Participant Guide

What it means to be a good trip participant when going on a club paddle.

Be a courteous participant: Please call or email the POC if you plan to attend the club’s announced paddle. It lets the POC know of your intent to join the paddle and gives her/him an opportunity to let you know if paddle plans need to be changed. When you sign up for a club paddle and later cannot (or decide not to) attend, please notify the POC and inform her/him of the change. This is important because the group may be unnecessarily held up waiting and/or wondering if you are late or a no show. You can find club paddles and POC contact info on the club calendar.

Before you sign up for a trip, make a realistic assessment of your paddle skill level: If you are unsure of your paddle skills for any of the club’s paddles, be sure to discuss your concerns with the POC because he/she wants you to be safe on the water and enjoy your paddling experience. Therefore, do not be afraid to speak up and voice your concerns if you feel uncomfortable with the agenda or the trip becomes more than you can handle for whatever reason.

Make yourself a checklist: Check out the club’s Trip Safety Equipment Checklist to use as a reference and develop your own personal list of those items you do not want to leave home without. Keep your list with your boat and gear so it is readily available for quick reference when getting your gear ready to load. Using the checklist as a reminder, helps to make sure you arrive at the launch site with all needed equipment/gear.

“Timing is Everything”: The POC and the group expect everyone to be on time. Check the paddle announcement closely to be sure of the announced time and plan accordingly. Try to arrive at the launch site a little early, if possible. It will allow you to calmly go about unloading boat and gear and getting ready to launch rather than being in a rush and forgetting things.

Self-Rescues: Paddling with the group allows you a greater degree of safety, but it does not allow you to totally rely on being rescued by another should you capsize. It is your responsibility to know how to self-rescue and/or know your part in assisted rescues. Use the club’s warm, water pool sessions to learn how to rescue yourself and to assist others in a rescue.

Club paddles are group paddles: Therefore, become a responsible member, stay with the group and do not wander off on your own. One of the reasons we paddle together is to enjoy each other’s company and support each other in case of a mishap. Should you need to leave the group for any reason, be sure to let the POC know of the change. It may be unsafe for you to paddle away from the group alone. The POC may assign another paddler to accompany you back to the launch site.

Remember To Thank The POC: Our POCs are all volunteers who love to paddle. They generously give their time to organize the trip, answer phone calls and emails, and try their best to make it a good time for all who attend their paddle. Be sure to let them know you appreciated their efforts.

Minimum gear / equipment / skill requirements to attend an OPP club paddle: The list below is to help you in getting yourself prepared to participate in an OPP club paddle. The POC will go over this list as part of her/his Pre-Launch check. Please have the following minimally required items with you for every paddle.

  • Notify POC of your intent to paddle with group
  • Kayak and paddle in good serviceable condition
  • Wet suit or Dry suit
  • Personal Floatation Device (PFD)
  • Whistle
  • Spray skirt for kayak (unless your kayak is a SOT)
  • Throw or tow rope
  • Personal’ First Aid Kit
  • Paddle Float
  • Bilge Pump
  • Drinking Water
  • Lunch and Snacks
  • Dry bag with extra clothes
  • Float Plan…(someone at home needs to know where you are and when you will return)
  • Realistic assessment of you paddle skills
  • Know wet exit and assisted rescue skills
  • Knowledge and application of basic kayak strokes