Paddling in Groups - Our Roles and Responsibilities

Paddling in Groups - Our Roles and Responsibilities -      you could think of this as ethical practices for canoeists

When we go canoeing, either on day trips or longer canoe camping trips, both flat water and whitewater, there are some essential personal responsibilities that we should keep in mind:

1.  As an individual canoeist I will remember:

  • That I have chosen to be a canoeist.  I am fully aware of the risks as well as the rewards involved in this sport and therefore I alone am responsible for my own safety.
  • To know and fully understand my planned route of travel each time I paddle my boat alone or in a group.
  • To dress appropriately for paddling conditions
  • To keep my body well fueled and hydrated
  • To carry proper safety gear that I have familiarized myself with and practiced how to use. Whistle, headlamp, rescue rope, repair kit, first-aid kit are a few examples.
  • To practice my boating and rescue skills while striving to be the most competent boater I can be.
  • To hang on to my equipment (NB paddle!) when I do a wet exit.
  • To leave a float plan before each trip that includes a minimum of at least - expected time of departure, planned route of travel, stops and expected time of arrival.
  • To paddle within my abilities, have FUN and exercise good judgement.

2.  As a group member I will remember:

  • That away from land a group becomes a team
  • That it is my responsibility to stay within voice contact of my team on calm days and signal distance in adverse conditions.
  • To learn, practice and pass along commonly used signals such as hand, paddle and whistle signals.
  • That it is essential that our group travels at the speed of our least strongest member.
  • To be aware of the needs of others on my team and let leaders know of my concerns.
  • To paddle in a group whenever possible.  There is safety in numbers and a group of six is an ideal number.
  • To paddle within my abilities and voice my concern if I am being pushed beyond my comfort zone.
  • To be courteous to everyone I come in contact with on the water and shores, for I am responsible for our reputation as paddlers.
  • To treat our fragile environment with care, practice "Leave-No-Trace" techniques and keep far enough away from wildlife so I will not interrupt their natural habits.
  • To be aware of other traffic on the water and give them ample room.


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