McMaster Whitewater
Code of Practice

Kayaking is an assumed risk sport. All aspects of the sport, from pool sessions to Grade V whitewater carry varying levels of danger.

Below are the general policies of the club, although these cannot be expected to cover every situation, so it is expected that common sense

will be exercised.

The Code of Practice will be made widely available to club members and shall be displayed on the club web page.

All members are required to sign a waiver and should also be asked to read and make sure they understand the Code of Practice.

No member will be allowed on a trip until they have signed a waiver.

1. Every person participating in any McMaster Whitewater club trips must be an Outdoor Club and McMaster Whitewater member.

2. All members must be familiar with a wet exit and capsize drill

3. We encourage beginners to join our club in the hope that knowledge that we pass on will be passed on to future beginners

4. The club will provide appropriate equipment (kayak, helmet, skirt, paddle and PFD) where possible

5. It is up to the individual to provide suitable clothing and footwear.

6. It is mandatory for all beginners to complete a beginners course before going on a trip, in order to learn the basics, including a wet exit and capsize drill

7. No person shall paddle without wearing a PFD.

8. Rescue and safety equipment will be provided by the club for the more experienced paddlers, providing they have been suitably trained.

9. Whilst it is understood that the experienced paddlers will do their best to ensure the safety of both themselves and others in the group, ultimately each paddler is responsible for their own safety.

10. The more experienced paddles will usually be group leaders. They need not have recognised qualifications to teach, but must have suitable experience.

11. The club has the authority to suspend any individual from club activities, if the club committee feels that their behaviour puts themselves or any other person in danger.

12. No one may use privately owned equipment without the express and prior permission of the owner.

13. A member responsible for damage to equipment may be held responsible for its repair or replacement, at the committee’s discretion.

14. No member shall paddle alone on trips.

15. At least one person with basic first aid training should be present on all canoe club trips

16. The committee of the club or group leaders reserve the right to refuse a person a place on any trip if they feel the person is not capable of safely kayaking what is planned for the trip.

17. The club will try to provide a minimum of 1 experienced paddler to every 3 inexperienced paddler on club trips. If this is not possible, some beginners may be requested not to go or the activity may e cancelled. Inexperienced paddlers may not go out without sufficiently experienced paddlers, although this may be relaxed slightly on flat water.

18. On all trips, the more experienced paddlers will lead the less experienced paddlers to the best of their ability. If the more experienced paddler advises a course of action, it is in the best interest of the member to do so. Anyone directly contravening advice from a more experienced paddler does so at his/her own risk.

19. If anyone gets into trouble on an outing, it is the responsibility if the rest if the group to help them to the best of their ability, whilst not putting themselves at risk. In such a situation, the guidance and advice of the most experienced remaining paddler should be sought.

20. When travelling on a club trip, the driver’s decision (especially regarding stops/breaks) is final.

21. Drivers must be aware of the level of insurance on any vehicle they are driving. For private vehicles, it must be agreed between the owner and any other driver (and possible trip members) how the cost of any damages will be shared.

22. In the event of an accident or emergency situation, the club will follow emergency procedures outlined in the emergency response document.

23. It is recommended that all members read all the club documents and guidelines that are available on the website

24. All paddlers should use common sense and discretion in any paddling situation, and in any cases not covered by the Code of Practice.

25. If there are any queries, problems, suggestions for improvements or amendments to this Code of Practise please contact a committee member.

26. Superseding all other statements in this Code of Practice; any paddler who decides to paddle Grade V water must make a personal risk assessment appropriate to the conditions at the time of paddling and should be aware that they are taking personal responsibility for their own safety, that they are not paddling under the university name and may not use club equipment. The club is not responsible for any consequences for paddlers who choose to run grade V water.