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Adults watching a paddlesmart presentation.
Location Chilliwack, British Columbia. Photo credit: Priscilla Haskin

Paddle Canada Safety Briefing for all Disciplines & Courses

Transport Canada requires all Paddle Canada instructors give a short safety briefing before the start of any course, clinic or group paddle. It may be a brief statement or it may be more extensive due to higher risks such as a particularly challenging portion of the waterway or coastline.

Below is a list of suggested items that may or may not be relevant to the day’s activity. Many of them are general ideas that could serve as a trigger for any specific details an instructor or trip leader might bring forward in safety briefing.

  • Ensure everyone is properly dressed for the conditions.
  • Ensure everyone meets Transport Canada regulations.
  • Confirm the float plan is accurate and fully completed.
  • If relevant, confirm the vehicles are locked and keys are a safe place.
  • Identify the leader and sweep to the group.
  • Know and discuss the weather forecast and its impact on the day’s course or 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.

Learn more about the Transport Canada regulations.