The safety of our members is very important to us at Isis CC, whether you are a paddler, a trip organiser/leader or a coach.

We never want to put you in an awkward position because of your, or others, paddling ability. So we devised this page to tell you all the things you need to know about organising or attending trips with the club.

The BCU recommends that the minimum number of people on a trip should be three. Why? Simple, if someone is injured, one person can stay with them while the other goes to get help. All trips which involve Isis CC kit must, therefore, include a minimum of three adults (persons of 18 years and over).

Types of Trips

All advertised trips at Isis CC will be either peer-led or coach-led trip. The distinction means that different levels of paddlers can attend.

Coach-led Trips

These are trips where a coach will be present and will be leading or training you. The coach is responsible for the group's safety and so all participants must listen to, and follow, the coach's advice. The decision for individuals to paddle, whether due to paddling level or high attendance, therefore rests with them.

Peer-Led Trips

These are trips where you will not receive any training (even if a coach is signed up) and so you must be a competent paddler of the level advertised to attend the trip. All participants are responsible for their own behaviour when representing the club and sport.

The highest level of coach or paddler is ultimately responsible for safety because they have the most experience/knowledge. The decision for individuals to paddle, whether due to paddling level or high attendance, therefore rests with them.

Please respect the decisions made by your fellow paddlers and coaches, which are made for the safety of the entire group. Contact if you need more information.

Paddling Level

At Isis CC Intermediate/2* level and below you may only paddle on placid water i.e. water that has no discernible flow, unless a Level 3 coach is present. You will usually be safe paddling on the River Thames. There are flags which will alert you to the status of the flow on the Thames. Details of river flags can be found on the Isis Canoe Club website.

Placid Water (green flag)
Paddlers must all be a minimum of 2*/Isis Intermediate Kayak or Isis Intermediate Open Canoe Solo or Tandem (nobody must be below this level in a group). Any other circumstances require a Level 2, or above, coach to be present. Ensure you know about any obstacles on the trip, including weirs.

Slow Moving Water (amber flag)
Paddlers must all be adults of minimum Isis CC Intermediate Kayak or Open Canoe Tandem (not Open Canoe Solo or 2*)
Any other circumstances require a level 2, or above, coach to be present. Paddlers must not choose routes that are known to have bridges or weirs. They must portage locks and not paddle down backwaters.

Faster Moving Water (red flag)
Paddlers must all be adults of minimum 3* or have a Level 3 coach in the party willing to accept responsibility for lesser paddlers.
For amber and red flags paddlers should submit a plan and get permission from Chair before paddling.


While you are out on the water it is good to make sure you have the following:


In England we do not have a right to paddle on all waterways (only approximately 3%). We have a public right of navigation on the River Thames, and we have a wealth of trips we can do in the local area and beyond. Look at the Where We Paddle page of the website for more information or speak to other members and coaches.

If you come to a section of river where there are hazards with which you are unfamiliar or flow faster than your current paddling level, then portage around them rather than risk injury.

Check that there are suitable places to access the water, rest for lunch and get off the water. You must not trespass to gain access to the water.

If your trip will require transport ensure there is sufficient parking at the access and egress points. If you are not doing a round trip (starting and ending at the same point), then you will need to consider doing a shuttle so there is a car available at both the start and finish points. When parking, please remember we are representing the sport so think carefully about where you park. Do not annoy locals by parking in inappropriate places.

Be aware that there will not always be changing rooms or toilets at the access and egress points. Ensure you have a towel with you and are discreet when changing to avoid exposing yourself.


Arrange hand or paddle signals before you set off so you can communicate effectively on the water. Remember that you cannot always hear when people shout due to background noise. You may want to consider taking a whistle to attract attention.

As you set off inform your designated emergency contact and let them know you are getting on the water. Give them a time that you expect to get off the water and inform them when you are safely off the water.

Highlight any issues about broken boats or kit to the Kit Admiral. This is very important so that damaged boats and kit can be fixed and are not given to other people.

If you are unsure or need any further help please contact the Chair (Adam Hardy) who will be happy to advise you.