All outdoor activities have inherent risk. RACCC attempts to manage the level of risk by making safety the responsibility of all RACCC members. The well-being of paddlers is always of paramount concern and is factored into all club training and tripping activities.
In over 60 years that the RACCC has been in existence there have not been any serious injuries. This is due in large measure to the culture of safety that exists in the RACCC and the promotion of safety through training, coaching and mentoring of new members, guidance from trip leaders, and empowering individual members to make informed decisions related to their safety. The training programs go beyond skills training to include first aid and river rescue courses.
In order to ensure the safety of the trip, the whitewater and flatwater coordinators have the authority to insist that specific criteria be met and/or to remove club sanction from the trip. These criteria can include a detailed itinerary, a specific safety equipment, and specific skill levels. Notwithstanding this, coordinators are not responsible for the conduct of participants on trips.
Every club trip or training event must have a leader. Trip and training leaders have the authority to limit the activities of participants in order to protect the safety of individuals or the entire group. However, the ultimate responsibility for an individual's safety rests with the individual.
When joining the club, all members must read and sign (to acknowledge understanding) the Assumption of Risk form. It is the responsibility of the individual to inform the trip leader of any health issues that could become a problem on the trip. This includes any history of allergies and prescription drug use.
RACCC members are expected to understand their abilities and limitations and to restrict their participation to activities they can perform safely. Members are encouraged to maintain a basic swimming capability. While non-swimmers can join, the RACCC requires non-swimmers to wear their PDFs in or around the water at all times, in addition to when they are on the water.
Since individual members understand their strengths and weaknesses better than anyone else, they are expected to assume a certain number of responsibilities. These include:
In general, all trip and training participants must agree on safety signals at the beginning of the trip and make sure that everyone understand them. Moreover, participants should stay within voice contact of the group on a calm day and signal contact in adverse conditions.
All members are encouraged to take basic first aid, CPR and river rescue courses, as well as carry a small personal first aid kit.
Canadian regulations for canoes require each boat to carry one Canadian approved personal flotation device (PFD) or life jacket of appropriate size for each person on board (and that this is worn at all times on the water), one buoyant heaving line of not less than 15 m in length, one bailer, a sound-signalling device and navigation lights that meet the applicable standards after sunset, before sunrise, or in restricted visibility. For more information consult the Transport Canada website.
Additionally, for club trips all groups must have:
Don't Drink and Paddle
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation regulations related to drinking and paddling allow for a short-term (up to 30 day) driver license suspension for a blood alcohol concentration of between 0.05 to 0.08 and a 90day suspension and fine for a blood alcohol concentration above 0.08. The regulations apply to the operation of both motorized and non-motorized vessels including canoes and kayaks. For more information see the Ontario Ministry of Transportation website.
The Paddle Canada policy on intoxicants is no use within 8 hours.
Over the weekend 5 canoe club members spent two days at the RA centre learning standard first aid, CPR for all ages, and dealing with scenarios that could occur in the wilderness.
This was a great and helpful course. I can see many situations where I could use these techniques either out on the trail or in the city. Karen’s approach with lots of scenarios and a “bubbly” personality made it all the more interesting. I have read in several studies that people learn better and retain the learning when they are having fun. This course certainly made that come true. Looking forward to similar courses in the future. (participant)
Every club member should have an opportunity to take a course like this! (participant)
One participant had an unexpected tumble. We took this photo after we helped her.
Thanks to a generous donation from Laco and Lynette, Trip Leaders now have access to this resource for their next club trip. The SPOT sends messages via satellites to website and/or designated email recipients.
To post a message indicating either:
- OK: we are here & we are OK; OR
- HELP: we are here & we need help; OR
- SOS/911: we are here & we need SAR right away.
Track Progress showing the users location (GPS coordinates)
- Check out the map of last 7 days of usage of the RACCC SPOT: RACCC SPOT Map
To learn more, click here.