Planning river trips

INstructor tips - Planning River Trips

Some people like planning trips almost more than going on them, for others planning their boating weekend means putting the river, date and time up on facebook. Is this enough if an emergency situation occurs on the river? What else should we be thinking about?

The Group

If you paddle with the same people year after year, then you get used to how they will react and their particular strengths and weaknesses. You also all use the same signals and know that everyone has rescue gear in their boat (maybe even exactly what everyone has). In this case as long as you either have some real rescues happen occasionally or do some rescue training then your group is as prepared as it can be.

For a group that have not paddled together before, the following should be a minimum that you would want to check before getting on the river (or earlier):

Regardless of how often you paddle together a quick "briefing" before you get on the water gives anyone who has forgotten rescue equipment or has an injury a chance to tell everyone and is a relaxing way to start the trip.

The river section

Again if everyone has paddled the river section before, at this water level, then you are "good to go". However if some or all have not, then you need to make sure to cover these points.

The shuttle

Often the hardest part of the whole trip! Sometimes as simple as "meet at the get out leave one car there and drive up to the put in with the other one". More people and more vehicles always make the shuttle more complicated, as well as dreaded multiple get in and take out options! Having a trip leader who knows the put in and take out can save hours spent driving around looking for the right place.

Generally the longer the trip is, and the more wilderness the surroundings are, the more effort should be put into planning to make sure your trip goes smoothly.

Have a fun, safe & smooth trip next time your out on the water!