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					Regents Canoe Club, 16-34 Graham Street, London, N1 8JX
BCU Membership number: 598



Assessor: Sarah Gibbs

Date: 29th June 2012
RCC training and safety officer: Mark Rowe

This Risk Assessment is provided to give leaders and participants guidance as to the standards and
precautions to be expected when taking part in Club activities. It is designed to ensure that everyone can
have fun on the water in the knowledge that they are protected from harm to a reasonable degree. It
does not guarantee safety but it gives sensible advice to minimise risk. Leaders will need to carry out
dynamic risk assessments throughout the activity and act appropriately when circumstances are not
covered by this document.

This risk assessment is designed to operate in tandem with the club’s safety policy and the
declarations made in the membership form or participation statement.

Limitations of Club Liability
As a member of the club, members (and their guests or visitors) may use club premises, facilities and
equipment entirely at their own risk and implicitly accept that:
    the club does not accept liability for any loss or damage to personal property;
    canoeing and kayaking are assumed risk sports which carry risk of accident and injury;
    open water, including Regents canal, may present a risk of Weil’s Disease.


RCC has a London base at Regents Canal Basin in Islington. The club rents use of the site from the
Islington Boat Club. IBC is a youth club, for young people aged 9 to 19. The IBC Management
Committee runs the Club and employs a Club leader and other staff to deal with the daily operation.
RCC is a separate adult club (18+) run by its own management committee.

RCC is an active club with twice weekly sessions on the canal, pool sessions and regular paddling
trips. The club also organises Introduction to Whitewater Kayaking courses for those new to paddling.
The club usually runs two of these per year with around 15 participants on each. The Introduction to
White Water Kayaking course is designed for adults (18+) who have little or no previous experience
of paddling kayaks, but who want to get onto moving water by the end of the course. Participants
begin by learning how to control a boat on the Regents canal and at pool sessions, before
progressing to moving water and ultimately to white water. Each course runs over six weeks.

The IWWK courses are assigned a course organiser and a lead coach who are responsible for
running the course. Canal sessions take place at IBC (16-34 Graham Street, N1 8JX). Pool sessions
take place at Britannia Leisure Centre, 40 Hyde Road, N1.

Participants on the courses do NOT have to be members of the club (although many are). Most join
after completing the course. All participants have to sign a participation statement.

                    BE HARMED
New and             All members    The aim of the course is to introduce participants to canoeing and
inexperienced       and course     kayaking therefore those on the course are new and inexperienced.
paddlers            participants
                                    All those taking part in the course must have read, understood
                                     and signed a membership form or participation statement which
                                     outlines their responsibilities and risks. Course organisers and
                                     coaches to ensure that this happens.
                                    IWWK courses are led by experienced RCC paddlers or
                                     qualified coaches and are all adequately supervised (at least 2
                                     instructors to 6 students).
                                    At least one coach should be on the water before any students.
                                    Instructors should be able to carry out a rescue and capable of
                                     towing a swimmer on their boat.
                                    The session plans of the IWWKC are designed to familiarise
                                     participants with good, safe practice. This includes outlining the
                                     requirement for spray deck tests, the need to wear a buoyancy
                                     aid on or near the water, clothing, manual handling and Weil’s
                                    The session plans of the IWWKC are designed to school
                                     participants in basic paddling skills.

Manual              All members    Kayaks and canoes are heavy and awkward. They need to be lifted
handling:           and            out of the cage and into the canal or pool, onto and off vehicles and
loading and         participants   carried to the river. Occasionally they will also need to be carried
unloading boats                    past river hazards (portaged).
/ carrying boats
(musclo skeletal                    Training in manual handling to be a part of IWWKC sessions.
injuries)                           Use of correct lifting techniques to be demonstrated and
                                     encouraged (knees bent, protect the back).
                                    Minimise lifting and carrying by; sharing, use of slings, trolleys,
                                     minimal carry distance, heavy boats to be carried by strong

General             All members    Paddling carries a risk of musculo-skeletal injury, for example a
paddling            and            dislocated shoulder.
musculo             participants
skeletal injuries                   Members and participants are aware that canoeing and
                                     kayaking are assumed risk sports that carry a risk of accident
                                     and injury.
                                    It is recommended to warm up or stretch before paddling. This is
                                     included as part of the IWWKC sessions.
                                    Paddlers should be trained in appropriate paddling techniques to
                                     avoid injury.
                                    Ensure training in rescue techniques that avoid excessive strain
                                     when handling waterlogged boats and heavy paddlers in the
                                     water. IWWKC sessions cover basic rescue techniques and
                                     coaches are on hand to offer help and advice.
                                    As part of the course application process members are asked
                                     about pre-existing injuries. They are made aware that it is their
                                     duty to inform their coach or river leader of any medical
                                     conditions or pre-existing injuries (for example a shoulder
                                     weakness) that may be relevant and it is their responsibility to
                                     take the lead in deciding what action needs to be taken.

