PaddleWise Discussion on Briefing and Leader Check List

From: "Nick Gill" 
Subject: [Paddlewise] briefing guide
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 1999 10:42:06 +1100


the NSWSKC is developing an A5 trip briefing guide for trip leaders.It is intended that laminated copies will be produced and trip leaders can use it to guide them through a briefing prior to launching and to make sure they don't forget anything.

 Such a briefing has proven to be legally useful in cases involving deaths in adventure activities.

the briefing is largely done but suggestions are welcome.

in particular 

We are going to put 'useful info' on the back. We have a list of ideas (eg weather forecast ph. numbers). But if you were a trip leader what would you like to see on this back side? Anything you think you might need to jog your memory about tides, navigation, weather or whatever, or something you might need to know in an emergency, or any last minute bit of info you might need to get/call for.


From: Wes Boyd Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] briefing guide Date: Sun, 26 Dec 1999 18:52:27 Next of kin? Not trying to be rude, on that, but it is helpful to have an emergency contact person in case something goes wrong. Now that I think about it, potential physical problems among the party -- i.e., allergies, diabeties, etc. -- Wes
From: Amigh2 Subject: re: [Paddlewise] briefing guide Date: Sun, 26 Dec 1999 21:16:48 EST maybe, instead of 'next of kin', how about 'emergency contacts'? it seems a good idea to ask for at least two contacts. this may be too much detail, but insurance numbers/patient numbers are as appropriate as allergies, asthma, diabetes, esp.for folks enrolled in HMOs. some ERs may not be willing to treat patients without the info. and remember that all areas do not have 911 numbers. speaking from personal experience- a. mariani
From: Doug Lloyd Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] briefing guide Date: Mon, 27 Dec 1999 21:40:45 -0800 I came up with a _Leader Check List_ a couple of years ago for our club. It was developed for day trips in local Canadian waters. It may be redundant to what you have or has been suggested on PW since your post, but I'll add my list just the same and you can take from it what you like: Important No boats in water prior to group talk Safety talk with group must be done at launch site Leader should pre-qualify requirements prior to arrival Check list overlaps for marine and inland waters Boat Secure buoyancy, fore/aft (sealed hatches or float bags)? Sound hull, deck, and sprayskirt? Self-rescue aides? Bailer or bilge pump? Spare paddle, accessible on deck? Towline/throwbag? Paddler Canadian approved lifejacket/pfd of appropriate size/fit? Immersion suit, or clothing suitable for conditions? Rain gear, warm change of cloths in waterproof bag? Head gear (helmet, hat for cold/rain/sun)? Pogies or paddling gloves? personal gear, eye glass retainers? Basic Equipment Distress signals (flares, watertight light, signal mirror)? Sound signaling device (if visibility restricted), whistle? Survival kit (knife, matches, first aid, etc.)? Fresh water/drink and snack/emergency rations? Basic Safety Have you determined everyone can perform a wet exit? Do you know everyone's name/experience level? Have you done a head/boat count? Have you assigned experienced paddlers to novices where needed? Have you appointed leads and sweeps? Have you clearly communicated routes, rendezvous, eddy-out instructions? Do you know water conditions, weather forecasts, tide/currents? Do you have a method for rewarming a hypothermia victim? Are there any medical conditions/injury restrictions? Have you solicited any remaining questions? Do you know the canadian Coast Guard's minimum standards for group travel? Additionally, we also came up with a Float Plan. The text below looks odd, as it is lifted from an official form: Important Completion of the form is an essential responsibility Give a copy to a responsible individual, retain copy for vehicle Ex[lian extenuating circumstances/delays to above individual Float plan alterations should be relayed to above individual Call the Rescue Coordination Centre at 1-800-567-5111 or cellular *311 if overdue Paddler Information Is this a solo trip? If no, provide details on back (names, kayaks/gear) Level of experience _Novice _Intermediate _Advanced Name of paddler (family name) Given names Telephone number Wk Hm Health Insurance Number Gender _Male _Female Date of Birth Residential address of paddler Contact name in case of emergency Telephone number Wk Hm Is the above contact your next of kin? _Yes _No (If NO, provide name/phone) Does the above contact have your float plan? _Yes _No(If NO, provide name?phone) Destination Details Launch site details: Exact location Will you be returning to launch site? If No, provide details Your vehicle description Make/Model Colour License Plate Number Trip Commencement date Intended launch time Intended return date Brief description of trip (route, layovers/overnight camping areas if known, alternative plans) Equipment details Type of canoe or kayak Make/model/colour Registration number Special gear/safety equipment (flares, etc) Communication equipment Call numbers Time of day for radio check Immersion gear colour of PFD colour of clothing Food/water supply (maximum number of days you can sustain yourself) Are you carrying shelter? Are you carrying an emergency locator transmitter? Hope some of this is useful. BTW, my 6 year old daughter asked on Boxing Day if all the candy she was eating was causing her to be hyper. I said yes. She said did that mean she would get hyperthermia :-) BC'in Ya Doug Lloyd
