Flatwater

COVID-19 Protocols for the RACCC - June 24, 2020

The presence of the COVID-19 virus in the Ottawa area has resulted in the implementation of significant restrictions on activities in order to reduce physical contact and, thereby, the risk of transmission of the virus.

With the recent marked reduction in the number of people contracting the virus, some restrictions on activities have been relaxed.  Members of the RA Canoe Camping Club are eager to undertake some of the regular activities of the Club, but wish to do so in a responsible manner.  All members of the Club must recognize that the failure to abide by these restrictions could result in the reinstatement of activity restrictions to the detriment of all members.

The protocols and guidelines will evolve in a manner consistent with guidelines issued by health authorities (e.g. the use of face masks).  These protocols and guidelines, as revised from time to time, will remain in effect until provincial and local restrictions on group activities have been repealed.

Overall Protocols For Activities

  1. Provincial/Local Regulations: All Club activities are to abide by all applicable provincial and local regulations and restrictions for the Ottawa area as well as the areas where the activities are to be undertaken. Activities are also to abide by any requirements imposed by the RA Centre. These protocols and guidelines are in addition to, not in substitution for, those regulations and restrictions.
  2. Responsibility For Own Safety: All Club members and their guests are responsible for their own safety. Any concerns about activities that are considered to create an increased risk of transmission of the virus should be communicated to the trip leader.  Participants who are concerned about increased risk presented by an activity are encouraged to cease participation in the activity in a manner that does not create an increased risk to the group.
  3. Signing Waivers: All Club members must complete the online waiver. Their guests must complete and sign a guest waiver prepared by the RA. These forms include clauses exempting the RA Centre and the activity leaders from any and all liability from any injury or illness arising from or in the course of undertaking the activity. This includes clauses related to Covid. The forms must be completed and submitted prior to undertaking the activity.
  4. Removal From An Activity: Any Club member who is exhibiting or feeling any recognized symptoms of COVID-19 must withdraw from the Club activity immediately. In addition, if an activity leader considers that a participant may be exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, the activity leader may require that the person considered to exhibit these symptoms cease to participate in the activity and remove himself or herself from the group.   Given the immediate risk that may be created for the group, the decision of the activity leader will be final and without right of appeal.
  5. Notification of a COVID-19 diagnosis: Any Club member who receives a COVID-19 diagnosis and has participated in a club activity within the previous 14 days shall notify the trip leader and a member of the Executive immediately. The trip leader or Executive Member will then notify RA management and the trip participants. Ottawa Public Health is primarily responsible for contact tracing however the club will notify participants to ensure that the notification is made as quickly as possible.
  6. Participant Lists: Prior to any club activity, the trip leader will email the participants’ names to Amanda Romozzi This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and the Paul Hughes at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The list will be used to contact participants in the case of a possible exposure.
  7. Physical Distancing: Participants in Club activities who do not share the same household should maintain physical distancing of two meters from one another.
  8. First aid: Use of a face mask and gloves is required if a participant provides first aid to another person while participating in a club activity.
  9. Payment For Activities: Where participants in Club activities are remitting payments to activity leaders and not to the RA directly, they are encouraged to make those payments electronically to activity leaders. This will limit the handling and exchange of paper and coin between activity participants.
  10. Suspension or Expulsion: Any Club member participant who fails to abide by these protocols faces the possibility of suspension of Club privileges or expulsion from the Club.

Activity Planning Meetings

  1. Trip Location Selection and Evacuation Opportunities: Trip leaders are encouraged to select trip locations where there will be the opportunity to evacuate a trip participant to appropriate medical assistance within one day at any point along the trip. These potential evacuation points should be communicated to other participants during the trip planning meeting.
  2. Electronic Meetings: Where feasible, planning meetings shall be undertaken by teleconference or videoconference.
  3. Use of Forms: Where meetings are undertaken in proximity to other participants, the exchange of forms shall be kept to a minimum. The trip leader will be responsible for completing any forms.
  4. Physical Distancing: Participants at meetings who do not share a household shall maintain a minimum of distance of two meters from one another.

On the Road

It has been among the best traditions of the Club to reduce the environmental footprint of trips and increase social inter-action by sharing driving, especially with Club members who do not own a vehicle.  In order to reduce the number of vehicles, some Club members have travelled with two or more canoes or kayaks on their vehicles and several passengers in their vehicles.  Unfortunately, during the COVID-19 pandemic, different protocols need to apply.

  1. One Vehicle Per Participant/Household: In keeping with current guidance on physical distancing, the occupancy of a vehicle traveling to an activity point shall be limited to the driver and any other person sharing a household with the driver.

Paddling and Portaging

  1. Carrying of Own Equipment: The owner/user of equipment is responsible for carrying their own equipment to and from vehicles and canoes or kayaks and for any portaging of the equipment on the trip. Participants sharing a household may carry each other’s equipment.
  2. Sharing of Equipment: Paddles and other equipment shall not be shared between trip participants who do not share a household.
  3. Changing Seats in Boat: Unless gunwales and seats are disinfected in advance of changing positions in a boat, paddlers not sharing a household shall not switch positions in the boat between bow and stern.
  4. Physical Distancing: Unless required to provide assistance to the occupants of another boat, a minimum distance of two meters shall be maintained between canoes and kayaks on the water.

