Paddling Guidelines for Canoe & Kayak Trips.


            Coordinators Responsibility

  1. Make sure all participants have signed an Attendance Sheet.
  2. Anyone not a LOC member must read and sign a Waiver form. (This is a must :- no sign/no go).
  3. Arrange for Boats, PFD’s or Paddles (for those without).
  4. Define canoe route on maps and select launch site and take out point.
  5. Arrange rides and drivers (share gas cost).
  6. First Aid kit (owned by club- passed on to coordinator).
  7. Impress on each person that they are responsible for their own safety and comfort.
  8. Everyone must have I.D.& Health Insurance coverage when going over to the U.S.
  9. Remind each person not to exceed their skill level. If you don’t feel comfortable with a situation, don’t feel obligated to do it.


Canoe & Kayak Trip Rating Criteria & Skill Requirements.

  1. Easy

Class – Beginner.

Trip length – 4 – 10 km.

Duration – 2 – 3 hours.

Water Conditions – Flat water e.g. Pinery, Saugeen River.

Skill Level – Good control of Canoe / Kayak.

Must know basic paddle strokes & maneuvers.

  1. Medium

Class – Intermediate.

Length – 10 – 15 km.

Duration – 4 – 5 hours.

Water Conditions – Minor rapids, Class 1 – 2 e.g. Ausable River, Grand River.

Skill Level – Flat water and moving water and some experience in rapids.

Must know all required paddle strokes & maneuvers.

Kayakers must be comfortable with wet exits.

River could have bends and obstructions that might be encountered.

  1. Difficult

Class -Experienced.

Length – 13 – 20 km.

Duration – 6 – 8 hours.

Water Conditions – Fast moving water, Rapids, Class 2 – 3 e.g. Maitland Spring Run.

Skill Level – Lots of maneuvering skills required .

Must be able to ferry & back paddle.

Must have very good paddle stroke knowledge and use.

Kayakers must be comfortable with wet exits.

Eskimo roll skill would be good (usually too shallow locally).

Participants Responsibility



Safety is a prime focus on all LOC outings. Safety is your responsibility and all members and guests must have signed a waiver accepting this responsibility to participate. Failure to have proper equipment puts not only you at risk but all those with whom you’re paddling.

A PFD must be worn at all times when near or on the water.



The Canadian Coast Guard specifies certain equipment that must be carried in every vessel. Enforcement officers can write tickets on the spot for infractions and fines are in the $200 range.

For small vessels such as canoes and kayaks this required equipment consists of :-

Properly fitted Canadian approved personal flotation device (PFD) for each person.

Bailing device: a bilge pump or bailer. A bailer has to have a minimum capacity of 3 cups (750 ml), have an opening of 3.5″ (9 cm) and be made of plastic or metal. A cut down bleach bottle will qualify.

Whistle, horn or other sound making device

Throw bag with15 meters (50′) of buoyant rope

Lights are not required if the vessel is under 6 meters in length and operated only during daylight hours. If operated between sunset and sunrise then proper navigation lights are required.

It is a LOC rule that a PFD must be worn at all times when near or on the water and each canoe must carry three (3) paddles.


Other items that should be considered:

Cell phone.

Maps & compass.


Food and Clothing

Come prepared for colder and wetter weather than forecast. Spring trips may require wet or dry suits. On all outings, bring extra warm, dry clothes in a waterproof bag or double bagged in plastic. Bring a lunch and plenty to drink. Due to water levels and other factors, the duration of some trips can be difficult to predict.



Generally most people bring their own boats on outings. If you don’t have a boat but are interested in paddling with us, contact the trip coordinator. There may be another person with a canoe that is looking for a partner. In some cases there may also be the possibility of borrowing a boat (but no guarantees). If you need a boat or partner you must call early (at least 3 days before the trip).

Boats must be equipped with floatation, either in sealed chambers or secured float bags.

The following are additional Rules and Equipment Requirements that apply to Wilderness Canoe & Kayak Multi Day Tripping.


Review and practice Canoe / Kayak rescue techniques.

Review personal gear of participants.

Review Group gear.

A PFD must be worn at all times when near or on the water.


Canoe / Kayak: Type of boat must be selected to suit the worst expected conditions.

Paddles: Flat water and / or white water paddles to suit worst expected conditions.

Shelter: Tents must be of good quality, waterproofed with full fly.

Bedding: Mattress and sleeping bag to suit worst expected conditions.

Navigation: Maps of intended route & compass.

Water Purification: Tablets, UV, Filter or Purifier must be used.

Food Preservation: Foods must be preserved to suit length of trip.

Kitchen: Must have appropriate pots, stoves, & kitchen kit for safe food preparation.

Safety: First Aid kit, SPOT, GPS, Repair kits, Cell phone.

Waterproofing: All gear and food must be waterproofed using bear barrels or waterproof bags.

Clothing: No cotton. Polypro or quick dry materials preferred.

Portaging: Suitable footwear and equipment harnesses must be used. You have to carry everything on the portages so keep loads as light as possible. As a guide, do not carry more than 30% of your body weight, 50lbs maximum for adults.

Canoe / Kayak rescue techniques: Must have understanding of and be able to demonstrate self rescue and assisted rescue techniques.

Personal gear: As per list provided by trip coordinator.

Group gear: As per list provided by trip coordinator