Our Standard Operating Procedure and Risk Assessment – Updated 27 July 2020

As per the ever-changing situation and official (Government and British Canoeing) guidelines we have updated our Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and Risk Assessment (RA) as per the attached.  Most of the changes are minor in nature and are as much to do with documentation as with actual practice. On site and off site activity under COVID-19 – SOP and RA updated 20200727

Membership renewal

As we are now coming out of enforced hibernation, membership renewals will be due on 1 August 2020 at a reduced cost. All current members should have received an email via WebCollect with the details and a link to your account. Note that you will need to click on “Buy a different subscription” to select the appropriate 2020 renewal rate.
Please read the email carefully and we would really appreciate it if you could get your renewals in promptly so we don’t need to chase anyone in August.

Returning to paddlesport information

THe latest British Canoeing guidenace on returning to paddlesport can be found here

In line with this guidance ACC has amended our Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and undertaken a COVID-19 specific Risk Assessment as per the attached.

If you have any questions about any of the above please post these to our Facebook page.


In view of current circumstances the club is not accepting new memberships at present.

Existing memberships: All members who had an active membership at 31/3/2020 have had their membership extended until 31/07/2020 free of cost or obligation. This means that the features and benefits of club membership will continue to apply until this date.

An update re membership will be provided well in advance of 31/07/2020.

If you have any queries about membership please post these to our Facebook page

Latest COVID-19 Update

Hi folks. The good news is that we are able to re-start some of our club activities. Adhering to government and British Canoeing guidelines, we are able to offer some small, coach-led sessions for existing members in groups of up to 6 people (including the coach). Unfortunately for various safety and social distancing reasons, we are not able to offer access to the compound at the moment and we can’t take any novices on the water. Anyone who wishes to participate will need to provide their own kit and be able to confidently self-rescue.

We’re keen to ensure that as many people as possible have the chance to get out on the water so we may be able to offer an opportunity for people to borrow kit from the club until activities can resume within the compound. I know this will still not be ideal for those who don’t have transport or storage – if you’re in that situation, please contact me and we’ll see if there is something that can be worked out.

An update from British Canoeing about a return to paddling – 1/5/20

1 May 2020

I want to share with you again our advice about paddling at this time and also to reassure you that we are working hard behind the scenes on behalf of members to encourage the government to allow a return to socially responsible paddling as soon as possible.

The Big Picture: Taking a step back to look at the big picture first, all forms of sport and active recreation other than running, walking and cycling have been suspended. No other community sport or active recreation is being encouraged. This is being driven by the government and reinforced by the arms’ length organisations including Sport England and the Environment Agency.

Public health risks are real: There remain significant public health risks associated with COVID-19 and the way in which it can be spread. There is currently no effective treatment or vaccine for the virus which we know can be fatal in some cases. We all recognise that the NHS is under massive strain and the country is still in lockdown until further notice.

Our advice: Our strong advice of 26 March remains in place, that paddlers ought not to paddle at this time until some of the restrictions are lifted.

The frustrations: We fully recognise that this is a deeply frustrating position for our members and the wider paddlesport community, as our paths and parks are full of people walking and running, there are more cyclists on the road than normal, and yet our waterways are empty and paddling is being discouraged.

The case for a return: Whilst we can make a compelling case why independent, socially responsible paddling should be allowed now and that that paddling can be done safely within social distancing guidelines, many other organisations will argue the same for their sport; angling, open water swimming, single sculls rowing, horse riding, rambling, climbing and golf to name just a few. The government is not yet ready to make the call for further relaxations at this time, for all the reasons we understand when we watch or read the news.

Social and economic impact: Government recognises that activities such as paddling are really helpful to an individual’s physical and mental wellbeing and that this lockdown is impacting not only on the health and wellbeing of individuals but also significantly affecting the economy of professional and amateur sports. The economic impact on our clubs, centres, self-employed providers, trade and retail and on British Canoeing as the NGB is significant. These social and economic drivers cannot be totally ignored.

Actively working with national agencies: We are working closely as part of an Outdoor Recreation Stakeholder Group, led by Natural England, to put plans in place for a phased return to sport and active recreation. We are working hard to ensure that paddlesport can be in the first phase. The government is unlikely to consider a sport by sport return to activity. By working closely alongside colleagues in the British Mountaineering Council, Outdoor Industries Association, the Ramblers, National Trust and many more, we can ensure that we have a consistent and clear approach that delivers a swift and safe return to activity for our respective communities.

We will also continue to work closely with the Environment Agency, Canal & River Trust and the Broads Authority to assess the risks and put plans in place for a return to paddling on our 5000km of Public Navigations.

Long term relationships: It is our preferred and considered approach to work in collaboration across the sector and with national agencies. Many of the agencies and government departments with whom we are working to achieve a return to paddling, are the same ones that will help to create a change to legislation to bring clarity around rights of navigation and who will support us in our long term promotion and development of paddlesport.

