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Stand Up Paddle boarding is a sport with attendant risks. The SALTWALK Team agree that it is the duty of the Club, so far as is reasonably practicable, to maintain a healthy, safe and effective environment within which to enjoy all paddle sports at SALTWALK.

To implement this policy effectively the Club has a duty to carry out assessments of all paddling activity and Club equipment to manage any attendant risks by: conducting risk assessment, bringing to participants’ attention the hazardous nature of any activity they are engaged in and, where a risk is involved, implementing safe systems of operation and advising on ways to mitigate or eliminate the risk.

We will have a safe and enjoyable club when all Club members assume individual responsibility to co-operate with this Operating & Safety Policy and develop a general safety awareness culture within the Club.

Organisation and responsibilities for carrying out the policy

  • Club Chairperson. The HAS Officer and other officials are accountable to the Club Chairperson for safe and efficient operation of the Club. Overall responsibility for safety thus rests with the Chairperson who has delegated day-to-day responsibility for health and safe operations to the Club’s HAS Officer.
  • Health & Safety Officer. The Club’s Safety Policy is sponsored by the HAS Officer appointed by the Team. The HAS Officer has a wide-ranging remit, working with coaches, other officials, parents/guardians and paddlers to ensure that we are operating in a safe way and managing risk.
  • The Chairman. The Chairman has responsibility for Club catering operations as required. He/she will ensure that general food safety and catering procedures are adopted and that volunteers are appropriately trained and equipped to ensure the health and safety of members.
  • Officials. All Club officials share a responsibility for supervising general activities (including social activities) ‘off the water’ to ensure safe and responsible practice.
  • Club Members. Every member has an individual responsibility to behave sensibly, act with common-sense and co-operate with the Club’s operating and safety guidelines issued by the Club, to keep up to date with policy changes and develop a ‘safety aware’ culture at the Club.


HAS information will be provided in summary form on the Club’s website www.saltwalk.club and communicated on a case by case basis when the Club is operating away from the Derby City Centre water.  The nominated Official or senior paddler with overall responsibility for organising and leading the activity.

Communication of and ensuring overall Club compliance with HAS policy is the responsibility of the HAS Officer. This Safety and Operating Policy is to be available to all members on the SALTWALK website.


SALTWALK has a responsibility in law to see that reasonable precautions are undertaken to ensure the safety of people participating in organised Club activities.

Where obvious hazards exist, therefore, it is expected that organisers will undertake to identify and take such precautions as seem appropriate and reasonable in the circumstances to provide for the safety of event organizers, volunteers and participants.

These could include:

  • Ensuring that a risk assessment of the event or activity has taken place to establish that any planned activity or event is indeed safe and reasonable.
  • That any identified hazard can be controlled, that monitoring activities for the event or activity are in place and that established cut off procedures are in place.
  • Giving information to participants concerning the nature of any hazards which may exist. This could be by way of ensuring access to and knowledge of the BCU Statement of Participation.
  • Ensuring that each participant is aware of any risk and agrees to take action directed by the Coach to mitigate or remove it.

These actions do not absolve the organiser from his or her responsibility to undertake reasonable precautions, nor do they remove the participant’s right in law to sue for damages should negligence be involved. These principles affirm that the attention of the person ‘at risk’ has been drawn to the hazardous nature of the activity, where one is involved.


Stand up paddle boarding does involve some potentially hazardous environments and has some attendant risks.  All paddlers, irrespective of their experience, have a responsibility for their own safety and the safety of others.

SALTWALK will adopt BCU guidelines for risk assessment. Risk assessments are not new, they formalise what responsible organisations and activity leaders have always sought to do: to identify the potential hazards involved with an activity, to understand the risk involved and to remove, reduce or manage that risk to an acceptable level.

