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Paddling Safety Guidelines

Coordinators Responsibility:


To ensure all participants have registered on the website, and non-LOC members have completed and signed a Waiver Form


To remind participants they are responsible for their own safety and comfort


To help coordinate vehicles and drivers to and from the paddling site


To clearly outline the paddling route including the launch and take out sites


To ensure a First Aid kit is available, and all participants have a properly fitted PFD


To arrange (if necessary and available) boats, paddles and a second canoeist


To ensure everyone has a Passport or Nexus card when going to the U.S.

To remind participants to be aware of their skill levels as defined below.

Participants Responsibility:

To seriously consider their skill levels defined as follows:

  • Novice: Trips of generally 4-10 km lasting 2-3 hrs on relatively flat waters. Must be able to control canoe/kayak and know basic paddle strokes and manoeuvres.
  • Intermediate: Trips of generally 10-15 km lasting 4-5 hrs with possibly minor rapids and obstructions. Must know all required paddle strokes and manoeuvres, and be comfortable with wet exits.
  • ExperiencedTrips of generally 15-20 km lasting 6-8 hrs occasionally in fast moving water or rapids. Must have mastered advanced manoeuvring skills and paddling strokes, and be comfortable with wet exits.

To stay safe by having proper equipment including a bailing device, a sound making device, and a throw bag with 50’ of buoyant rope. Boats must be equipped with a floatation system such as sealed chambers. Each canoe must carry three paddles.


To wear proper attire including extra dry clothes in a waterproof bag. Consider a wet suit for colder and wetter weather conditions. A properly fitted PFD must be worn at all times.


To be prepared for the unexpected by bringing a cell phone, maps & compass, as well as extra water and sealed food. Review and practice self rescue and assisted rescue techniques.


To properly organize for multi-day trips including:

  • Shelter: Tents must be of good quality with a full fly.
  • Waterproofing: Tents, gear, sleeping bags, mattresses and food containers must be waterproofed.
  • Healthy practices: Foods must be preserved to suit length of trip. Kitchen area including pots and stoves must be safe for food preparation. Water must be purified using tablets or filtration devices.
  • Safety: Bring a First Aid kit, SPOT, GPS, repair kit, cell phone, compass and maps of intended route.
  • Clothing: Polypro or quick dry materials (no cotton) preferred.

Portaging: Bring suitable footwear as well as relatively light equipment in anticipation of having to carry everything from one waterway to the next.

Carpooling: When sharing a car ride to starting point of an LOC same-day event, it is customary to make a donation to the driver $5.00 for carpooling trips within Lambton County (or within St. Clair County in the U.S.), or $10.00 outside of those counties. Carpooling arrangements including cost sharing donations for multi-day, longer distance trips should be determined by the event leader before departure.