Race Rules

  1. All team members (entrants) and team captains will enter this race at their own risk and the Texas Water Safari Corporation and its judges, officials, and sponsors will not be liable for accidents to personnel or damage to any property or equipment.

  2. The minimum age to race any team event sponsored by the Texas Water Safari Corporation is 13 years of age. Racers under 18 years of age must race with an adult in the boat and an adult must remain in the boat for the duration of the race. A parent or legal guardian must sign a waiver of liability for all minors.

    The minimum age for any solo classification sponsored by the Texas Water Safari Corporation is 18 years of age. This rule applies to anyone wishing to race in any of the following races:

    • The Texas River Marathon
    • The Texas Water Safari
    • The Jr. Texas Water Safari
  3. Each team that enters the Texas Water Safari must have one team captain, and the option to designate a second team captain, if desired. Teams are strongly encouraged to designate co-team captains. Every team captain must be officially designated, sign a liability waiver and every team captain must be at least 18 years old. Team captain(s) shall be responsible for:

    1. Making contact with their team at each checkpoint and at any other legal access points to transfer water, ice, and/or any other items provided for in Rule 8 and to assess the team's health and ability to continue the race. It is not the responsibility of the TWS board or the race officials to determine whether or not a racer is able to continue or pull out due to health issues the racer may be experiencing, it is the sole responsibility of the race participants and their team captains to make that determination.

    2. To notify race officials if unable to make contact with the team at any checkpoint, or in the event, in their sole judgment, there is reason to be concerned about the health or safety of the team. The team can be disqualified if one of the team captains fail to make this contact, fail to enter it on each Check In/Out sheet, and/or fail to know, at all times, the team's location (between consecutive checkpoints).

    3. If, during the race, a team captain has to drop out, substitutions are allowed. The team must notify a race official at the earliest opportunity. It is also the responsibility of the "replacement" team captain to sign a liability waiver. If the substitution is planned, the race officials should be notified in advance.

  4. Only human muscle powered propulsion of boats will be permitted.

  5. All members of a team must travel together in the same boat/canoe and under the same regulation. Should a team member be forced to, or elect to, drop out of the Safari for any reason, the team member may not reenter or be replaced. Relays in any form are prohibited.

  6. Team captain(s) must report to a race official as soon as their team, or a team member, drops out of the race and sign them "Out" at the proper checkpoint.

    If a team drops out of the race, then either team captain will sign his or her team out at the checkpoint where the team stopped, or if between checkpoints, at the next downstream checkpoint. If, due to an emergency, he/she cannot get to the next downstream checkpoint, the team captain should contact a race judge via the ham radio operator, race official or a TWS Judge in Seadrift 361-785-5500. The team captain must give their name, team's boat number, name of team members, where they dropped out, and the time they dropped out. This information prevents wasted energies and/or a needless search for a "lost team."

    It is the responsibility of a team captain to inform race officials when the condition or whereabouts of the team is in serious doubt. It is then a race official decision when, or whether to initiate rescue effort. However, should any team captain at any time feel that an emergency requires doing so, he/she should immediately contact 911.

  7. All supplies, equipment, and items of repair must be in the possession of each team and listed on the check-in sheet at the beginning of the Safari. Nothing may be purchased by or delivered to an individual or team during the entire Safari except as stated under Rule #8.

  8. Team captains may deliver items of food, ice, drink or medical materials at any time during the race which they, in their sole discretion, deem necessary for the health or safety of the team. Only re-usable mesh bags may be used to help the team captain make any such exchange. (This is to prevent littering or any other use of bags or other containers). Food Items may be individually waterproofed in seal-a-meal type bags or zip-lock bags. No Zip-lock bags larger than one gallon may be used. No other items such as paddles, lights, repair equipment, or any other supplies or materials of any kind can be supplied to the team by the team captain(s).

  9. Teams shall not receive help or assistance of any kind except verbal assistance or those items listed in Rule 8 during the Safari. Should medical care be required by a team member, it is the sole discretion of the team members and/or the team captain(s) to request medical care from any individual to ensure the health or safety of the affected team member. By signing the entry form and liability waiver, the team members and team captain(s) expressly agree and understand that there is no obligation on the part of the Texas Water Safari Corporation, its board members, or officials to provide standby medical care at any point along the race course.

  10. Entrants shall have their designated boat number affixed to both sides of the bow of their boat. This boat number shall be at least 4" in height and shall be composed of up to four Arabic numerals without leading zeros. The boat numbers must be made of reflective material and must be a contrasting color from the boat. Entrants will be given the number of their choice provided it is not already taken. Applicants requesting a previously allocated number will be required to make another selection. It is the responsibility of the entrant to provide their own boat numbers. If a boat loses its number during the TWS it is the responsibility of the team captains to replace the number lost, with the same number that is no longer attached to the boat.