From: Doug Lloyd Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] briefing guide Date: Tue, 28 Dec 1999 11:00:46 -0800 At 10:49 AM 12/28/99 EST, you wrote: >Doug, do we have your permission to share your checklist wither other >paddlers? Sure, no problem. Realize that you will need to contextualize it for your area. In Canadian waters, the Coast Guard cuts us a bit of slack for group travel in that you are allowed to "share" some items like spare paddles. We always tell new members to our club that it is still best to be fully independent; however, the amount of gear required and the cost of all this stuff is difficult to acquire all at once for some paddlers just getting into the sport - and that is recognized. We had a lot of problems on day trips for a couple of years with our local club. The check list was what came about from a very real need. One hates to have to hand-hold people and treat them like kids, but human nature being what it is, people do get lazy with respect to gear and safety. What we finally had to do was tell people the requirements for a given trip when they initially phoned or the trip was announced at a club meeting, etc; then at the launch site, the check list was gone over again. The check list was also a good tool for the trip facilitator. Laminated and available, little could be forgotten (the list was done up officially check-box style). We had a lot of newer paddlers leading trips who not always knew all the items to go over and consider, so it was a useful prompt for anyone we could "sucker" into organizing a trip (these were low-risk trips, with the newer leaders)! One regular trip leader/facilitator didn't like to turn people away, so carried spares of everything in his van - like pogies, PFD's (!), etc. HE has a lot more patience than ME. The other issue we are dealing with is certification, now that we finally have a national sea kayak program (CRCA) in Canada. It is a thorny issue indeed. I do know of a case last year where a group was out in windy conditions in freezing weather. One lady had BS'ed her way into the trip. My friend had let her come along at the launch site, despite her lack of immersion gear when she arrived, based on her self-assessment that she was a highly experienced paddler. She went over in the freezing water almost right away. (Our winter humidity is so high, 32 degrees (F.) seems like 0, and permeates every pour right into one's bones). She didn't have a good brace. She was too cold to even paddle once back in the kayak. Fortunately, a cabin nearby was occupied and the owners provided a hot bath. The club finally said participants MUST have required gear or NO GO. Remember, on club trips there are liability concerns. In another incident, a lady paddler launched early on an inside lagoon drainage passage that was in flood stage. We were all preparing to launch on the ocean side of the sand neck. I assumed everyone knew that, as the passage was river-like and one would have to paddle against the stream. We noticed the lady missing. Her husband ran to the top of the neck, then bolted for the water. His wife had launched, got taken up-stream by the inward flow, had capsized under a bridge where logs were piling up against the supports. She was trapped partially under her kayak and the log. It was a scary moment, and our club's sea kayak program convener (also affectionately known as the "safety-bitch") had a mouthful for me later, as I was leading the trip. I had done the check list at the parking lot at the club where we all met, as the trip was weather dependent and the central location of the club house gave us an advantage with respect to various options. I didn't make the same mistake again. No one launches, until we are at the put-in, and the talk has been done - unless it is a small group of known quantity, then we are pretty slack. We have another "club" in town, called a "network" with no rules per se, so those looking for some action with other paddlers, but are put off by rules, etc, do have another venue. Self-responsibility is always the preferred attitude, but the 10% necessitates some kind of censure. Obviously, there is a balance in all this somewhere. I have to add, that for me, all the items on the list (and you can add more) are simply common sense. I take a lot of chances solo paddling (a risk vs reward thing) and expect a lot out of my friends on planned expeditions, but when it comes to club paddles, I've gotten totally anal about safety and ensuring people's first experiences are fun and enjoyable and safe. With warm regards and season's greetings, Doug Lloyd