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Paddling Guide

The TBSK paddle guide describes what you can expect and what is expected of you on a paddle trip.  Will explain what will occur at the beginning of, and end of the paddle trip.  And there is a chart that you can use to help determine what level of trip you are prepared for before you join a paddle. A guideline so you will have a safe, comfortable and enjoyable as possible paddle trip.

This guide is a compilation of lessons learned by our club's Trip Leaders.  It contains practical tips and guidelines to lead a safe trip.

This guide is not intended to be a thorough, all inclusive manual on training and safety.  Therefore, it may not include some important safety issues nor has it been reviewed by American Canoe Assn (ACA), British Canoeing (BC) or any other recognized paddling authority. Trip Leaders are volunteers who are not required to have any certification from the ACA, BC or any other recognized paddling authority nor do they receive first aid instruction. Trip Leaders do receive on-the-water orientation.

We encourage members of the paddling community to pass on their suggestions for improvement and changes to the information presented in this guide to any TBSK Board Member.

TBSK Rules

  • Without exception, all paddlers are required to wear a USCG approved Personal Flotation Device
  • No alcohol or mind altering drugs may be used prior to or during any TBSK trip.
  • All paddlers on a TBSK trip must have signed an annual liability waiver. We very much prefer members use the online "Smartwaiver" process but if needed the paper version can be found here.
  • Need a whistle. 

TBSK Trips

  • All TBSK trips are led by a TBSK Trip Leader(s) who has taken the Trip Leader orientation course.
  • All TBSK trips (commonly called "official" TBSK trips), will either be:

  1. Scheduled a month in advance and described in the monthly Newsletter, or 
  2. Organized on shorter notice, as an “impromptu” trip by a TBSK Trip Leader.  Members are informed of all impromptu trips through an email generated through the TBSK website from our Trip Coordinator.

Trip Participant Guidelines

  • Remember that each participant is ultimately responsible for his/ her own safety.
  • Make sure you have the skills, physical stamina and the equipment for the paddle.  Refer to the SKILLS SELF ASSESSMENT CHART as a helpful gauge of what Levels of paddle trips you are ready for.
  • RSVP to the trip leader ahead of time (register on the website).  Reach out to the trip leader if you have questions about the necessary stamina, skills or equipment (Distance of trip, how fast will you be paddling, type of boat needed?).  Mention any special needs you may have. Ask your questions before you drive to the launch site.
  • Leave a "Float Plan" -  Write a note or email to concerned local relatives or friends about where you are going and when you expect to be back, with launch and take out points and Trip Leader contact information.
  • Equipment Check List:
        • For all trips:
              • PFD, whistle
              • Sunscreen, hat, sun glasses
              • Water, energy snack
              • Paddle
        • For open water trips (additional equipment):
              • Kayak with proper floatation (Trip Leader may determine your boat floatation is not adequate for the planned trip)
              • Spray Skirt/ Deck
              • Paddle Float (optional but a good idea)
              • Bilge Pump (optional but a good idea)
        • For paddling when it is dark (additional equipment):  USCG requires white light. Headlights ok. Flares optional.  
  • Before the paddle begins, please advise trip leaders (privately) of potential medical issues such as use of nitroglycerine, EpiPens, insulin, bronchial inhalers or other medial needs. Trip leaders will need to know where supporting medication is stored.  During the paddle, also advise a trip leader if you are having problems while paddling.
  • Please understand that Trip Leaders may deny trip participation to people that they believe do not have the correct equipment, skills or conditioning to make a safe trip.
  • Stay with the group.  Notify the Trip Leader if you need to leave the group for any reason.
  • Follow your Trip Leaders instructions while on the paddle.  Let her/him know of any problems you are having while paddling – blisters, speed of paddle, tiredness, etc.  Paddlers who do not follow the Trip Leader's instructions may be asked to leave the "official TBSK paddle", which means they would no longer have the Trip Leader as their guide.
  • Paddle Signals are used because voice (and whistles) have limited range. Become familiar with them.
  • Out in the environment it's important to understand Hyperthermia and Heat Stress and how to prevent problems.
  • Good Read...Safety Tips. Also recommend reviewing the other many website documents to gain an understanding of how we work to ensure safe and enjoyable paddling trips.
  • TBSK Service Dog Policy
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