All of our trips are coordinated by volunteers. Any club member with suitable experience can organise a trip.
The club runs two types of trips: club trips and coached trips. Help and guidelines on organising each can be found on this page.
Organising a club trip
A club trip is one that’s advertised through Regents Canoe Club – for example on the website or through Notes From Canalside. Organising a club trip can be as easy as you want or as hard as you want. What follows are some guidelines that should help you organise a successful trip. If in doubt, just ask someone who has run a similar trip in the past.
Below is a tick list of things you will need to consider when organising your trip:
- Trip type (whitewater, surf etc) and target (what grade of water or experience of trip attendees)
- Accommodation type e.g. hostel, bunkhouse, camping etc
- Find & book accommodation
- Submit proposed trip deposit to Treasurer for approval
- Advertise trip, including cost and what’s included
- Obtain deposit (or full payment) from interested members
- Liaise with an experienced member of your trip to ensure the trip will run safely
- Send accommodation deposit to venue
- Find out who can drive, and who can pick up boats from the club (if club boats are needed)
- Match people to cars
- Ensure equipment is hired
- Decide catering arrangements
- Purchase food if applicable
- Check water levels, decide on the plan for the trip
- Have a backup plan!
Ultimately, it is each person’s own responsibility to ensure their own safety on the river. However, experienced or qualified members on the trip can advise organisers and participants about trip safety. As trip organiser you should consult experienced members and make decisions in liaison with them to keep the trip safe and enjoyable for everyone. For example, you will need to consider:
- The river (grade, water levels etc) and competency of the group as a whole
- How the trip will split into river groups – leaders / ratios
- Individuals and their suitability to be on the river
- Logistics e.g. shuttles
- Distribution of first aiders and safety kit within the groups
- All trip organisers should make themselves familiar with the location of the nearest Accident and Emergency (A&E) service, just in case: www.nhs.uk/Service-Search/Accident-and-emergency-services/LocationSearch/428
Trip type and date
Decide what kind of trip it will be, for example a white water river running trip, a surfing trip, a trip to a slalom competition, or something else. Similarly you will need to decide who you are targeting for the trip – this might be a group of people with a certain experience level, or it may be open to a broad range of people from within RCC. Try to select a date that does not clash with an existing RCC Club event. You can find details of all published trips and events in the club calendar: www.regentscanoeclub.co.uk/calendar
All club events are planned in the club’s online planner (spreadsheet) – check this for any dates that haven’t yet been advertised in the calendar.
There are many areas to kayak in the UK or further afield – if you want any ideas ask the committee, other club members, search the web or look at kayaking publications. If you are considering organising a trip to a location you’ve never been before it’s worth checking to see if any other member has been and what advice they can offer. Alternatively check out the online rivers guide at www.ukriversguidebook.co.uk.
Make sure everyone on the trip knows which rivers (and/or sections) you’re intending to paddle.
Advertise your trip
All club trips are advertised through Notes from Canalside and on the website – as these are published to all club members. Once the advert has been published on either, it is fine to also advertise it on the RCC Facebook Group and in any direct emails to your friends in the club.
You need to come up with the wording and details for your advert – don’t forget to spell check it! Be sure to include details of where you’ll be paddling, who the trip is aimed at (levels of experience etc), the type of accommodation you will be staying in, the deposit payment amount and what it includes or doesn’t include, and where to send the deposit payment (see the section on Finances for further details).
Send your trip advert to email@example.com for inclusion in Notes from Canalside and to create a new calendar entry. Once the trip is full, don’t forget to let the Chair know to remove the advert from Notes from Canalside.
All people on RCC club trips should be Regents Canoe Club members. Any queries about whether someone is a member or not can be directed to the membership officer: firstname.lastname@example.org
Suitability – what ability level is required
Most trips organised by RCC are suitable for members that have at least completed the Introduction to White Water Kayak course in full, or have equivalent experience. It’s always worth emphasising that white water experience is usually required on all Club trips. Occasionally trips will be organised to more difficult rivers, meaning that only more experienced paddlers will be accepted on to the trip. If you don’t know someone’s ability, ask them what rivers they have been on and what their experience is. If you’re unsure of the rivers they have told you, speak to a Committee member who can advise you.
How many people on the trip is too many?
Always consider the number of members you can cope with on a trip. Consideration should be given for accommodation size, transportation and catering. Also consider how the paddling will be structured on the river (river running group sizes) with a good ratio of experienced paddlers to less experienced. On most weekends away there will be experienced paddlers willing to help others. However, this must never be taken for granted. If you are unsure about this, please seek advice from a Committee member.
Similarly, even if you only have a core of three or four people wanting to go, you can still have a good trip.
Once a trip is full, other members may wish to hire accommodation nearby and join the trip. This can make a trip much more complicated and can annoy other members who couldn’t get on the trip. Don’t feel pressured to allow such members to join the groups on the river. If need be, explain that they will have to do their own thing (assuming they have enough experienced members to paddle safely) and perhaps invite them to join you in the pub (but again, let them sort out their own meals etc).
Decide what type of accommodation you intend to use and ensure it exists in the area. RCC tends to use youth hostels, bunkhouses, self catering or camping; generally ensuring it is affordable to all. The club has membership of the Youth Hostel Association which can sometimes offer discounted rates – you can get details from the Secretary: email@example.com. Once you have an idea of the number of members coming you can secure the accommodation. Some accommodation requires you to pay the cost up front. It is sometimes possible for the club to pay this to the accommodation in advance, however, you must check with the Treasurer (firstname.lastname@example.org) in advance before committing to any payments.
Ensure everyone knows whether they’ll be sharing in mixed or single-sex rooms when using youth hostels or bunkhouse style accommodation.
