Advice for river trips on Tuesdays
If you want to go on the river on Tuesday night, please read the following guidance as to what you need to have to paddle:
There is a sign-up sheet on the blue clipboard outside the office every week. Please write your full name clearly and circle your level. Anyone who is a 1 star or 2 star and wants to paddle on the river must check with the leader or co-ordinator first.
You need to be ready with your boat and paddle and kit at 6.45pm. If not, you may not be able to go - we are keen to be getting on the water at 7pm and aim to be back 9pm. Late arrivals may not be able to go - it is unfair to hold up the whole group.
- Lights - As it gets darker everyone must have at least two lights. One on the boat and one on themselves. A good thread here; towerhamletscanoeclub.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=1411 suggests the type of lights you could get. It is good practice to have lights with you all year round, as there are only few nights when they are not needed.
- Whistle - Everyone should have one of these tied onto their person. Usually around a BA strap.
- Other gear - As it gets colder, consider carrying a cag or fleece, hat and gloves in a dry bag in your kayak. Often there is room behind the seat. It can get surprisingly cold paddling at night.
- Shoes - (not flip flops) are compulsory during any paddling activity on the river or basin.
- First Aid Kit - Each group going on the river must have a simple first aid kit with them.
- VHF and Towlines
Who can paddle and where
A 4 star or 5 star sea kayaker can paddle anywhere in a group of minimum 3 competent paddlers. They can take other less experienced paddlers according to club rules and ratios. They can also use double kayaks and wider mix and match the group.
A 3 star sea kayaker can paddle upstream or downstream in a group of a minimum of three 3* paddlers. Each 3* paddler, who wants to paddle in a group of 3* paddlers only, needs to be able to organise and execute a rescue in the environment of tidal Thames.
A group of 3* is not allowed to take any 2* upstream without a 4* or 5* being present. They can take a competent 2* downstream provided they are able to look after the group and execute a rescue if necessary.
A 2 star can paddle downstream in a group of other three 3* sea kayakers - provided the conditions and skills of the group are suitable for such group to go.
A 2* can paddle upstream if there’s a 4*/5* leader present and the skills of the 2* paddler are suitable for such environment.
A 1 star paddler can paddle downstream when a L2 coach with 4* MWE is present.
QP - A Qualified Paddler is someone who is competent paddler on 3* level but without relevant formal UK qualification, and is assessed and signed off as per club rules.
It is important that everyone who wants to paddle on the Thames keeps up their skill level by regular training and refreshers, for example rescues. Personal skills of each paddler, regardless of star award, need to match the environment and the needs of the group. The leader or co-ordinator have the right not to take paddlers on the river regardless of their star award. Plainly speaking a 3* who can’t/won’t rescue could be considered as a 2* paddler, and e.g. may not be allowed to paddle upstream, or 4* who does not keep up with leadership skills, may be asked not to lead groups.
For further specification and exact ratios, please read this post, and the club rules in full. Any questions, talk to a river leader or co-ordinator on the night.
There has been important safety information posted on the forum: 2020 - Important information for all River Thames paddlers