Trip briefing

Competency to run the river course

Ask those present to grade themselves as being proficient paddlers (Grade 3 or better) and those that are new to the sport and may require assistance.

Separate and count the ratio of experience to inexperience paddlers.  In a large group set up subgroup and buddies.  (see note below).  Ask the experience paddlers to identify themselves and ask the newbies to stay within 10 meters of them.


Everyone should have a buddy before getting on the water, no matter the size, experience or organisation of the group.  This ensures paddlers absence is noticed immediately.  From this point on, as well as the normal responsibility for the other members of the team, each person is particularly responsible for the welfare of their buddy – keep in sight of one another.  On no account should they be left behind on the river or bank.  Everyone is to watch their buddy for signs of fear, hypothermia or excessive weariness.  If there are any doubts, inform the “point” if possible.

Regular counts of paddlers should be taken by the trip leader, as well as front and end paddlers.


Leader (Point)                                                          Tail                                                  

Grade of River

Advise paddlers who are running the river for the first time of what to expect.  Cross check the flow meter and expectation for the day.  (Check weather for the head waters).

Safety Equipment

Check beginners for the standard of their equipment.  Boats, helmets, dry tops, spray decks, paddle, change of clothes, food and water.

Check experience paddlers for safety equipment.  (P T O).  Ration is 1 : 3 or higher.

Instructions on the water

As we migrate through each rapid eddy out as soon as possible and wait till all paddlers are through.  If a paddler is in the water eddy out and wait for the point to lead off.
Assessment of basic skills at the river entry point.  Ask newbies (people who have not paddled with us for more than 6 trips) to eddy out and back in again.  Also check that newbies can ferry across the flows and back again.  If we get an OBE (out of boat experience) keep your paddle (we can see a boat), position yourself on your back with feet up pointing down stream.  On no account should you stand up in a flow, use a back stroke to alter your position.


Signals that will be used on the water.  Left, right, Stop, Get out, I’m OK

Duration of the trip

Give an approximate length of time on the water, top yourself up with your water and food supply intermittingly.

Safety message

You are participating in this club activity at your own risk.  Your equipment, provisions, and clothing must be adequate for the activity.  Trip leader’s decision is FINAL.

Beginners (less than 6 club trips):-

You will not pass Point or fall behind Tail end Charlie

If you exit on moving water DO NOT PANIC, try to hold onto your paddle, position yourself on your back with feet up and pointed downsream.  Wait for further instructions – swim to shore if you feel it is safe to do so.  Your safety is more important than your boat or paddle.                                                 

Must be carried for every trip

  • Food source (chocolate, fruit and nuts, water)
  • Dry bag – (emergency phone, car keys for exit point, compass, etc …)
  • Split paddles
  • Throw rope
  • Knife, pulleys, slings, Prussic ropes, Carabineers
  • First Aid kit, Fire starter
  • Spare Dry top, polypro, towel, Spare dry clothes (tops, pants and hat)