Responsibility for Risk Assessment. The Club HAS Officer will coordinate risk assessment, working with the ASI instructors in respect of on-the-water risk. Risk assessments are to be recorded in written form and copies kept to support Club records in accordance with BCU policy. SALTWALK will maintain risk assessments as follows:

  • Generic risk assessment: a broad risk assessment for stand up paddle boarding activity wherever it takes place. This will establish general practices for healthy and safe Stand up paddle boarding at SALTWALK.
  • Site/Event Specific Risk Assessments. These will cover activity at specific sites, such as Matlock Bath White Water Course or events that SALTWALK organizes like trips or Club races.
  • Dynamic Risk Assessment. Refers to the ongoing assessment that activity leaders and experienced paddlers make throughout a session or and activity as the conditions change. Dynamic risk assessment complements any generic or site/event specific risk assessment.


Procedures for reporting and recording accidents and dangerous Accident / Near Misses

SALTWALK has published procedures for reporting accidents and near misses. This policy is summarised on the website and in Appendix 1:

An Accident and Near Misses book is to be maintained at SALTWALK and available to all members upon request. The book is to be checked at every organised Club session so that appropriate action or follow-up can be planned.

In summary, all accidents and incidents that could have resulted in accident or injury are to be reported in the Accident/Near Misses book in accordance with BCU guidelines. Reports should include:

  • The date, time, name of injured person, nature of the injury, action taken and by whom.
  • It is also useful to record how the accident occurred, precisely what the injured person was doing, where and what was considered to be the cause of the accident. If a hazard is identified, then steps can be taken to prevent a reoccurrence.
  • Any action taken should then be recorded. This might also apply to an incident where no one was injured but considered a ‘near miss”, to prevent an accident in the future.


Location of first aid boxes. SALTWALK First Aid kits are to be located:

  • On the person of all qualified instructors.
  • In one of the cars travelling to organised Club events.

First Aid Equipment Checking and Replenishment. The HAS Officer has responsibility for checking First Aid kits and replenishing supplies. These checks are to be checked on the first Session of every month. This check will be carried out by the HAS Officer or other person nominated by them and is recorded on a dedicated log sheet.

Recording the Use of First Aid Equipment. First Aid kit used is to be reconciled with the Accidents Book. Except for adhesive plasters used to treat very minor cuts and abrasion all First Aid kit use would require an entry in the Accidents Book.

Details of qualified first-aid personnel. All Club coaches should aim to complete an Aquatic First Aid course as part of their development. The Club Details Record records all trained First Aiders and a list of currently qualified First Aid personnel is located with the Club First Aid kit.


The only identified fire risk is when members are in the SALTWALK Event Bus itself. In the event of fire in or near the Bus members are to evacuate the Bus by the nearest available exit.  In all cases members are to gather together at a location designated by the Team no less than 200m from the Bus.


SALTWALK Codes of Conduct exist to ensure welfare of Club members and the safe enjoyment of paddle sport by all Club members.   Club members are to familiarise themselves with, and are expected to adhere in full to, the following Codes of Conduct which have been adopted by the SALTWALK Team and are revised from time to time:

  • SALTWALK Club Code of Conduct is for Paddlers, Coaches, Volunteers and Parents



This section of the Club’s Operating & Safety Policy summarises general precautions that apply to all Club members. These rules are detailed (and available to Club members) in other reference documents:

  • SALTWALK Board Usage Guidelines
  • SALTWALK Trips Guidelines
  • SALTWALK Board Loan Agreements


The Team has endorsed a clear set of rules to enhance the safety, enjoyment and development of paddlers at Club session:

  • Members are to turn up on time. Adult late-comers must accept that they might not get a paddle unless suitable boards are available.
  • Junior paddlers arriving late should not expect to paddle as the organised session may already be underway.
  • All juniors MUST participate in the planned organised session. For the avoidance of doubt the planned session will be published on the Club website.
  • Safety Equipment including leashes and buoyancy aids MUST be worn in accordance with Club rules.
  • Shoes MUST be worn.


