THE SAFETY TALK - Including Common Safety Practices
1. Equipment check; helmet, lifejacket + whistle, throw rope, med kit, food, water, spray skirt, flotation bags, drain plug, dressed for the swim (proper insulation, no cotton clothing). Helmets are recommended on all moving water and are required on Class 2 or above. Trip Organizer may require helmets on less than Class 2 at their discretion.
2. Ask if there are any physical or medical conditions we need to know about.
3. Provide description of the river; include features, stopping plans, weather, and river level. Remind
people of possible hazards (sweepers, logs) and how to react.
4. Assess boating skill levels, who has done this river before? How many beginner boaters? Identify who
a person can follow if they want a line. If in doubt, get out and scout; it is honorable to portage any spot.
5. Who has the keys?
6. Decide lead and sweep. Don’t get behind the sweep or ahead of the lead.
7. Go over signals; Whistle, 1 or 3 blasts, paddle straight up, or horizontal, patting head. Point positive.
8. Mention kayaker etiquette: Don’t crowd other boaters, When you are surfing, upstream boats have
right of way. Steer clear of fishermen. Keep the boat ahead and behind in view.
9. BRIEF description of what to do if there is a swimmer. (1 whistle blast + “SWIMMER!” Help, keep
yourself safe, stay alert.)
10. If you are out of boat in rough water, swim the back stroke with feet downstream and on the surface
until you are in calm water. If being rescued by a boater, do what they say. Hang onto your boat+paddle
IF IT IS SAFE TO DO SO, and stay upstream of your boat to avoid being pinned by it. Don't stand up in
current higher than your knees to avoid foot entrapment.
11. You are responsible for yourself.
12. No substance use before or during trip.
13. Stay safe, have fun and smile!