Waterborne             All members    IWWKC sessions take place on the canal, in the pool, on moving
disease                and            and white water (for example Shepperton and the Wye) In these
                       participants   environments there is a risk of waterborne disease or infection (for
                                      example; Weil’s Disease or EColi).

                                       All members and participants are directed to read and
                                        understand the information on Leptospirios (Weil’s disease)
                                        available on the club website (and participation statement) and
                                        accept the risks.
                                       Members and participants to be made aware of advice regarding
                                        waterborne disease. For example, covering cuts and grazes and
                                        washing hands prior to eating.
                                       RCC hire equipment must be rinsed with clean fresh water after
                                        each activity. Members and participants are advised to do the
                                        same with their personal kit.

Hypothermia            All members    Canoeing and kayaking take place in water, often in cold weather
                       and            conditions.
                                       Course participants are offered advice about appropriate
                                        clothing (also available on the RCC website). If you don’t own a
                                        wetsuit or drysuit then for most trips, plenty of warm clothes are
                                        recommended. On the river, many layers of man-made fibres
                                        are better than fewer thick layers or cotton / wool. Jeans are not
                                        suitable. After the river paddlers are advised to have plenty of
                                        warm clothes to change into (including hat and gloves etc) and
                                        consider a thermos flask. Waterproof cags can be hired from the
                                       The IWWK courses are deliberately scheduled in the spring /
                                        summer months when the weather is warmer.
                                       Course participants are encouraged to think about carrying
                                        spare clothing, warm drinks and high energy foods. Leaders /
                                        coaches may also think about carrying group shelters or rescue

Allergic reaction      All members    Members could suffer from an allergic reaction, asthma or any
/ onset of illness     and            other pre-existing condition.
                                       As part of the course induction process members and
                                        participants are asked about pre-existing injuries. They are
                                        made aware that it is their duty to inform their coaches of any
                                        medical conditions or pre-existing injuries (for example, asthma)
                                        that may be relevant and it is their responsibility to take the lead
                                        in deciding what action needs to be taken.
                                       Members and participants are advised to have the appropriate
                                        medicines easily available (for example, inhaler).

Slips, trips and       All members    Riversides are slippery, wet, uneven places. There is a risk of slips,
falls / falling into   and            trips and falls while getting onto, off or portaging a river.
the water              participants
                                       A buoyancy aid must be worn when on or close to the water at
                                        the canal. This includes the pontoons. A buoyancy aid and
                                        helmet must be worn when on or close to a river. This does not
                                        apply to pool sessions but participants should still take care
                                        where surfaces may be slippery.

                                      Sturdy shoes are advised for all paddlers.

Entrapment in       All members      Whitewater kayaks use spray decks to seal the paddler into the
closed cockpit      and              cockpit.
kayak due to        participants
capsize                               RCC members and IWWKC participants should not paddle with
                                       a spray deck unless they have performed a spray deck test. This
                                       test requires them to exit a boat with a spray deck using safe
                                       techniques. A ‘wet exit’ is included as part of the IWWKC pool
                                      All RCC equipment is regularly checked. This includes the grab
                                       loops on the spray decks.

Injury /            All members      Canoeing and kayaking are assumed risk, water contact sports that
entrapment /        and              may carry attendant risks including injury or death.
drowning            participants
                                      Members and participants are aware that canoeing and
                                       kayaking are assumed risk sports that carry a risk of accident
                                       and injury.
                                      A buoyancy aid must be worn when on or close to the water at
                                       the canal. This includes the pontoons. A buoyancy aid and
                                       helmet must be worn when on or close to a river.
                                      Participants should be confident in water and able to swim at
                                       least 50 metres in light clothing.
                                      Session or trip leaders may prevent anyone from paddling that
                                       they believe unfit to do so, or that they believe not of sufficient
                                       experience or skill to handle the conditions, or if to allow them
                                       onto the water may jeopardise the safety of themselves or
                                       others, or place unnecessary risks on others.

                                      All accidents, incidents or near misses must be reported to the
                                       RCC using the incident report form on the website. Details of
                                       any incident which results in injury requiring hospital attendance
                                       / treatment will also be passed to the British Canoe Union for
                                       their records on sports injuries and to note to the insurance
                                       company in case of any resulting claim.

