River safety guidelines

These guidelines have been prepared to assist Kupe trip leaders on river trips. However safety is a responsibility of all paddlers, not just the trip leader.

  1. Make paddlers aware of the state of the river on that particular day, ie. Higher/Lower than normal and what to expect, eg. Stopping to inspect rapid halfway down river.
  2. Check to see if paddlers have any illnesses that may affect them on the river. Ensure they are carrying necessary medication or determine what they require if they have a problem.
  3. Ensure all paddlers know the hand/paddle signals that will be used on the river, eg. Right, left, straight. Do not point at hazards.
  4. Establish who is carrying what safety gear (throw bags, first aid kits, split paddles, clothing).
  5. Paddlers should leave a safe distance between each other while running rapids.
  6. Buddy stronger paddlers up with weaker paddlers. Buddies to keep an eye on each other down the river.
  7. Count how many people are on the river at the start of the trip. Check this periodically throughout the trip, about every 200m.
  8. Advise paddlers to have a look over their shoulder once they have run a rapid to check on the person behind them.
  9. Stay well away from overhanging trees.
  10. Avoid submerged rocks/trees.