Whitewater Tripping:

Whitewater paddling differs from flatwater in terms of COVID-19 risk management in two respects:  most white water trips require a car shuttle to get back to the put-in; and the possibility of a swim and the requirement for a contact rescue is higher than flatwater paddling.  Whitewater paddlers are therefore required to respect the following restrictions:

  1. Transportation restrictions: As noted, the club will operate using a one vehicle per participant/household restriction, this means “park and play” or foot or bicycle shuttles only .
  2. Self-rescue Capacity: Trips should be planned for self-rescue only and participants should be comfortable that should they dump, they will be able to self-rescue. This will generally mean paddling one level below an individual’s capability.

The above protocols shall apply from the date that the RA Canoe Camping Club is authorized to commence its activities (referred to as “Phase 1”).  At a later date, determined as commencing on the date that Ontario Parks has authorized the commencement of back-country camping activities (and subject to any restrictions on such activities), the Club will permit activities that involve overnight camping (referred to as “Phase 2”).

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Campsites and Shared Meal Sites

  1. No Sharing of Tents: Unless trip participants share the same household, trip participants shall not share a tent or other sleeping accommodation.
  2. Distance Between Tents: A minimum of two meters shall be maintained between the entrance points of tents and other sleeping accommodation.
  3. Utensils and Serving Spoons: All trip participants shall bring their own serving utensils.
  4. No Sharing of Food: Participants are responsible for bringing their own food.  Food may be shared among participants sharing the same household.
  5. Food Barrels: Participants are required to bring their own food barrels and other food carrying equipment.
  6. Communal Toilets: Users of communal toilets shall wipe the seating area with a disinfectant or sanitizer after each use.

Concluding Comments

The above protocols and guidelines are more onerous than those applied to most Club activities in the past.  They represent a reasonable level of additional protection from the risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus.   They do not provide any guarantee that a participant in a Club activity will not contract the virus during the course of an activity.  Club members, especially those that are at increased risk should they contract the COVID-19 virus, who are concerned about the level of risk of contracting the virus during an activity are encouraged to refrain from participating in the activity.

At the time of the drafting of these protocols and guidelines there was uncertainty as to how long activity restrictions would need to remain in place.  It is possible that some of these protocols will remain in place after the risk of contracting the virus has dissipated and represent a “new normal” for activities.  It is also possible that a new wave of the COVID-19 virus will result in increased precautions or the suspension of Club activities.

It is hoped that, as these protocols and guidelines become part of the way that we operate, they will not significantly hinder the enjoyment of Club activities.

 

Boathouse Activities and Equipment Protocols

  1. Need to Enter Only: Club members and their guests must limit their entry into the Boathouse to necessary activities. They should only enter and remain in the Boathouse where it is necessary to retrieve or return equipment or forms contained in the Boathouse.
  2. Access Restrictions: Entry into the Boathouse is limited to one person (or additional persons sharing a household with that person) at any time. Where more than one person is needed to retrieve or return a canoe, two people may do so, while maintaining a minimum distance of two meters from each other.
  3. Restrict Touching: Persons entering the Boathouse should limit the touching of equipment to those items that they are removing for use or returning to the Boathouse.
  4. No Shared Use of Forms – Leaders or Their Delegates Only: All trip forms, boat reservation forms and other common forms are only to be touched and completed by the trip leader or delegated person. Participants shall communicate to the trip leader the applicable inventory numbers of all equipment removed from the Boathouse as well as emergency contact information.
  5. First Aid Kits: Participants on trips are encouraged to bring their own first aid provisions, such as pain medication and treatments of their own minor cuts and blisters. Where the First Aid Kit provided by the Club is opened for use, the interior and exterior of the kit shall be disinfected before it is closed and any face masks that are used are disposed of.
  6. Disinfecting Equipment: Club members returning equipment are requested to take measures to disinfect equipment prior to use and when these items are returned to the Boathouse. Club members should review any guidelines posted in the Boathouse to ensure proper disinfecting of equipment and to ensure that products used to disinfect do not cause damage to equipment (such as the use of bleach on some equipment).
  7. Return of Equipment – Out of Use Period: Club equipment other than canoes and kayaks and paddles (such as throw ropes, first aid kits, food barrels, personal flotation devices (“PFDs”) and utensil kits) shall be returned to a designated area at the rear of the Boathouse with a notation of the date that the equipment was returned. This equipment shall not be returned to its appropriate location within the Boathouse until a period of five days has passed since the return of the equipment.
  8. Inventory of Club Equipment: To reduce the risk for the asset coordinator, other volunteers, and members, the weekly shed inventory will be limited to a visual inspection only. We ask that you report any missing or damaged equipment immediately to the Asset Coordinator, by e-mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  9. Reporting of Damage to Equipment: Any member of the Club causing or identifying damage to Club equipment shall report it to the Asset Coordinator or any other member of the Executive.