Tonbridge Canoe Club        

river RAG status

A RED/AMBER/GREEN river status system is used to indicate the condition of the river at club sessions i.e. Saturday and Sunday morning sessions, other club organised activities and club evening sessions, including race training and time trial sessions. A club instructor or officer of the club sets the RAG status when arriving at the club, based on the river condition descriptions below. At other times, or in the absence of a club officer or instructor, the keyholders present should assess the river condition and make their own judgement based on the guidelines detailed below. It is not our intention to prevent people from paddling when the river is flowing, just to advise members on the sort of activities that are appropriate or acceptable in different river conditions. Only by paddling on moving water with more experienced paddlers will you acquire the skills and experience to be safe yourself. River RAG level will be marked on the whiteboard by the door exiting to the boatstore at club sessions. Each level has a list of examples to help members and club officials to make a judgement, and a list of permitted activities in each case:
Example river conditions: Still water or slight flow. No ice. Full river. No blue green algae. Example river conditions: Medium to fast flow. Some risk at radial sluices and weirs. Lucifers bridge passable with care. Some ice on surface. River drained. Blue green algae present. Very strong and gusting wind. Example river conditions: Fast to very fast flow. Typically with river levels over the landing stage and flooding the sportsground. Radial sluices open high and therefore a severe danger to swimmers. Lucifers bridge not passable. Significant and widespread ice on upstream sections. Example river conditions: Extreme flow / serious flood. Water levels typically up to the manhole/road cone or higher. Extreme danger from radial sluice gates and weirs. Most bridges very low or impassable. Thick ice on upstream sections.
Activities: All club activities can take place, with all members taking part. Activities: Recommended that members paddle boats in which they are confident and stable and stay well clear of weirs and sluices. Members only qualified to BC Discover level (previously 1 star) must paddle in groups of at least 3, members with BC Explore (previously 2 star) and above may paddle at their discretion. No paddling in the dark allowed. Ice breaking only permitted in plastic boats with suitably robust paddles. Buoyancy aids strongly recommended for all. Activities: Members with BC Discover level (previously 1 star) may only paddle with an instructor or suitably experienced paddler designated by the committee. Members with BC Explore level (previously 2 star) may paddle but must be in groups of 3 or more. Members with higher level qualifications (e.g. 3 star) may paddle at their own discretion. Buoyancy aids compulsory for all paddlers. No club racing or touring boats allowed on the river. No paddling in the dark allowed. Members should show discretion and consideration when paddling on flooded private property. Activities: No club equipment allowed on the river. Strongly recommended that members do not paddle regardless of ability level, even with their own equipment. Buoyancy aids compulsory for all paddlers.
Please remember that this system is designed as a guide to help members decide whether they should paddle or not. Take into account your own skill level and experience when interpreting this advice. There might not always be a club official or instructor at the club to make this decision for you. Just because the guidelines say it should be safe to paddle doesn't mean there is no danger. River conditions can change rapidly. If in doubt, you should always err on the side of caution. Adult keyholders who paddle on their own outside of normal club sessions should think carefully about their safety when the river is flowing. Don't rely on the whiteboard being up to date, the river conditions may have changed. Make your own judgement. Be sensible, wear a buoyancy aid and perhaps take a mobile phone with you in case you get into difficulties. Read and respect these guidelines which have been drawn up for the safety of you and your equipment. Any queries should be referred to a committee member.

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