Malibu Rapids Desolation Sound
Malibu Rapids Desolation Sound. Malibu Rapids marks the entrance to Princess Louisa Inlet. The rapids are narrow and dogleg-shaped, and boats at one end cannot see boats at the other end. It is courteous and wise to warn other vessels via VHF radio that you are about to enter the rapids, and the direction you are travelling. Most boats use channel 16 because it is the one VHF channel everyone is supposed to monitor.
A VHF security call is a notice of safety to boaters. When making a security call at Malibu Rapids, it is for safety reasons and not for any right-of-way statement. Rules of the road for vessels operating in current flow are determined by current flow direction. Vessels travelling against the current are the ‘stand-on’ and vessels travelling against the current flow are the ‘give-way.’ The path through Malibu Rapids is ‘S’ shaped. While it might be tempting to ‘cross over’ the opposing traffic path to get a look at the rapids, this may create a conflict with boats coming in the opposite direction.
Currents in Malibu Rapids run to 9 knots and create large overfalls. Run this passage at slack water. High water slack occurs about 24 minutes after high water at Point Atkinson, and low water slack about 36 minutes after low water at Point Atkinson. High water slack is preferred because it widens the available channel somewhat. High slack or low, before entering or leaving Malibu Rapids, local knowledge says to wait until the surf created by the overall subsides entirely.
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