We would like everyone to have an enjoyable time out on the water, so here are a few pointers to keep safe while out paddling.
Wear the correct clothing
Make sure you turn up wearing the right clothing for the weather conditions and for paddling. Wearing the wrong sort of clothing can put you at risk of hypothermia if you end up in the water. For some pointers please read our What to Wear guide.
Wear a Helmet and Buoyancy Aid
A helmet will protect your head from sharp rocks on the bank or under the water, low hanging branches and other paddlers paddles. It is essential to wear a helmet on white water trips and during rescue practice sessions. The club has helmets that may be borrowed on club trips.
You will not be allowed to paddle without a buoyancy aid. A buoyancy aid will help you to stay above the water if you capsize and end up out of your boat, it will also protect you from impact if you hit any underwater rocks. The club has buoyancy aids that may be borrowed on club trips.
Paddle as a Group
When paddling with a group on the water you should always paddle as a group. Paddlers in front should look over their shoulder from time to time to check they are not getting too far ahead of the rest of the group and if necessary stop and allow the rest of the group to catch up. Paddlers at the back can also alert paddlers in front if the group is getting too far spread out.
Listen to your River Leader / Coaches
It is important that you listen to your river leader and coaches on the trip as they are responsible for keeping the group safe on the water.
Check the weather forecast before you paddle and be aware that weather conditions can change the difficulty of the water you are paddling on. High rainfall can cause rivers to become washed out or more challenging. Wind can make it more difficult to paddle particularly on Loch’s and the Sea, it can also create waves that may knock you about. Trip Leaders and Coaches can refuse to take you on a trip or even cancel a trip if they feel the conditions are unsuitable for you. If you are uncertain ask.
As a general rule you should dress for the water temperature particularly if there is a higher risk of capsize e.g. white water trips. If it is sunny wear appropriate sun protection.