  11. Canoes must have adequate flotation to float the canoe and gear and a white light for night travel.

  12. Each team is required to have a first aid kit, two way communication device, a snakebite kit and an efficient signaling device (whistle). Since physicians differ on the contents of a first aid kit and snake bite kit, the contents shall be determined by the team and its team captains.

  13. Each entrant must have in his or her possession a readily accessible, properly sized, Coast Guard approved, life preserver (pfd) in good serviceable condition. If the pfd is inflatable it must be worn during the entire race. Racers under the age of 18 are not allowed to wear inflatable PFDs. Every entrant must wear his/her PFD while crossing the bay.

    • Racers who have lost pfd(s) may be given a replacement at the any checkpoint or location, but will be assessed a penalty of at least 15 minutes for each pfd replaced. When a pfd is replaced during the race, it is the responsibility of the Team Captain to report the replacement at the next checkpoint.

    • Racers found in the bay not wearing a lifejacket will be assessed a penalty of at least 2 hours for each violation.

    • Racers found in the bay or on the river without a pfd for each person in the boat may be disqualified.

  14. Teams are required to carry three (3) Coast Guard approved red aerial flares with a current expiration date. These flares must satisfy all Coast Guard day and night signal requirements. Solo paddlers must attach said flares to their person (e.g. to a belt or life jacket) while crossing the San Antonio Bay. These flares are to be used to signal for aid only in life threatening situations. Use of the flares for any other purpose shall be grounds for disqualification.

  15. Each boat must carry a two-way communication device (cell phone or radio). The device must be carried in a sealed bag (not a re-sealable bag). The phone should be used in life threatening situations only. Use of the device may be grounds for disqualification pending the decision of the race officials. Any team captain or team member, when requested, by another team, who needs assistance in an emergency situation, can use their two-way communication device and will not be subject to disqualification.

  16. Entrants will be subject to spot checks at any time by judges or officials whose decisions will be final.

  17. Teams must negotiate over, around, under or through all obstacles from the originating point in San Marcos along the entire length of the rivers and bays to the finish line in Seadrift. For any "shortcut" to be legal, it must have a flow of river water through it. Overland portages are not allowed except where necessary for log jams, dams, or bridges. Teams are required to exit the river immediately above each obstacle and return to the water immediately after clearing the obstacle. Use of Ottine Dam by support personnel is strictly prohibited.

    EXCEPTIONS TO THIS RULE (places where river or bay water flows, but which are still illegal) are:

    • The left channel around Thompson's Island below the road bridge.
    • The "Cornfield Cutoff" and Blue Bayou cuts below Hwy 59 near Victoria, mentioned above.
    • The Victoria barge canal and the boat cut between San Antonio Bay and the barge canal.
  18. The coastal portion of the race shall be that part of Guadalupe and San Antonio Bays from the mouth of the Guadalupe River to the finish line in Seadrift, Texas. Lifejackets must be worn crossing the bay (inflatables must be inflated). In case of stormy weather or high wind, teams may follow the shoreline to Seadrift after crossing to the east side of Guadalupe Bay. Contestants may row, paddle, walk, swim, carry, or drag the boat from the east side of Guadalupe Bay to the finish line. They may not enter the Victoria barge canal and, if they choose to carry, they must follow the shoreline (i.e. no shortcuts). Teams entering the barge canal may be disqualified or face a time penalty.

  19. Intentional interference with another team's progress will be grounds for disqualification.

  20. Pace boats or canoes (i.e. crafts that are paddled or powered that follow or lead Safari entrants for the purpose of "keeping a team up" or conveying water) are illegal.  Canoes, kayaks and other watercrafts that are paddled or motor driven can be used, under extremely limited circumstances,  by team captain(s) for the purpose of providing emergency items of food, drink, medical supplies or services to their team where the team and/or a team captain has concluded that a medical emergency exists.   This is not intended to be used as a routine method for delivering water, ice, or food by team captains, and actual delivery of items or services must be performed while stationary.   Prior to, or immediately after this emergency measure is used, a team captain will report the event to a race official.  Any other use of a craft such as, travel down the river to accompany the team to “keep them up”  provide any other type of support including wake riding or drafting, or to misuse this rule to provide routine handoffs, is illegal and are grounds for disqualification.

  21. Deliberate littering of the river is grounds for disqualification. Teams should keep their trash in their canoe and hand it over to persons on the bank.

  22. All teams entered in the TWS must have and carry a functioning SPOT device to be used for tracking purposes for the duration of the race.  Please see the news release for specific rules.

  23. Any protest by a competitor must be accompanied by a $100 fee and must file the protest no later than 1:00 PM on Wednesday. The fee is refundable if the protest is upheld.

  24. In formulating the rules that govern this event, every effort has been made to foresee all situations and problems that might arise; however, officials of the Texas Water Safari Corporation retain the right to change or amend these rules at any time without liability or recourse from any party regardless of the circumstances. Should such changes or amendments be made, all entrants will receive notification of same.