Tonbridge Canoe Club

winter night paddling


The club rule governing winter night paddling (Rule 23) can be found under the rules link on the Membership Information page. 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.

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