winter night paddling
Members may paddle in the winter (1st November to 31st March) during the hours of darkness subject to the conditions defined in Rule 23 (follow the rules link on the Membership Information page).
The club has a few red LED type lights but it is the member's responsibility to make sure they have one to wear on their buoyancy aid. Anyone who does not have a light will not be allowed to paddle, this includes all paddlers in a crew boat. Please return the club lights if you borrow them.
In the event that there are no experienced adult members willing to take responsibility for junior members on the water, the juniors must accept that they will not be able to paddle.
Best practice requirements for paddling in the dark are:
- Use a boat that you are confident in.
- Make sure you know the river in daylight before trying to paddle it in the dark.
- Don't use bright torches to see where you are going. It might help you see, but you will dazzle everyone coming in the opposite direction and ruin their night vision.
- Given the increased risk of boat damage, avoid using the newest and most fragile boats.
- Make sure your red light is working, has sufficient battery power in it, and can be seen by boats coming in the opposite direction.
- Go round the island in an anticlockwise direction.
- Keep to the right hand side of the river.
- Always pass oncoming boats on your left.
- Keep well away from overhanging trees.
- Mind out for low bridges.
- Keep well away from weirs.
- Look out for logs and other obstructions. Warn other paddlers if you identify a hazard.
- Be aware that other river users may not be expecting to see you on the river in the dark, so give anglers and other boats plenty of room.
- If you do capsize, shout to other boats so they can stop to help, and avoid crashing into you.
- Always stop to help a paddler in the water, even if they are not in apparent difficulty.
- Arrange the session so that paddlers stay close together and nobody is left out on the river on their own e.g. slowest paddlers start first, mix crews to ensure similar speed boats, paddle in matched ability groups etc.