Updated: May 13
Due to the immense pressures facing the country, I am making changes to the way I operate
Paddle365. I’d like to continue to operate for as long as possible, but only in a much reduced
and appropriate way and until advised that it’s no longer safe to do so. These changes are
intended to allow me to continue to give paddlers the opportunity to explore Britain’s waterways
and improve their kayaking skills and knowledge with Paddle365, while adhering to new
guidelines put in place in order to keep us safe and to stop the virus from spreading. These
measures are effective on all Paddle365 sessions and courses now. The best tools the UK has
to stop the growth of the Pandemic are good hygiene and social distancing. These are also the
best tools we have to protect ourselves and our loved ones from illness.
Hygiene: A facility for soap and water hand washing will be available at all Paddle365 sessions.
Participants will be asked to bring their own towel in a bag. Soap and water handwashing will
be regularly and routinely included in our sessions and also before any eating and drinking.
Sharing food, drinks or drinking cups is not allowed so you’ll need to bring your own and be
entirely self sufficient.
Social Distancing: Sessions will take place entirely in the open air. Changing, briefing, and
debriefing will all take place in the open air as well, so there will be no morning cafe meetings
for the time being. There will be no sharing of vehicles outside of close familial groups, so river
sessions will either be based in one place, or a journey will be made using an open air method
to return to vehicles. We will endeavour to leave 2m (a paddle length) between all participants
including staff, except when an emergency situation calls for closer contact. At this time we are only offering coaching on a 1-2-1 basis, unless multiple participants have come from the same household. We will also discourage any participants on a Paddle365 course from overnight stay away from home between days of paddling. This means that if you’d like to receive kayak coaching but you live too far away for a daily commute to the course location, I suggest you contact an operator more local to your home. I’m happy to make suggestions for local providers in other areas of the country.
Lessening potential health impacts: Our focus during coaching sessions will be to create
challenges and learn on whitewater that is easy, relative to the ability of the paddler. The aim of
this is to limit the frequency and likelihood of any rescue or first aid scenarios. We must
acknowledge that emergency and healthcare services will be stretched over the next few
months. Whilst the sport of river kayaking has an assumption of risk at its heart, we need to do
all we can to limit and control risk-taking behaviour in the course of our sessions by very
conservative decision making.
Attendance: Please know that attendance on kayaking courses is something that you should
consider only if there is nothing to suggest that you could be a carrier of the Coronavirus.
Anyone with symptoms such as a new cough and fever must stay home, and anyone who has
been in close contact with someone with these symptoms should also stay home. If you have
had the virus, ensure you have been symptom free for at least 7 days before considering joining
a kayaking course. We are also very sad to say that for this period we will not be accepting
bookings from people in high-risk groups: Over 70’s, pregnant women, those with a weakened
immune system, and those with a long term health condition. Please read about Coronavirus
symptoms and guidelines at NHS online: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
Cancellations: Through these tumultuous times it is expected that cancellations will be more
common. Therefore we will be loosening our cancellation policy to allow people the confidence
to book without fear of losing out. For this period, any bookings made for Paddle365 sessions
can be cancelled and moved right up to the day of the booking without fear of losing deposits.
We want to make sure that there is no reason for anybody to feel they have to attend if they or
anyone close to them becomes ill. On the other side of this, if a member of Paddle365 staff or
someone close to them becomes ill, sessions will cease until it is deemed safe to resume. Rest
assured, if you book a session or course with Paddle365 there are only 3 possible outcomes, do
it, defer it, or have your money back.
This set of procedures is designed to adhere as well as possible to government guidelines as
set out at the time of writing, but they may change at any time. I feel it is important for the
mental and physical health of the nation that we try to be active, keep getting outdoors, and to
continue to live our best lives, but while the world is so uncertain and the danger is clear and
present, we have to do everything we can to observe the rules on social distancing. I hope that
if somebody has had a great day on the river, they are more likely to have the strength to do the
difficult thing and say no to a higher risk invitation such as dinner with a group of friends, and
this is part of my rationale for staying open. So as not to be seen as promoting tourism, I will
also cease any advertisement of the courses or sessions I put on. They will be put on the
website and calendar only to be seen by those who seek them out.
I wish all the best to those who are in hibernation and look forward to less worrisome times
when we can come physically together as a community once again. Until then, stay safe, smart
and socially distant.
All the best,
Paddle365 For additional information guidance on paddling through the pandemic, published by British Canoeing, Click Here.