Race South Florida

Human Powered Common Adventures for Uncommon Competitors

Expedition Course Rules, MWN

This is a common self-sustained adventure.  Each participant or team is responsible for ensuring their safety, personal needs and seaworthiness of their vessel.

All participants must ensure that they have sufficient food, hydration and warm dry clothing for the race.  Restocking points are available throughout the route.  Water and food may only be available during regular business hours.  Only Black Point Marina will have a Checkpoint Captain on site with refreshments, snacks and basic first aid supplies.  Call ahead if you anticipate additional support.  We will do our best to assist you.

All US Coast Guard regulations must be strictly observed. 

Wear a PFD (US Coast requires a Class III PFD/Life Vest be on-board each vessel for each racer)

File a float plan

Carry an audible signaling device

Have with them at least three flares

Camping gear is strongly encouraged

Be aware of the threats of hypothermia.  Extra dry clothing and warm clothing should be available to racers should the need to get off the water due to hypothermia become necessary. Hypothermia can kill you.  We prefer no one dies.  

Marine radio and cell phone (in a waterproof container)

A SPOT device or GPS capable of marking waypoints is required.  For those using SPOT, you must add the race managers to your SPOT list.  GPS users must record waypoints at each stop and required checkpoint.  

Navigational charts must be carried by each team or racer.  NOAA or Waterproof charts are recommended. 

Beyond the basics, be smart about your skill level, the conditions during the race and  your vessels capabilities.  If you need to drop out of the race for any reason, we hope you will try again next time.  This is first and foremost an enjoyable common adventure.  We are each responsible for our own health and safety.  As with any activity, each participant runs the risk of serious injury or death.  These risks are assumed by each competitor.  Each competitor must sign a release and hold harm;less agreement before the commencement of the race; no exceptions.

Downwind Course Rules, MWN

Competitors Meeting:

For the 3, 8 and 16-mile courses, There will be a pre-race meeting at 11:00 am on race day at the Miami Rowing Club to discuss race rules, the courses and answer any questions. It is important that all competitors attend this meeting.  Any course changes or rule updates will be announced at this meeting.


Equipment, Skills and Safety:

All ‘sit in’ kayak paddlers must be capable of performing some form of self-rescue. All paddlers of ocean going Single Sculls and Double Sculls, Two Person Dory Surf Craft, Surf Skis, Double Surf Skis, Single Outrigger Canoes (OC-1), Double Outrigger Canoes (OC-2), Six Person Outrigger Canoes (OC-6), Dragon Boats, Prone Paddleboards and SUP’s must be capable of performing remounts.

A paddle is the sole means of propulsion by competitors for all craft with the exception of prone paddleboards. All paddle types (wing or straight blade) of any material (composite or wood) are acceptable in all classes. All craft must have positive flotation such as bulkheads, sealed compartments or airbags that will stay in place. All paddlers are required to have/wear a PFD and a whistle. Paddle or boat leashes are highly recommended for all open cockpit craft and paddleboards. It is recommended that spray skirts and paddle leashes be used for sit-inside kayaks (spray skirts for only if you are skilled in how to wet exit while wearing a spray skir). Paddle floats, VHF radios, cell phones, EPIRBS, flares and/or signal devices and bilge pumps ((for ‘sit in’ are highly recommended.

General Course Rules, MWN

The traditional 8-mile course is a circumnavigation of Virginia Key.  The 16-mile event is a circumnavigation of Key Biscayne.  Both race courses begin and complete at the beach located at the Miami Rowing Club. 

The 60-mile and 100-mile expedition courses cover Biscayne Bay.  Competitors may, at their discretion, elect to take the bayside course on the return leg.  Competitors electing this route will be assessed a 2-hour time penalty.

The race courses may be reversed in order to provide the most downwind opportunity. Race participants are solely and completely responsible for their own safety when participating in this event.

Competitors will paddle in ocean conditions. While we have some powerboats on the course to monitor checkpoints, we do not provide escort boats. Do not enter the race if you are not the master of your craft in the typical South Florida Conditions.  If you pull out of the race, go to the nearest beach and contact your support person to come with their vehicle to retrieve you and your craft.


Safety and Sportsmanship

It is your personal responsibility to maintain sportsmanlike conduct in this event and is essential to guaranteeing the future of this race series.

