Leading a Trip

Who can lead RCC Club Trips and what do they need to do?

”Who can lead” is difficult to answer in short, because of the wide variety of possible trips and conditions.

The beauty of paddling is as soon as you feel competent in one aspect of paddling, then another challenge presents itself and you’re a beginner all over again.  Flatwater paddlers move to Ocean paddling or you change your estuary boats to a Surf Ski – or as the recent yahoo discussion, you now find yourself paddling open canoes with half a paddle.  

So who can lead?

To lead trips In RCC, you need the paddling skills and experience to match the particular trip. However anyone can organise a Club trip if they coopt a leader who fits the bill.

“What does a leader need to do” is a little easier to answer as it is common for all trips.

  1. You need to follow Club trip safety procedures. 
  2. Prepare a Float Plan see link below
    1. Destination
    2. Schedule (Start, Finish and Overdue Times)
    3. Description of the expected conditions and grade
    4. Guide to participants of expected minimum competencies
    5. Guide to participants of minimum equipment requirements
  3. Sending your idea to the White, Ocean or Flatwater Convenor
  4. The convenors will review and add the stamp of approval from the Club. (The Club now takes responsibility for the trip, including legal & insurance cover)
  5. The trips are then advertised on the Club calendar or the yahoo group
  6. The float plan is a tool to be used and will be a live document leading up to the event with the inclusion of participants names and details prior to the trip.
  7. If a Trip leader is not familiar with a paddlers skill level and whether they will be able to meet the trips minimum standard, the trip leader should take the opportunity to speak with paddler to understand their competences prior to a trip.

So lets unpack just what this means.

Trips can be as short as an hour on local Cooks River or they could be a multi day remote whitewater trip down the Shoalhaven. Destination, a schedule (Float and emergency plan) is common to all trips. All waterways are graded according to skill level and the consequences of unexpected conditions. Safety Training on the Barrington River

Your paddling competence needs to match the grade of the water. Competence comes from learning the basic techniques and underlying knowledge, training and practice. Experience is developed by spending time in a variety of trips & events lead by competent leaders.  See the paddler compentencies document to assess your abilities.

A club membership is usually the first way to develop skills. I haven’t met a paddler yet who doesn’t try to share their knowledge and skills with others, even on their second day on water.  The same goes for trip leading. Watch and pick out the best ideas and add to your own personal life experience- it is all valid.

The Club also organises training, courses, mentoring on trips; firstly to improve their skills as competent paddlers and then as future leaders of Club trips.  The Training and Safety Convenor will also respond to your ideas for courses and events and then advertise on the Calendar or yahoo.

The Club supports financial members who lead the Club trips or training events if they undertake courses that meet the industry paddling standards.  This includes the cost of assessment and registration with Australian Canoeing Awards in Guiding and Instructing if you lead a few trips each year. See the Club policy on Supporting Qualified Guides & Instructors for further information.

The Club strongly recommends that all experienced paddlers participate in these courses offered regularly by PaddleNSW to help extend their knowledge and formalise their current competence.  The Club is proud to report that there are close to thirty AC qualified Club leaders. (But for a Club of 100 members, should there be more?)  The courses are conducted on the same grade of water that you will eventually lead & can take a couple of weekends with other like-minded paddlers.    Even if you don’t wish to be assessed, you are more than welcome to participate.   

Don’t miss the links in the document. There is a stack of information to assist you to becoming a Club Leader, or qualified Guide or Instructor. Give it a go and see how the Club can support your ideas.

Lynn

RCC Training and Safety coordinator

Safety Training on the Barrington River