We welcome interest from non-members and visitors who regularly visit or observe Club sessions. They will be unfamiliar with our operating procedure and these guidelines. Visitors should be introduced to an adult member or volunteer at the earliest opportunity:

  • We have an absolute responsibility to take every possible precaution to ensure that interest in our activities, especially those involving junior members, is healthy and appropriate.
  • We need to keep ourselves and visitors safe, especially when moving around the area and Car Park with boards.
  • Visitors do not necessarily appreciate when they are causing an obstruction or putting themselves at risk, for example by standing too close to the water’s edge or around the centres other customers mainly cyclists, walkers, sailors, fishermen and bird watchers.
  • We are part of the community and conversations with members of the public are quite natural and to be encouraged. Members are, however, expected to report ‘unfriendly’ or hostile interactions with members of the public to a Team member.


The Club’s water safety policy is that anyone attending club sessions on white water MUST wear a buoyancy aid.  All paddlers that do not wear buoyancy aids must wear properly fitted leashes at all times.  All paddlers MUST be capable of swimming 50 metres unsupported and treading water for 5 minutes.  Anyone who is unable to do this, or finds it challenging MUST wear a buoyancy aid when using Club equipment or taking part in Club sessions.

The fitting of buoyancy aids by novices WILL be checked by coaches with instructions on suitable application and use provided. Specific Club rules apply to all members taking part in Club sessions or using Club equipment are as follows:

Flat Water Racing/Training.

  • All paddlers MUST wear buoyancy aids at night AND when directed to do so by a Coach or organiser in the event of inclement weather or fast river flow conditions. The organiser’s word is final in this matter.
  • Paddlers taking part in races MUST follow race organiser instructions regarding the use of buoyancy aids always.

White Water Paddling. All participants MUST wear buoyancy aids irrespective of experience or qualifications.


Club equipment is to be maintained and kept in good working order. This includes all board fixtures and fittings including, but not restricted to, carrying handles/straps, integral or inflatable buoyancy as well as paddles, safety helmets and buoyancy aids.

Responsibility for equipment checking:

  • Coaches are responsible for conducting equipment checks on organised sessions.
  • Every member is responsible for individually checking the equipment they are using and following Club guidelines on safe use. This includes ensuring that they use boards that are suitable for their experience and ability levels.
  • Periodically (not less than quarterly) the Club’s Lead Coach will organise a deliberate check of equipment serviceability and report any maintenance required.

All damage, however caused, is to be reported immediately so repairs can be affected before equipment is beyond economic repair or becomes dangerous to use.

Club members and students on Club courses should be trained in the application and use of all equipment that is unfamiliar to them. This responsibility is shared by Coaches and experienced paddlers alike.

The Club has limited storage space in the SALTWAL Bus. Equipment should be stacked carefully and safely in the storage areas.

Care should be taken when lifting any heavy items, especially hard boards and juniors lifting adult boards of any type should always be lifted by two people to minimise risk of injury.


SALTWALK sponsors a ‘year-round’ paddling season. To ensure safety during the winter months the Club will adopt Winter Rules. On a date to be published on the Club website (typically by the end of September) the Club will notify paddlers in advance that Winter Rules are to come into force from a specified date. When this is declared:

  • It is compulsory for all paddlers to wear buoyancy aids after dusk
  • All Club boards and ANY member paddling is to display lights in accordance with this section.

Irrespective of the season many SALTWALK paddlers chose to paddle in the dark to extend the paddling season and to train for overnight races. We may operate on a section of the Mersey Canal that has very limited use after dark but we do have experience of movement on the canal after dark by boats and therefore insist that:

  • All Club members are ADVISED to show a forward facing white light after dusk and display a ‘cylume’ chemically activated light stick on the right shoulder of their buoyancy aid when paddling on the canal after dark.
  • When paddling away from the Club in darkness (for example of the River Thames or any flowing waterway) lights are COMPULSORY for all paddlers taking part in organised Club activities.


Our home on the Derwent has large open stretches of calm water with little flow, however it also has several sections with hazards associated with flow or weirs.  This makes it ideal for training but also means the club has a responsibility to teach specific sessions on hazard avoidance and rescue early on.  More specifically sessions on weirs, their dangers and how to avoid/self rescue.

