets with ISO 12402-5 Standard met or exceeded AS4758 may be accepted for use in the Hawkesbury Canoe Classic and Wisemans Dash. 

Vaikobi, Mocke and ZHIK Lifejackets have complied and will be accepted by the organisers of the 2017 events.

Inflatable lifejackets are not permitted.

It is an event requirement that your lifejacket must be properly fastened at all times whilst on the water.

Ensure that you re-fasten your lifejacket before leaving checkpoints, especially if you remove it to change clothes. Paddlers detected not obeying this rule will be disqualified and directed to leave the course. It is the paddler’s responsibility to ensure all compulsory safety equipment is fit for the purpose for which it is designed.


Each craft must be inspected at Windsor and checked for seaworthiness, buoyancy, compulsory equipment and compliance with Craft Specifications. Entry will be refused by the Chief Scrutineer if all requirements are not met. All craft will be checked again by the marshals as they go through the Start “gates” and may be re-checked during the event and at the Finish.

Compulsory Equipment

Each paddler must have the equipment listed below. You must present it all for checking at scrutineering and when you go through marshalling. The Hawkesbury Canoe Classic is a demanding event that is run mainly at night so your safety equipment must be in good working order. Compulsory equipment can be checked at any time throughout the event by officials. If you are missing this equipment you may be disqualified.

Each paddler must have:
  • A lifejacket as above.

  • “Pea-less” whistle. This must be attached to the paddler’s lifejacket via a short string. Toy whistles are not suitable.

  • Waterproof light. Must be powered by at least one AA or multi AAA size battery and have an LED globe with a reflector. This light must be attached to the paddler’s lifejacket by a string/lanyard.

  • Emergency blanket. This must be carried securely either in or on the lifejacket of the paddler at all times while in the craft.

  • Sufficient solid food and drink.

  • Headgear. For protection against prevailing conditions.

All juniors must also have:
  • Cyalume light. Affixed to the back of their lifejacket.

Each craft must have:
  • Waterproof torch: Additional to the lifejacket light with LED bulbs and reflector,  powered by at least one AA or multiple AAA size batteries. Dolphin torches, 2-D maglites and most LED lamps are acceptable. The torch must be attached to the craft by a lanyard so that the paddler can retrieve it while seated in his or her normal position.

  • Waterproof Hardcopy Maps: Maps are available from the website You will need them to be waterproofed. GPS maps may be used, in addition to the hardcopy maps.

  • Canoe number. These are supplied after your craft has been through scrutineering. The canoe numbers remain the property of the Hawkesbury Canoe Classic and it is the paddler’s responsibility to ensure that this is returned at the finish or at a checkpoint if the craft is withdrawing.

  • Cyalume lights: Two are supplied and placed as directed. These must remain visible for the duration of the event.

  • Compass or GPS:  Should be waterproof.

  • Canoe number holder: All craft must have a canoe number holder fixed to the craft.

There may be random checks of compulsory equipment throughout the night by race officials. If you do not have your compulsory equipment, you may be disqualified.

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