Standard Hand Signals for River Communication

Note: New signals & updates will be added soon. Please check back to view

Ground Rules

  1. Never point to a hazard
  2. Always return a signal to show you understand
  3. No signal – no move!!!


“Go” Signal

With Paddle (hold steady)

Thumbs Up (hold steady)

“Stop” Signal

By Hand (e.g. bank signal)

With Paddle

Everyone Together” Signal

Paddler Draws a Circle in the air – From head to Hips

“One Person at a Time” Signal

“Eddy Out” Signal

  • Draw a circle in the air over your head
  • Point to where eddy is


“Move Left / Move Right” Signal

Move Further to Your Left
Move Further to Your Right

“Toward Me” Signal

Signaller makes a ‘Thumbs up’ sign and motions from the deck to their chest

“Hurry Up” Signal

Raise & lower paddle (Not to be confused with “Go” Signal)
Raise & lower Clinched Fist

“Slow Down” Signal

Extended arm raised and lowered

Spacing Signals

Group too far apart – “Get closer together”
Group too close together –“Spread Out”

“Warning – Stopper!” Signal

Raise and open hand
Clinch your fist
Open your hand


“Bring a Rope!” Signal

This signal mimics the action of throwing a rope

Bring Me a First Aid Kit

“I don’t understand – Try Again!”