Regents Canoe Club Participation Statement
- I can swim 50 meters in light clothing.
- I understand that I use the club’s facilities and equipment, and participate in club activities, at my own risk.
- I agree to abide by the rules of the club that are in place to minimise risks to myself, other club members and the public.
- I understand that I am responsible for the safekeeping of my personal property and that the club will not accept liability for any damage or loss of personal property.
- I have read the information on Leptospirosis (Weil’s disease) below and accept the risks.
WEILS’S DISEASE (Leptospirosis icterohaemorrhagiae)
Weil’s Disease is a bacterial infection carried in rat’s urine which contaminates water and wet river banks. The bacterium does not survive for long in dry conditions. It can occur in any water, although the risk of infection is greater in stagnant or slow moving water. Weil’s Disease is rare, but it can be a serious illness requiring hospital treatment. It is caught by absorbing the bacteria through the skin and mucous membranes of the mouth and eyes, or any cuts in the skin. If within 3 -19 days after canoeing you feel ill with a temperature, influenza-like illness and/or joint and muscle pain and possibly jaundice, you should see your doctor immediately and tell him/her you have been taking part in watersports and where you have been paddling.
All paddlers should:
- Use footwear to avoid cutting feet.
- Cover all scratches or cuts on exposed parts of the body with waterproof plasters.
- Avoid immersion in stagnant or slow moving water.
- Wash or shower after immersion or paddling generally.
Paddling on the canal
Sign in and out every session
In order for our BCU insurance to cover non-BCU members, we have to be able to provide evidence of numbers on the water.
At every session, the sign-in book should be available on the paddle box by the barge, or if raining in the paddle store. If you cannot find it, ask the Duty Officer.
It is your responsibilty to sign in before using a boat on the canal AND to sign again after leaving the water.
Paddling beyond the canal basin
Regents Canoe Club recommends that you paddle only in the basin in view of the club base until you have sufficient paddling skills to ensure you can go further afield safely and in control i.e. you have directional control of your boat, can avoid bumping into other canal users and know what to do in the event of a capsize.
In all cases it is recommended that you should not paddle beyond the basin on your own. These recommendations are for your own safety and that of other canal users, and considering the following:
- People live on the barges moored along the canal. You should take care not to bump into these and other craft to ensure we continue to get a welcome from our neighbours;
- The canal is a popular fishing spot, so you must be able to spot and avoid fishing lines. Try to give fishermen a bit of space – they will appreciate it;
- Club sessions from early autumn onwards to late spring take place when it is already quite dark and you may not be spotted easily if you get into difficulties at any distance from the Club base;
- The sides of the canal are quite high and make it very difficult to get out should you capsize away from sight of the club and from assistance;
- Local teenagers occasionally find it amusing to throw things at kayakers. This does not happen frequently, but is obviously dangerous. Keep an eye on groups of youths and if in doubt, avoid them.
Club members are a friendly lot, so please ask for advice and assistance in improving your skills from others members out paddling.
Parking at the club
Please do not block vehicle access to the club at any time, even for a few minutes.
Paddling in the pool
Regents Canoe Club organises regular pool sessions at Britannia Leisure Centre, 40 Hyde Road, N1. Each session lasts from 7.15pm to 9pm, check calendar for details). Cost is £10 per session – members only. We now only accept card transactions.
Nearest Tube is Old Street or buses along New North Road or Kingsland Road will take you there. Parking is available at the centre (give the receipt to reception and you can get your money back). Bikes can be locked outside but MUST be locked securely (preferably double locked) as this is a very bad area for bike thefts.
Boats and paddles are available at the pool and it is also okay to bring your own boat and paddle as long as they are clean. Helmets are also available if you wish to use one. If a session is popular you may have to share equipment with other members.
Experienced members of the club will be in attendance and will help and advise those looking to improve their skills, but if the session is busy we cannot guarantee we will be able to help everyone. Due to the limited space in the pool this is not the place to practice ‘extreme’ play moves.
If you get to the pool before 7.15pm, please give any cleaners room to do their jobs and please clear the pool promptly at the end of the session as the lifeguard needs to be elsewhere.
For those seeking liquid refreshment after the session there is often a trip to a nearby pub.
