Paddling Safety

The Three T's: Trip Plan, Training, Ten Essentials

Trip Plan

  • Check water and weather conditions
  • Inventory the experience and abilities of group
  • Gather navigation and environmental information to plan your route
  • Think ahead and use prudent judgement
  • Designate a leader (how are you going to manage your group)


  • Identify personal and groups skills and training
  • Consider pre-trip training from organizations such as Paddle Canada, Paddle Alberta, RCABC, ORCKA etc)
  • Learn to navigate with compass, map and GPS
  • Seek survival skill training
  • Dress for the water temperature (prepare for cold water immersion)
  • Practice paddling strokes and rescues
  • Identify and assess risks before and during trip (ongoing)
  • Take a First Aid course
  • Take a Swiftwater Rescue course


  • Have legal gear requirements: PFD's, bailer, whistle, buoyant heaving line, flashlight
  • Write a Trip Plan / Float Plan (tell someone where you are going and when you are coming back)
  • Ensure Gear and Clothing is appropriate for immersion
  • Wear a helmet (Moving Water / Sea Kayak suf)
  • Take the Ten Essentials:
    • Water & Food
    • First Aid
    • Sunscreen
    • Navigation Tools
    • Communication / Signalling
    • Clothing
    • Shelter
    • Knife
    • Matches/Fire
    • Drybag

Paddler Code of Ethics

  • Wear a Lifejacket / PFD (Personal Flotation Device)
  • Avoid Alcohol and Drugs
  • Check Weather / Water Conditions
  • Communicate (Tell a Buddy, File a Float Plan (day or overnight), bring devices like cell phone, radio or SPOT, or leave float plan in the car)
  • Paddle Within Your Abilities
  • Respect The Environment
  • Take the Essentials
  • Know Rules of the Road (Marine Navigation)