What’s included: check if any meals (breakfasts/lunches etc) and/or parking are included
What’s provided: check if bed linen is provided – sleeping bags will sometimes be required. Determine what other facilities are there for RCC use e.g. kitchen, lounge, parking etc.
Arrival time: most journeys by road take at least 4 hours from London. Ensure you advise the accommodation owners that people may be arriving after midnight – this always happens.
Departure time: have an idea of when you’re leaving on the day of departure – it helps knowing the approximate time of arrival back home.
Catering: when using youth hostels or bunkhouses there will be a need to cater for everyone. It’s always easier to cater for all on the trip and set a cost rather than individuals looking after themselves. Evening meals can be in a local pub, or provided by a few members who are happy to cook for everyone else. Try to cater for any special dietary requirements. You may need to ask others to help transport some food to the destination, but do this well in advance. Some trip organisers have used Tesco or Sainsburys deliveries to the accommodation – be sure to check this is okay with the accommodation owners well in advance.
Often on trips, there might be a morning meeting to discuss things like the river groups, river grade, levels and logistics for the day. Be sure to include details of the river get on and get off, location of nearest A&Es, and a reminder to people to share information regarding medical conditions or other factors that their leader or paddling partners need to be made aware of. If you’re unsure on any of this, just ask a more experienced member on the trip to help out.
Not everyone has their own gear, so remind trip participants that they should arrange to get to RCC to hire the equipment they need. You may need to liaise with the Equipment Officer if it is a large trip. Only RCC members can hire club kit.
The club can loan boat locks and a set of uprights if required – these are provided free of charge but must be returned immediately after the trip.
Cars: ensure everyone, their boat and kit has a lift to the destination and that all cars have roof racks and ideally uprights for carrying boats
Petrol: in most cases it’s best left for each car to sort themselves out. On longer trips, fuel costs may be pooled and shared out equally
Directions: make them clear, we’ve had some interesting stories down the ages!
There are certain members of RCC who have the ability to ward off rain and ensure rivers are bone dry and no good for paddling. If you know these members are coming on a trip ensure you have a good backup plan. Walking is always a favourite, but do take a map of the area.
All RCC trip deposits are non-refundable and are due as soon as a member has emailed you to request being on the trip.
Deposit payments help you to finalise trip attendee numbers and ensure that no one on the trip (or the club) is left out of pocket. By parting with the money, it shows a commitment to the trip.
Agree the deposit with the Treasurer before advertising the trip.
All trip deposit payments must be made to the club bank accounts. Details of these will be included in the advert in Notes from Canalside. Cheque payments are acceptable and should be made payable to Regents Canoe Club. Cash payments are discouraged – if a member insists on paying cash or you direct, contact the Treasurer for details on how to handle the transaction.
Cancellations / refunds
If an attendee can no longer attend the trip, they will not receive a refund of the deposit.
It will either be spent on the trip (to cover the cost of accommodation/catering etc that cannot be cancelled) or will remain in the club accounts and be put toward the costs of equipment upkeep. The trip organiser may at their discretion, offer the place to another member (who may have not been able to get on the trip earlier) – if this happens, this person must also pay a trip deposit i.e. there is no swapping of deposit payments between people.
Extenuating circumstances (bereavement, serious urgent medical treatment etc) may be considered for a deposit refund – these can only be approved jointly by the Treasurer and Chair.
When advertising the trip, make it clear what’s included in the cost and what’s not e.g. breakfast, lunches, dinner, parking etc. You must always aim to make the trip break even, as RCC does not subsidise trips.
Managing trip finances
This is probably the scariest part of organising a club trip – but it doesn’t need to be.
All trip organisers must supply a spreadsheet to the Treasurer at the end of the trip that details who was on the trip, who paid what, and detail all of the expenses. There is an RCC Trip Planner spreadsheet that does most of the calculations for you with simple to use instructions. You can download a copy here.
If you need help completing it, speak to the Treasurer, Chair or another member who has organised a trip recently.
When advertising the trip, include the grade of the river and a very brief description of the whole river. You can refer to online resources such as ukriversguidebook.co.uk if you are unsure.
Access to some rivers can be a contentious issue, but where possible you should ensure we have legitimate access to the rivers. Details of access officers, who are able to advise you, are available in the BC handbook or at canoescotland.org/where-go, canoe-england.org.uk/riverinformationservice (access may be harder to find for Wales – if unsure, ask a committee member). Some rivers have seasonal access (e.g. Dart) and others are free throughout the year (e.g. Tryweryn, subject to dam release) but many have no access rights at all. (www.riversaccess.org).
A number of white water sites (e.g. Mile End Mill or the Tryweryn) hold competitions or training on a regular basis. Before organising a trip ensure the site is open for public use on the proposed dates.
In some instances you can find out up to the minute river levels by telephoning a phone messaging service or by checking online – www.gaugemap.co.uk for England and Wales and canoescotland.org/where-go/water-releases for Scotland. You can check water levels the week beforehand and if necessary, formulate a backup plan.
Occasionally there will be changing facilities, cafés and shops near the river. Only highlight the fact that facilities exist if they do, otherwise members usually assume they’ll be changing roadside.
- Everyone loves a good story… try to get someone on the trip to write a short article and send it to the Chair for publishing
- Even more than a good story, everyone loves to see pictures or watch videos – send any digital photos of the trip to the Chair for publication
- You won’t please everyone all the time
- You can delegate some of the organisation to others
This guide is merely some hints and tips to organising a trip; don’t be put off by the amount of information contained herein. Trips tend to naturally fall in to place as long as some ground work has been done.
Organising a coached trip
Coached trip criteria Guide to coaching trips on which coaches may be able to reclaim some expenses.
If you require any help in organising a trip please ask a member of the committee and we will find someone to help you.