Paddle Canada Safety Briefing for all Disciplines & Courses

Transport Canada states the following:

“Instructors or guides will conduct, at the start of the course, an overview with all participants of all relevant safety and emergency procedures. The safety briefing will be conducted in either or both official languages and according to the group’s needs.”

More information: http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/marinesafety/tp-menu-515-4372.html

This is a list of what one may cover in a Safety Briefing just prior to setting out on the water.  This list includes suggested items that may or may not be relevant to the day’s activity. The briefing is something that should be done each time a group goes on the water.  It may be a brief statement or it may cover a particularly challenging portion of the waterway or coastline.

  • Ensure everyone is properly dressed for the conditions.
  • Ensure everyone meets Transport Canada Regulations.
  • Confirm the float plan is accurate and filed.
  • If relevant, confirm the vehicles are locked and keys are a safe place.
  • Identify the leader and sweep.
  • Know and discuss the weather forecast and its impact on the trip.
  • Discuss the paddling plan; what to expect, check the chart, include time frames for paddling, breaks, lunch, and other goals.
  • Identify the location of the medical kit and emergency gear.
  • Ensure all paddlers have their own gear safely stowed (including clothing, food, and medicine, etc.).
  • Review emergency procedures including hand signals, and capsize and rescue procedures.
  • Identify hazards in the launching area.
  • Identify waiting area for the group while others are launching.
  • Allow time for questions or comments.
  • Confirm everyone is ‘zipped and clipped’ (PFDs and helmets) and has whistles, ensure safety gear is accessible, and, if applicable, spray decks in place, hatches sealed, and foot pedals adjusted, and ready for launch.

Many of these are general ideas that could serve as a trigger for any specific details a trip leader or instructor might bring forward in safety briefing.