Rules & Equipment – The Doctor

Rules & Equipment – The Doctor

Rules & Equipment

2023 Event Rules and Equipment

Please note this will be updated for 2024.

Updated 12th May 2023. Subject to change.

In any life-threatening emergency call 000.

Mandatory Equipment

  • Lifejacket
    • All competitors must wear an approved Australian Standard AS 4758 or International Standard ISO 12402 Lifejacket.
    • All surf ski, outrigger, plastic and sea kayak paddlers must wear an approved minimum Level 50 / Level 50S Lifejacket. Your lifejacket must be Hi-Vis or a Hi-Vis top is to be worn over the top of the lifejacket.  No bum bag inflatable lifejackets are permitted.
    • SUP and prone paddleboard paddlers only are permitted to wear an approved Lifejacket Level 100/150 bum bag inflatable lifejacket. A Hi-Vis top must be worn.
  • Safety Leash – All competitors must be attached to their craft via a safety leash.
  • Whistle – All competitors are required to have a pealess whistle attached to their Lifejacket.
  • Hi-Vis Clothing – All competitors must wear a piece of Hi-Vis clothing – this can be a Hi-Vis lifejacket or Hi-Vis top worn over your lifejacket. 
  • Orange Smoke Flare – All competitors must carry one in date orange smoke flare. The flare should be easily accessible when on the water. Ensure you are familiar in how to use a flare. The below image provides an example, however ensure you have read and understand the instructions on your flare as they may vary.
  • Red Parachute Distress Rocket Flare – All competitors must carry one in date red parachute rocket distress flare. It should be easily accessible when on the water. Ensure you are familiar in how to use the rocket flare.
  • Mobile Phone – All competitors must carry a mobile phone in a water proof case.
  • Race Specific Tracking Device – this will be provided to the competitors.
  • Timing Chip – All competitors must wear the electronic timing chip on their ankle (right or left ankle). This will be provided at registration.
    It is also recommended that a minimum of 1L of water is to be carried during the race, and sun protection such as a hat and sunscreen. 

Strongly Recommended

  • In addition to the above we strongly recommend competitors carry a Distress Beacon (EPIRB or PLB) and /or a waterproof VHF Handheld Radio during the event. VHF handhelds are an inexpensive item of equipment that enables immediate contact between the competitor and safety vessels. The event channel will be given to those using VHF Marine Radios.
  • It is also recommended that a minimum of 1L of water is to be carried during the race, and sun protection such as a hat and sunscreen

For more information on flares click here

There will be equipment scrutineering on Rottnest Island.  Any competitor that does not abide by the rules and equipment requirements will be automatically disqualified. Device

Evidence of Ocean Paddling Experience

In order to compete in The Doctor 2023 all competitors will be required to have completed in full a pre-qualifying event. You will be required to list the event during the online entry process. Some of these events may not have occurred at the time of entering the race. You can still list this event and your entry will be checked prior to The Doctor to ensure you have completed the qualifying event.

  • The Doctor 2019 or 2022
  • Forster Ocean Classic 2023 (23rd April 2023)
  • 20 Beaches 2023 (28th October)
  • North Bondi Surf Ski Classic 2023 (7th October)
  • 14 Beaches, QLD 2023 (12th August)
  • Fenn West Coast Downwind 2023 (18th November)

For international paddlers only – If you have not completed (or planning on completing) one of the pre-qualifying events, please email us with the events you have completed within the last 12 months for us to review. 

Event Rules

All competitors must abide by the following event rules:

  • Check in on Rottnest Island by 10am on the day of the race. Specific details will be provided.
  • Wear/carry the mandatory equipment as specified above.
  • Register for the event on Friday (the day before the race) at Sorrento Beach Surf Life Saving Club. Check program for details.
  • Attend the two pre-event briefings held on Friday at Sorrento SLSC and immediately prior to race start on race day at Army Jetty, Rottnest Island (or as advised by the race director). See program for details.
  • All competitors must be checked in on Rottnest Island by the event officials. This will be done prior to the event briefing and race start.
  • A competitor who registers on Friday and then decides not to race or withdraws mid-event must notify the event officials either in person or by phone to be formally withdrawn from the event (event contact numbers will be available at registration).
  • Stop and help any other competitor/s in difficulty whilst on the course.
  • Follow the event course at all times.
  • Follow the direction of water safety officials at all times when on the water.
  • Give way to larger vessels when on the water at all times
  • Fremantle Port is a commercial port and operations will not cease during the event. Commercial shipping has right of way at all times.
  • All paddlers and their private escort boats must stay well clear of all commercial operations at all times when on the water.
  • Any competitors with private escort boats must be operated by registered certified skippers. NOTE: We are required by waterway authorities to notify them of all private escort boats. Please email or phone us with the boat name and type, and name and phone number of the skipper a minimum 48 hours prior to the event. The VHF radio channel will be provided to you for the skipper to monitor.

Additional Information

Weather Conditions

  • Weather conditions can vary significantly and the safety of competitors, safety crew and the general public will be considered by the Oceanpaddler Race Director.  
  • The Oceanpaddler Race Director will advise on adverse weather conditions or any matter which gives rise to a safety concern. This may result in the race being modified or cancelled.  

Know how to use your Orange Smoke Flare

  • Ensure you have read the instructions and know how to use your flare if required. 
  • Ensure your flare is easily accessible should you need to use it. 

General Orange Smoke Flare Instructions Image – please check your individual flare as instructions may vary.

  • 1. Check instructions
  • 2. Remove cap
  • 3. Pull yellow knob upwards and outward
  • 4. Hold out and leeward

Tracking App

With safety for our competitors our number one concern, this year we have implemented the Coast Guard SafeTrx App for The Doctor for all competitors to use.

SafeTrx is a Smartphone App for both Android & Apple iOS devices that allows you to have your journey recorded and monitored if needed by the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard. Competitors will carry their personal mobile phone in a waterproof pouch during the race using the SafeTrx app Flotilla event function.

SafeTrx will allow the event organiser and spectators to track competitors live GPS location during the event via the web. SafeTrxhas recently been used for paddling events in South Africa, Ireland, the UK and Holland with great success. 

Start using SafeTrx Now!
Please download the SafeTrx app and become familiar with how the app works during training ready for the race. For paddling, we recommend using the TRACK ONLY mode and sharing it with a friend or family member before you head out for a paddle. 

Download SafeTrx