Constant Radius Return Using a Slalom Course


  • Practice and develop the boathandling skill of turning a boat at slow speed in a 180-degree arc to arrive at a specific point. This skill can be used in returning to a person or object in the water.

Setting Up the Drill:

  • Equipment: 4 to 6 buoys
  • Trainer sets 4 to 6 buoys in a row about 4 boat lengths apart or less, or uses a slalom course set up for other water drills.

Conducting the Drill:

  • Trainer is positioned at a buoy between the two buoys used by the operator.
  • Operator passes a buoy on a course perpendicular to the line of buoys at slow speed.
  • At a point 1 boat length past the buoy, operator starts a constant turn with as close to a constant radius as possible, using the buoy at which the trainer is stationed as the center point of the radius, and arrives at the destination buoy on a course perpendicular to the line of buoys.

Teaching Tips:

  • Pass the 1st buoy headed perpendicular to the line between the buoys.
  • Make a constant turn, using constant speed.
  • Arrive at the destination buoy headed in the opposite direction perpendicular to the line between the buoys.
  • If a six-buoy slalom is set, two operators can perform the constant radius return drill at the same time.

Common Errors:

  • Unable to set up a constant radius turn and squares off or angles the approach, which results in not approaching the other buoy at the desired heading.