MVB Canoeing Program Risk Management and Operating Procedures               

Part 2 MVB Canoeing Operating Procedures

The clubs emergency contact procedures policy applies to canoeing. The secure Google drive online booking form containing personal details of participants each canoeing event will be maintained by the leader of each event and made accessible to committee persons and any other designated responsible person. A list of participants and their contact details will be also accessible to the club secretary. Contact numbers for MVB executive members will be made available to the person who the canoeing equipment is hired from. 

Leaders will carry a waterproof bag containing the following

  1. A mobile phone with the canoe supplier’s number and co-leaders programmed into the memory
  2. A whistle, extra bottle of water, sunscreen, and list of participants, a laminated river map.
  3. Tow ropes and floats, basic first aid kit, heat blanket(silver), mobile phone, whistle, fresh drinking water, laminated map of area of paddle

Safety Guidelines

  1. All participants must wear an approved personal flotation device (pfd)
  2. It is desirable for participants in such events to be able to swim but it will be left to individuals to assess whether they have appropriate swimming ability for an event
  3. Groups of 6 vessels or more require at least 2 leaders (leader plus a co-leader)1 leader to be in front canoe and the other leader to be in the rear canoe of the group of six
  4. An upper, limit of 18 participants in a river paddle is suggested which is a ratio of leaders to paddlers of 1: 9 which is in accordance suggested in the safety guidelines on the Canoe Australia website as evening canoeing will only take place in fine weather
  5. In the case of canadian canoe usage Inexperienced paddlers are to be in a boat with an experienced paddler
  6. In the case of siton kayak usage inexperienced paddlers are to be mentored and guided by an experienced paddler or paddlers
  7. Children are the responsibility of the parent accompanying them and children will paddle with that parent - this to be at the discretion fo the leader who can intervene if a safer arrangement is required
  8. When Canadian canoes are used, the front paddler in each boat scouts all doubtful parts of the river and alerts the rear partner who then sets the course dependent on the information received. The front boat is never passed and sets the pace
  9. The front boat, middle boat and end boat are to be equipped with safety equipment to ensure that if a rescue is necessary there will be a quick response
  10. Canoe safety training is a separate activity and the maximum number of participants in a training session is 15 
  11. At each event there will be co leaders depending on numbers and one main leader who will give instructions on safety at the beginning of each activity and should the need for a rescue occur will give instructions to whole group during this time and be responsible for contacting appropriate persons.
  12. Participants will be encouraged to take part in canoe safety training session with a trainer if not previously undertaken.
  13. Canoe events are to be cancelled if river levels are deemed to be of an unsafe level. This decision will be made by the main leader with assistance from any co-leaders and advice from a local river expert. If required cancellation of the paddle will be made by mid afternoon with all participants notified by 4pm.
  14. The leader has the right to disallow unuitable craft that are deemed unsuitable for the event  

Procedures to be Reiterated With Participants Before Every Event

  1. As soon as you have paid get lifejackets and make sure that they are properly fitted
  2. Valuables, keys and non essential electronic gear be left behind or placed in a waterproof container attached to you or your vessel
  3. Do not enter the water until the leader revises the safety guidelines
  4. Once in the water, paddle upstream until the whole group is launched.
  5. The leader will indicate when the group should set off by blasting a whistle to get group together.
  6. Life jackets must be worn at all times when in the canoes
  7. The person in the front of the canoe is responsible for identifying and alerting of approaching hazards.
  8. Each craft has a responsibility to the craft behind. It should not lose visual contact.
  9. The party needs to be compact at all times.


  1. 1 whistle blast – reform the group
  2. 2 whistle blasts - the group will pull in to the bank
  3. 3 whistle blasts - paddler in the water - rescue procedures occur.

Rescue Procedures

  1. Rescue will occur under the leader’s direction
  2. If your canoe capsizes, hold on to your canoe and wait for assistance.
  3. If canoe is stuck on a log another canoe will assist you to shore.
  4. Others will rescue the canoe and equipment

Canoeing Event Protocols

  1. Book in early dont leave it to the last minute
  2. Arrive on time - text the leader if going to be delayed
  3. Have the correct money with you for paddle and bbq
  4. The group will always proceed at the pace of the slowest paddlers
  5. In a recovery situation (capsize, boat stuck etc) instructions must come from the leader only
  6. If there is an incident do not leave the scene and proceed to paddle unless instructed to do so by the leader


Risk Management for Leaders

The club will auspice and encourage canoe leaders to obtain the Canoe/Kayak Lifeguard award and a recognised First Aid qualification


Australian Canoeing Education and Safety Technical Committee Safety Guidelines

"Minimum requirements for the conduct of safe non competitive canoeing and kayaking activities”

Published March 23 2011 and available from the Canoeing Australia website

 Part 2 revised at MVB Inc Committee Meeting held on October 17 2016 - to be reviewed and ratified at next Committee meetinG