Transportation       All            For transportation boats are usually carried on roof racks or loaded
of boats. Loss        members        into vans.
of boats in           and
transit. Theft or     participants    Roof racks should be securely fixed to vehicles and boats
loss of kit.         General          should be securely tied to roof racks using straps. Kayak locks
                      public           are advised for security (these can be rented from the
                                       equipment officer).
                                      Training in manual handling / boat loading to be a part of all
                                       IWWKC (Introduction to Whitewater Kayaking Course) sessions.
                                      All cars used for transport on trips to have full insurance and
                                       valid MOT certificate.
                                      RCC has annual third party fire and theft insurance for club
                                       boats and kit with Towergate Mardon.

Failure or loss     All members      The Club has an extensive selection of equipment available for hire
of club             and              to full members. This equipment includes but is not limited to;

equipment          participants   boats, paddles, spray decks, cags, buoyancy aids and helmets.
                                  Hire of this equipment is included as part of the IWWKC fee.

                                        All Club equipment is audited annually by the Equipment
                                        The Equipment officer keeps a record of all kit which is
                                        RCC provides kit (including buoyancy aids) for use on the
                                         canal. IBC kit can only be used by prior arrangement.
                                        Members and participants are encouraged to check
                                         equipment before paddling.
                                        Members and participants are encouraged to report
                                         damaged equipment to the Equipment officer.
                                        Regular ongoing maintenance to be overseen by the
                                         Equipment officer.
                                        Items in need of replacement or repair will be
                                        Members and participants should understand that it is their
                                         responsibility when they borrow equipment to check that it is
                                         fit for purpose for the activities they will be using it for. They
                                         understand that they are empowered to ask questions if in
                                         any doubt of the fitness of any equipment. Instructors to
                                         check fitting of equipment.
                                        All equipment MUST be checked in and not just left.
                                        All equipment should be returned clean and dry.
                                        Equipment returned late will incur a penalty charge.
                                        The hirer will be liable for any damage or loss which the
                                         Committee considers has been caused by negligence on
                                         the part of the hirer.
                                        RCC has annual third party fire and theft insurance for club
                                         boats and kit with Towergate Mardon.

Swans / wildlife   All members    There are several swans living in the canal basin. They can get
                   and            aggressive especially when protecting their young. Wildlife will also
                   participants   often be encountered on rivers.

                                   Participants should be considerate towards the wildlife and not
                                    antagonise them.
                                   Participants should keep well away from swans; sometimes this
                                    may involve getting out of the boat and walking along the

Injury from        All members    The canal is in an inner city area. Unfortunately sometimes missiles
missiles on the    and            can be thrown at paddlers.
canal              participants
                                   Paddlers should be made aware of occasional verbal abuse and
                                    throwing of missiles by members of the public (usually young
                                   Paddlers to be encouraged not to paddle by themselves
                                    especially when dark and advised not to confront anyone
                                    shouting abuse or throwing things.
                                   Paddlers may borrow a helmet to wear whilst paddling on the
                                    canal if they wish.
                                   Police to be called if serious incident arises. Duty person has
                                    local police numbers in the duty folder.

Conflict with      All members    The canal is well used by other boats and fishermen.
other canal    and
users          participants    People live on the barges moored along the canal. Participants
                                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 members must be able to
                                spot and avoid fishing lines. Try to give fishermen a bit of space
                                - they will appreciate it.

Day trip /     All members    The IWWKC comprises of a day trip (usually to Shepperton) and a
Weekend away   and            weekend away (usually to the Wye / Symonds Yat).
                                 Each IWWKC trip on moving water should aim to include a BCU
                                  Level 3 coach or a (new) Level 2 coach with Moderate Water
                                 Suitable venue(s) will be identified for the day and weekend
                                  trips and conditions on the day taken into account before
                                  getting on the water. Venues may be changed to accommodate
                                  the skills of the group.
                                 Safe access and egress points will be identified.
                                 Obvious hazards such as trees and other water traffic should be
                                  discussed in the early part of the trip as well as the provision of
                                  safety cover.
                                 All participants to provide emergency contact details to course
                                  organiser / lead coach in advance.
                                 First aid kit, rescue gear and spare clothing to be carried by

Liability      All members    RCC is a member of the BCU (number 598).
insurance      and
               participants    BCU membership gives RCC Liability insurance cover (civil,
                                excess and employer’s liability). Details are available on the
                                BCU website or from the Club Secretary.


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