Paddling on trips
RCC is a very active club, regularly leaving London for the weekend on paddling trips. At certain times of the year there is often something happening every weekend! Trips are to a range of destinations – the South West of England (Dartmoor area) and North Wales are popular choices. Trips are based around a variety of paddlesport activities; often recreational white water kayaking, but also open boating or touring, surf or sea kayaking, participating in one of the sport’s many competitive disciplines or for a coached skills weekend. Trips are organised by club members for club members – everyone here is a volunteer.
How to find out about trips
Trips are advertised in the regular email sent to club members, Notes from Canalside, as well as the calendar on this website. You usually sign up by emailing the trip organiser and (if there is a place available – trips fill up quickly!) by paying a non-refundable deposit. It is worth noting that trip money is always non-refundable, even if the trip is cancelled (very rare) as expenses will have been incurred. Also, it is possible that water levels may dictate the activities during the weekend, and there may even not be the possibility to paddle at all. Don’t worry – this is very rare, and they are still brilliant weekends away – bring walking boots too!
Will the trip be suitable for me?
Trips are aimed at a variety of experience levels, and not all trips will be suitable for everyone. Introductory white water trips usually happen in late Summer and early Autumn (aimed at the people who have just finished a summer course or those who have other flat water experience) with trips later in the year usually requiring some white water paddling experience due to the rivers chosen. To find out whether a trip is suitable for you, talk to the Trip Organiser (or an experienced club paddler).
How trips work
You will be assigned to a car – to save petrol money and the planet! You will need to liaise with your driver (perhaps using the tube to get to a pick-up point) to fit in with them. Remember everyone is a volunteer. You will usually meet up on Thursday evening at the club to pick up your boat and kit and load the car, then leave London after work on Friday evening. Chat to your driver about the plan for stopping for dinner or eating sandwiches on the way. We usually stay in comfortable but basic accommodation, sometimes a bunkhouse or a property with mixed dorm rooms, but sometimes a destination with a little more luxury. After a good breakfast (sometimes included in the trip costs), the general plan is to paddle for a few hours or more during the middle of the day, before a late lunch off the river so bring high energy snacks to munch during the day. Dinner is usually taken as a group, sometimes cooked ourselves or sometimes booked in a local pub. After a similar day on Sunday, we are usually back in London mid- to late-evening.
The cost of trips
The price of trips vary considerably, but are normally great value. The trip fee collected in advance by the trip organiser usually covers the majority of the accommodation costs and sometimes breakfast and/or lunch. You should also factor in club kit hire, your share of petrol money (payable directly to your driver), water access fees if applicable (only usually a few pounds), as well as money for beer! In 2011 an average weekend trip away was around the £100-mark.
What to bring
You can hire all the kayaking equipment you need from the club. It’s your responsibility to check that the equipment you hire is safe to use before you take it on a trip. If you aren’t sure, ask a more experienced paddler. Check that the boat you hire is comfortable by sitting in it.
For most trips, you will need plenty of warm clothes. Your clothing will protect you from scrapes and cuts as well as keeping you warm.
On the river, many layers of man-made fibres are better than fewer thick layers or cotton / wool. Jeans are not suitable. On autumn or winter trips, we would strongly recommend that you wear neoprene bottoms or a wetsuit.
You will need to bring suitable footwear to paddle in, which won’t come off your feet if you swim. Old trainers or plimsols are usually OK. After the river you should have plenty of warm dry clothes to change in to (including hat and gloves etc) and consider a thermos flask. We often change near the river in public places, so bring a towel or sarong to change behind.
Before you get on the river
You will be put into a group with some other paddlers, including several more experienced paddlers. Inspect the water conditions and ensure you are happy to paddle. Do not feel pressured or compelled to paddle just because everyone else is. Be realistic about your own abilities, and tell your leader or trip organiser if you have any concerns. They will help.
If you are unwell or have any injuries which could affect your paddling tell your group leader. They may ask you not to paddle. Know your group leaders and the other members of your group. Make sure you can recognise them and their boats. Listen carefully and respect the decisions of more experienced kayakers.
We look forward to welcoming you on your first trip – see you on the river!