GUIDELINES FOR SAFE & RESPONSIBLE TRIP PARTICIPATION
The guidelines below are for your consideration as a responsible kayaker. Anyone wishing to attend any paddle posted on the message board should consider these issues before launching on any paddle trip. These guidelines should be used along with sound judgment .
1. Acknowledge that those posting trips are simply organizers and are not professional or trained guides. The trip organizer is not an instructor or a guide. The trip organizer is a fellow paddler who suggests a particular trip and paddlers may accompany him/her. The trip organizer is not necessarily trained in First Aid or CPR and may not carry first aid equipment or other such devices necessary for performing rescues.
2. Realize that you are responsible for your own safety at all times on the trip. Educate yourself about the trip and obtain a map of the area you intend to paddle. Determine if the conditions and length of trip are appropriate for your level of experience, skill and equipment. Do not overestimate your abilities to handle new or challenging conditions. If some aspect of the trip feels unsafe to you, make your concerns known.
3. Consider whether the trip is appropriate for your boat type, your skill level and your endurance level. How long of a trip is it? What type and length of kayak is needed? Is the trip right for your physical condition and your skill level? Are self-rescue skills needed? Are there any special equipment or skills that you need to have? Do you need to wear a dry suit or a wet suit to address the water temperature and threat of hypothermia? What potential conditions or obstacles might you encounter? Are there challenges present such as strong current, wind, breaking waves that require special training to address? Do you need to bring food or a snack?
4. Paddlers must be 18 years of age or older to participate in any JSSKA paddling trip, camping trip or other event.
5. Realize that you are responsible for your own navigation on the trip. Paddlers should familiarize themselves with the area they are paddling. This includes, the type of water, currents, level of boat traffic and any other potential obstacles to safety along the route. Paddlers should also be aware of the intended route and distance of the trip they plan to attend and should have their own maps and navigational aids. In summary, paddlers should be able to navigate their own way to the takeout or back to the launch site in the event of separation from the group.
6. Proper equipment must include a USCG approved PFD (to be worn while on trip), a kayak with sealed compartments or floatation bags, adequate paddle, a sound producing device (whistle, bell, horn), drinking-water for adequate hydration, and any other equipment required by the USCG for the particular trip (check with the trip organizer for specific requirements). Recommended equipment includes a spray skirt, spare paddle, paddle float, bilge pump, navigational maps and/or device (compass, GPS), communication device (radio or cell phone), snack, and sunscreen.
7. Contact the trip organizer and inform them of your intention to attend the trip. Be sure to ask any trip related questions to help you decide if the trip is right for you, your kayak, your skill level and your endurance level.
8. Be on time. Note whether the time listed for the trip is the launch time or arrival time.
9. Cooperate and be flexible: Be aware that the trip organizer may need to alter the plan due to the weather, the needs of one paddler or the needs of the group as a whole.
10. Trip organizers may recommend that a paddler not participate if they believe the paddler does not have the proper equipment, skills or conditioning to make a safe trip. The trip organizer has the right to refuse participation of anyone for whom participation would be considered unsafe
11. Communication is important: Alert the group and trip organizer if you are having difficulties with things like fatigue, sickness, or equipment problems. Alert the group and trip organizer if you are having trouble handling the paddling conditions, are anxious or are having difficulty keeping up with the group.
12. JSSKA does not recommend consuming alcoholic beverages before or during paddling. JSSKA is not responsible for the safety of anyone who choses to consume alcohol at any JSSKA related activity, paddling trip, camping trip or event.
13. Stay with the group: No paddler should break away from the group. If you need to leave the group for any reason, notify the trip organizer or another paddler in the group. Paddlers should be able to navigate their own way back to the launch site if they need to leave the group.