Advice for canoe and kayak hire
Canoeing is the UK’s most popular watersport and many people regularly and safely enjoy the pleasures of paddling on rivers, canals and the coast. This year has seen unusually high rainfall over the last few months and has led to a number of incidents on the river Wye, particularly for new participants who are taking to the water for the first time. The British Canoe Union offers advice to people hiring equipment and planning activity on waterways.
Canoeing like any outdoor sport, is an assumed risk sport, the BCU (British Canoe Union) always encourages planning and preparation. However in times of particularly high water it is essential to be especially alert of the conditions and to consider your ability to manage them.
Richard Harvey, Chief Executive of Canoe Wales comments,
“We are experiencing atypical water conditions for the season on the Wye and unfortunately incidents have occurred due to high water levels. Anyone getting on rivers should be aware of additional risks that exist as a result of extended rainfall and high water.
Care and observation applies to all but especially to those taking to the water for the first time.
Those with little experience may think fast moving rivers show little danger, but dangers can often be submerged. The decision to paddle should be an informed and educated individual choice, which takes into account; conditions, fitness levels, experience and ability. Careful consideration of these factors and good preparation will mean a more enjoyable experience.”
Chris Hawkesworth, Planning and Facilities Manager of Canoe England comments,
“Canoeing on the River Wye is a great to see the valley and has an excellent safety record. Being selective about equipment hire and using a guide is essential to maintain safety. If you have any doubt about whether you should be on the river, you probably shouldn’t.”
Dane Broomfield from the Environment Agency says,
"As the school holidays get underway we are urging those thinking of taking a trip out on the river to be very aware of the unpredictable nature of the river and to never underestimate its power. Rivers at a high level, heavily coloured and fast flowing as they have been in this current unsettled weather pattern need to be respected and are only suitable for skilled groups or intermediates being guided by instructors.”
Canoeing’s national governing bodies are developing a hire accreditation scheme to help ensure a consistency of standards from equipment hirers and this kite mark will be available from the beginning of 2013.
In the meantime, advice and guidance on what to look for when choosing equipment to hire, is available as a download