Cancellation and alternative date

As this is adventure racing, unless conditions are so severe as warnings are issued by the Coast Guard, the races will not be cancelled.  An alternate date of January 28 has been reserved if paddle conditions are deemed too severe to run the races.

Parking and Launch Site:

Park in the west lot located at the Miami Rowing club.  All boats will launch from the beach at the Miami Rowing Club. Please allow plenty of time to unload your boat, park, register, attend the competitor’s meeting and launch.  Be considerate when parking.  This is a shared facility and we are guests of the Miami Rowing Club.  Please park in the second parking lot away from the building.

Entry Information:

The deadline for entry is 11 am on 1-6-2013. Please register as early as possible on the web site.  If you do not pre-register for the after race party, there may not be a meal available for you and your guests.


The Miami Winter Nationals Committee reserves the right to refuse to register any individual or boat based on known experience with their craft or apparent lack of seaworthiness. The Committee may also expel or refuse any participant or boat before or during the event for lack of required equipment, unsafe operation, disregard for event rules, or unsporting behavior.

Any event disputes will be decided by the race committee.  All race committee decisions are final.

US Coast Guard Rules

Visual Distress Signals

All vessels used on coastal waters, the Great Lakes, territorial seas, and those waters connected directly to them, up to a point where a body of water is less than two miles wide, must be equipped with U.S.C.G. Approved visual distress signals. Vessels owned in the United States operating on the high seas must be equipped with U.S.C.G. Approved visual distress signals. The following vessels are not required to carry day signals but must carry night signals when operating from sunset to sunrise:

  • Recreational boats less than 16 feet in length.
  • Boats participating in organized events such as races, regattas, or marine parades.
  • Open sailboats less than 26 feet in length not equipped with propulsion machinery.
  • Manually propelled boats.

Pyrotechnic Devices

Pyrotechnic Visual Distress Signals must be Coast Guard Approved, in serviceable condition, and readily accessible. They are marked with a date showing the service life, which must not have expired. Launchers manufactured before January 1, 1981, intended for use with approved signals, are not required to be Coast Guard Approved. If pyrotechnic devices are selected a minimum of three are required. That is, three signals for day use and three signals for night. Some pyrotechnic signals meet both day and night use requirements. Pyrotechnic devices should be stored in a cool, dry location. A watertight container painted red or orange and prominently marked "DISTRESS SIGNALS" is recommended.

U.S.C.G. Approved Pyrotechnic Visual Distress Signals and associated devices include:

  • Pyrotechnic red flares, hand-held or aerial.
  • Pyrotechnic orange smoke, hand-held or floating.
  • Launchers for aerial red meteors or parachute flares.


Non-Pyrotechnic Devices

Non-Pyrotechnic Visual Distress Signals must be in serviceable condition, readily accessible, and certified by the manufacturer as complying with U.S.C.G. requirements. They include:

  • Orange distress flag.
  • Electric distress light.

The distress flag is a day signal only. It must be at least 3 x 3 feet with a black square and ball on an orange background. It is most distinctive when attached and waved on a paddle, boathook, or flown from a mast.

The electric distress light is accepted for night use only and must automatically flash the international SOS distress signal (... --- --- --- ...)

Under Inland Navigation Rules, a high intensity white light flashing at regular intervals from 50-70 times per minute is considered a distress signal.

Regulations prohibit display of visual distress signals on the water under any circumstances except when assistance is required to prevent immediate or potential danger to persons on board a vessel.

All distress signals have distinct advantages and disadvantages. No single device is ideal under all conditions or suitable for all purposes. Pyrotechnics are universally recognized as excellent distress signals. However, there is potential for injury and property damage if not properly handled. These devices produce a very hot flame and the residue can cause burns and ignite flammable materials.

Pistol launched and hand-held parachute flares and meteors have many characteristics of a firearm and must be handled with caution. In some states they are considered a firearm and prohibited from use.

The following illustrates the variety and combination of devices which can be carried in order to meet the requirements:

  • Three hand-held red flares (day and night).
  • One hand-held red flare and two parachute flares (day and night).
  • One hand-held orange smoke signal, two floating orange smoke signals (day) and one electric distress light (night only).

Race Rules & Regulations - Sailboats

Rule will be updated for sailboats