Club Rules

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Within these next pages the following definitions are used:

  • 1* / 2* / 3* / 4*: the relevant British Canoeing (BC) star award
  • L1 / L2: BC Level 1 or BC Level 2 coach qualification
  • MWE: Moderate Water Endorsement
  • WWSR: White Water Safety and Rescue award
  • “Group size” where used includes the leaders / coaches and refers to number of persons not number of boats (e.g. a double kayak is two persons)

New for 2019

Following BCU changes in 2019 – new terminology has been introduced. Some of the new personal awards are not direct equivalents of previous star awards. The new coaching qualifications are not direct equivalents of previous qualifications

Coach / Leader responsibility

Coaches and/or Leaders are responsible for all decision making. The environment where they operate needs to be appropriate according to their skills and qualifications. They need to ensure that paddlers in their group are at appropriate level of skills for the activity and/or environment.

Rule Categories

Different rules for home waters, away waters and private trips. Greater familiarity with specific risks in home waters allows a different set of rules

Home waters

Shadwell Basin

The Shadwell Basin classified as very sheltered water

The tidal Thames

The tidal Thames centred on the Shadwell Pierhead and covering the area from Greenwich Pier to Westminster Bridge

Downstream of the Shadwell Pierhead classified as moderate water under normal weather and tide conditions (at nil tide downstream includes the upstream section as far as the river police station)

Upstream of the Shadwell Pierhead classified as advanced water under normal weather and tide conditions

Private trips

Any trip not specifically covered by these rules or listed herein as a “private trip” is carried by members in their individual capacity and entirely at their own risk

The club accepts no liability for actions or failures of members on private trips

Private trips should be marked as such on website forum or other communication

No private trip may take place in home waters during “Tuesday Club” hours

Experience based validation

In order to actively lead or coach a group in accordance with these Rules, a member needs to additionally satisfy an experience requirement

Members wishing to lead / coach groups should complete the Experience Validation Form and submit it to the Committee via the training officer

The Experience Validation Form can be found on the Club’s website

By exception a paddler not holding the specified Coaching Level or Star award may be considered as equivalently qualified on the basis of their experience

The Club recognises that paddlers holding foreign qualification or otherwise not certificated by British Canoeing may nevertheless be suitably qualified to paddle on the Thames home waters

Experience validations will be reviewed annually and a member may be required to resubmit for assessment if considered necessary

Rules for paddling sessions and trips: Provisions

An L1 coach working independently (that is, not under supervision by a more senior coach or not in tandem with one or more additional coaches) must:

  • Hold a valid first aid certificate
  • Have received appropriate site-specific training

Where an L1 coach proposes to lead a trip away from home waters in accordance with these rules, he/she must:

  • Submit a trip plan to a relevant L2 or higher coach

Any coach working independently with children (for example, assisting the Basin with a session), must have passed a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check

New for 2019

A Paddle Sport Instructor can provide taster/ Start sessions after being deployed by more experienced coach.

Environment specific requirements

Some Club rules are stricter than BC recommendations; this is deliberate

The links below define the minimum requirement needed in each box:

Providers of the new BCU awards

Paddle Awards Minimum qualification that can deliver the award Minimum qualification holders that can work towards becoming a provider
Paddle Start Any qualified Instructor/Coach/Leader/Raft Guide/Bell Boat Helm N/A
Paddle Discover Any qualified Instructor/Coach/Leader/Raft Guide/Bell Boat Helm N/A
Paddle Explore Min: BCU Level 3 Coach/BC (UKCC) L2 Coach/BC Coach Award Min: BCU Level 2 Coach / BC (UKCC) Level 1 / BC Paddlesport Instructor