Paddlers are advised that to paddle safely in these conditions they SHOULD:

  • Not go out alone; always buddy up on the water even if you have a support crew on the river/ canal bank.
  • Wear a buoyancy aid
  • Let someone know where you are going, your launch and recovery point and an estimated time you expect to be out on the water.
  • Check the Environment Agency website for strong stream warnings (especially on the River Derwent and Trent) and stay off the river when it has ‘Red Board’ conditions

Paddlers should take account of two specific water conditions relevant to the canal. The incidence of illness caused by both these conditions can be reduced by taking sensible precautions:

  • In summer, particularly when there has been little rainfall, the canal can become stagnated. These conditions may result in formation of blue/green algae. Avoid paddling in areas where you see algae and always shower and wash as soon as you come off the water.
  • Weil’s disease (or leptospirosis) is a relatively rare bacterial infection caused by allowing water that has been contaminated by rat’s urine to come into contact open wounds, the eyes, or with the mucous membranes. In this country, most cases of Weil’s Disease occur in the summer and early Spring. Always wash your hands as soon as you come off the water and avoid eating or putting your fingers anywhere near your mouth/nose/eyes until they have been thoroughly washed.

Paddlers are STRONGLY ADVISED to read the Club’s information leaflet about Weil’s Disease (which is also on the website) and to become well informed about the risks, sensible precautions that can be taken to avoid infection and the recommended action to take if you think that you have been infected.


The water regularly freezes in the winter months and ice is a common hazard from late December to late February. Different sections of the canals freeze at different times unless there is a sustained cold spell. Ice is particularly dangerous for paddlers because:

  • It can damage boards, fins and paddles
  • It increases the risk of falling suddenly
  • It can prevent injured paddlers from reaching the bank

Paddlers MUST portage sections of the canal that are iced up. Do not attempt to paddle through ice.

The club reserves the right to ban the use of Club equipment if the general weather and ice conditions are considered too dangerous for paddling to take place.


The basis of this section of the document is to guide instructors, volunteers and officials at the Club to ensure the efficient safe and secure routine operation of the Club. It will help to prevent problems as a result of people “not knowing” how we operate.


With effect from 1st April 2017 rules will be implemented to ensure that activities outside formal Club sessions, should they take place, are properly supervised to reduce the risk of personal injury or damage to Club equipment. Unless adult volunteers can be identified to supervise sessions then formal or informal sessions will not go ahead. The rules governing sessions (other than formal sessions) are:

  • Every informal session (and that means all use of Club equipment outside formal Club sessions) is to be supervised by a nominated adult volunteer
  • If there are no volunteers then informal sessions will not take place


Ad Hoc use of Club equipment is covered in paragraph 19 (above). In addition to these rules equipment may be loaned to paddlers for longer periods and in order to participate in specific events such as the Naish One Race Series or the National Club Championships. The Club has a specific procedure to cover boat loans.

In summary:

  • Club equipment on loan to members will always be the subject of a formal board loan agreement. Details obtainable from the Club.
  • Boat loans will attract a charge agreed between the Club and individual(s)
  • Members that borrow boats on a longer-term basis will remain completely liable for their safe transport, storage and use.
  • All problems with equipment including repairs necessary are to be notified to the Club at the earliest opportunity so they can be addressed in time.
  • Boards will be inspected before and at the end of the loan period. Repairs will be arranged by the Club and will be the sole financial responsibility of the individuals (or their parents/carers) signing the loan agreement.
  • Individuals borrowing Club equipment on board loans will additionally be expected to be full Adult or Junior members of the Club in the year in which the loan takes place.


The Club will hold an emergency contact number for a parent or guardian (and school number) if applicable for all junior paddlers taking part in club sessions or courses.

All paddlers attending a SALTWALK Stand up paddle boarding course or their first club session MUST complete a health declaration (in writing) and the instructor should ask if they have any medical conditions that they should know about. For young people this information MAY be provided by a parent or guardian.