A phased return for sports: The risks that different sports and activities present are very different, and so we are advocating that a phased return to activity is the best approach and that NGBs should take a strong lead in issuing guidance to their members and participants. We are working with other NGBs and Sport England to further develop this approach.

A return to individual paddling: We believe that the first phase of lifting restrictions ought to include a return to individual paddling. When this is agreed by government, we are likely to have to agree some limitations and guidelines for paddlers and these may include;

remain local; be alone, with family members or in small groups; be well within capabilities; respecting rural communities and other users; be once a day for a short time; respect social distancing; respect access points and local restrictions; be sensitive to the environment; be clean, washing hands, equipment and #check clean dry.

Remaining patient: Patience is still required, but that’s the same for all aspects of the situation we find ourselves in. I am confident that we are taking every step possible to encourage a relaxation and a return to individual paddling as soon as possible. We are planning behind the scenes about what further phases will look like around club activity, courses and events and these reintroductions will probably come a little later in the year. Getting individuals back on the water is a clear focus at this stage.

Stronger Together: We have made a lot of progress within British Canoeing in the last three years through working in a joined up way. This approach offers the best way forward on this issue too. We are working hard at national level and we are being heard. Members could best support this process now by respecting the strong guidance we have issued to refrain from paddling for a little longer and by sharing the messages with your local waterway authorities and MPs about the importance of a phased return to active recreation and how responsible paddling fits into the first phase of this.

Regular communication: We recognise the importance of communicating with you and realise that many have wanted some news a little sooner. We and many other national bodies have been dealing with some significant challenges within our respective organisations and it is only in the last week or so that there has been some meaningful collaboration between partners around the return agenda. This is true of government also. I will ensure that we communicate again as soon as anything significant occurs around the return agenda and that we share an update at least every two weeks.

Finally I would like to thank you for your patience, for respecting the guidance we have issued and for your continued support of British Canoeing during this challenging time.

Kind regards

David Joy
CEO, British Canoeing

Devon WW Trip November 2019

Friday the 8th of November saw 7 intrepid paddlers head west along the south coast in search of white water. After installing themselves in the well appointed but remote Heatree centre we all retired to our beds eagerly awaiting the following day. By dawn our ranks had been swollen further to make 8. We split into 2 teams. John K and Rob were set to introduce Sarah to the lower Dart in the most civilised way possible, whilst Adrian led Jen, Matt, John T and I on a more rowdy trip down the Dart loop and lower.

The paddle started smoothly despite my early swim after mucking around in a very small but deceptively sticky hole near the put in. We had a couple more that day but with no serious consequences as Adrian and Matt made an excellent safety team. We surfed, squirted, boofed and eddy hopped our way down the river, whooping and hollering in joy as we went. Both groups met at the Salmon Leap Café at the get out to exchange stories and most importantly eat cake. Sarah was, despite a few reported swims, super elated with her first WW experience, although when she reported how gentlemanly Rob and John had been we did worry that she may have knocked her head. Rob also told us of conquering his old fear the weir. Well done to both.

A quick hose down and some dry clothes later, we headed to the pub for a dinner which was well received, despite some incompetence from the kitchen. Beer mat flipping and drinking the local “2 stroke” kept us entertained for the evening.

After a little rain overnight the river level held steady. Group dynamics changed slightly, seeing John K and Sarah head back to the lower Dart, Adrian taking the rest of us on the loop again this time with me in my OC1 instead of a kayak. The water lapping just below the slab at the Newbridge put in, we launched and made our way downstream. Again expertly led by Adrian. More fun was had by all and everyone was happy until the rapid known as Lovers Leap. I in my OC1, which for those who haven’t seen it is basically a big purple bathtub pretending to be a canoe, had been put at the back of the running order, so was the last to run the rapid so expertly done just previously by my peers.

I had crushed this one the day before so no problem …… until an unseen rock tipped me over! I found that I had no stomach to try my roll in this rocky rapid so soon found myself swimming. Adopting the “starfish” or “dead spider” pose I had been taught I bounced downriver. Suddenly a rock slid under my bum and held me in place. I was sitting mid rapid quite comfortably with a small pour-over either side of me. Unsure of my next move I decided I was safer to hold my ground and await rescue. “If only I had my lunch with me” I thought as I watched it and my boat wash round the corner with Adrian in hot pursuit. After a group of novice paddlers hurtled past me narrowly avoiding a collision, I can admit that some expletives may have been used, I was plucked from my precarious perch and reunited with my boat, and lunch. It seems fitting at this point to mention just how well Adrian and Matt conducted the rescues over the weekend, excellent work guys, thankyou.

The rest of the paddle was pretty safe in comparison, with Rob again showing that his weir fear had subsided.

As always ACC absolutely crushed it on and off the water, putting on an awesome weekend. Can’t wait for next time.