The majority of club trips are peer trips. We would like to stress that all attending a peer trip share an equal responsibility for the trip, not just he trip co-ordinator. By RSVP to a trip you are confirming your role in the group.
Re risk assessment on peer trips, here are a few thoughts to nudge you in the right direction.
If the trip is an official trip the leader will have undertaken a dynamic risk assessment for that group on that day. It will have included thoughts on the items listed below. If the trip is a peer trip then it is the responsibility of all members of the group to undertake a personal and group risk assessment.
Peer paddling activity is where no instructional or guiding structure exists and it is the responsibility of each person within the group to ensure the suitability of their equipment and themselves for the activity. Peer paddling is a great way to get out, explore, socialise and exercise. Anyone that does participate in peer paddling should give consideration of their duty of care to themselves each other and give consideration to their individual abilities and aspirations. Having a collective responsibility works well within peer groups, with clear agreed expectations, shared planning of the trip / journey as well as the equipment carried for safety and comfort.
Ask questions such as does my participation cause unacceptable risk to myself or the group.
When planning a river/sea trip you should undertake a risk assessment. This can be verbal and does not need to be written down. The aim is to identify the possible hazards and take action to avoid them before ether occur.
Things to consider:
- The river grade /hazards /cruxes. Likelihood of fences / trees. OR the sea state / tides /overfalls etc.
- Who in the group has paddled the river / sea section before?
- Recent rainfall / strong wind/ water level/ tides/weather forecast
- Water quality.
- The paddlers ability.
- Personal kit.
- Group kit
- Where is the nearest road /evacuation point if needed.
- Do you know the paddlers , if no, make efforts to find out.
- Kit for dealing with ‘issues’
The bottom line, despite having travelled to the venue, it is always possible for an individual or the group to decide NOT to paddle.
LCC urges the trip co-ordinator to ensure that a conversation is had before paddling. If the trip co-ordinator forgets to do so then all others have an equal responsibility to ensure a conversation takes place
Does everyone know who has:
- First aid kit / throw line / rescue kit.
- Spare paddles/ boat repair kit /emergency shelter/ radio etc.
- Any medical issues that others should be aware of.
- Encourage all to share thoughts and ask questions.
- Establish how the group will operate on the river.
- Ensure consistency of signals.
- Share expectations of each other on the water.
- Share expectations of each other in event of a swimmer or incident.