SALTWALK will publish emergency incident procedures and make them available to all paddlers on the Club’s website:

  • Stay calm but act swiftly and observe the situation.
  • Is there danger of further injuries?
  • Listen to what the injured person is saying.
  • Alert the first-aider who should take appropriate action for minor injuries.
  • In the event of an injury requiring specialist treatment, call the emergency services Dial: 999 for immediate life threatening injuries and 111 for urgent care.
  • Deal with the rest of the group and ensure that they are adequately supervised.
  • Do not move someone with major injuries. Wait for the emergency medics.
  • Contact the injured person's parent/carer.
  • Complete an incident/accident report form.
  • Important: if you witness a ‘near miss’ which is an incident that could have resulted in an injury or serious accident it is very important to record it (anonymously if you wish) in the ‘Near Miss’ book.
  • This will enable us to learn and take the appropriate corrective action before an accident happens

In the event of a serious incident Club Officials are not to speak to the media/press about the incident without clearing a line to take with the Club Chairperson, who may decide to contact the BCU Press Officer for further advice.  It is particularly important that the following line is taken:

  • No admission of liability
  • No further comment until all the facts are known
  • The club’s immediate concern is for the welfare/safety of the individuals involved (if appropriate)


The Club’s policy is to follow BSUPA guidelines for coaching and with respect to safety on courses and programmes of instruction.

  • Coaches are to gather information about the group that they will be working with to include medical information, needs (including behavioural/social needs) and swimming ability.
  • Paddlers MUST be capable of swimming 50m unaided and treading water for 5 minutes. Students that cannot do so MUST wear buoyancy aids on the water always and SHOULD be encouraged to attend swimming lessons to improve swimming ability and water confidence.
  • Students are to be advised what to do with valuables, spectacles (of work) and suncream. It sounds obvious but people need reminding.
  • A safety briefing is to be given to students warning of any potential hazards identified through risk assessment and actions to take in the event of capsize or emergency.
  • Coaches are to ensure that a First Aid kit is available at all times, that they have a mobile telephone to summon assistance if remote from a support crew with First Aid kit
  • Coaches are to ensure that they are themselves familiar with and have understood the Club Safety and Operations policy
  • Coaches are to ensure that clothing work is appropriate to the ability, air/water temperature, wind chill factor. All paddlers are to protective wear shoes or wetsuit boots in accordance with Club policy.

SALTWALK guidelines for coach to student ratios are to be applied for all introductory courses and for coached sessions on moving water. Recommended Coach to Student ratios are 1:8. Coaching ratios for experienced paddlers and for flat water sessions may be altered at the Coach’s discretion although should not exceed 1:8 unless the coach is experienced and has completed a risk assessment for the activity proposed.


BCU guidelines are followed for Club trips and journeys. The general risk assessment applies to these trips and Coaches are responsible for making a dynamic risk assessment all trips run by the Club. Paddlers are to read the detailed guidelines in the

‘Participation in Trips Organised by SALTWALK Club’ document. This may be requested from the Club and is published on the website.


SALTWALK is a friendly club that encourages social activity off the water and particularly supports events where adults and junior members can socialise together in a safe and healthy environment.

If you can think of a way to improve this Policy, please discuss it in the first instance with the HAS Officer who has overall responsibility for the Club’s Safety & Operating Policy.


  • SALTWALK Club Risk Assessments
  • SALTWALK Code of Practice for Coaches, Officials, Volunteers and Parents
  • SALTWALK Junior Section Code of Conduct
  • SALTWALK Accident/Incident Reporting System
  • British Canoeing Duty of Care Policy
  • British Canoeing Coaches Code of Conduct
  • British Canoeing Participation Statement
  • British Canoeing Club Operating & Safety Procedures
  • British Canoeing Risk Assessment Guidelines Declaration:

SALTWALK Club hereby declares that this Safety & Operations Policy is adopted by the Team of the Club. The Sponsor for this Code of Conduct is the HAS Officer who will coordinate its implementation with other Officials as required.