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Winter Rules

It’s that time of year again. Dusk has started to descend on our club sessions! We adopt winter rules in the autumn to reduce the risk of collisions in the dark. Winter rules will be in operation from 2nd October 2021 until further notice.

These rules apply to everyone. In summary:

  • It is compulsory for all paddlers irrespective of ranking, age or experience to wear buoyancy aids after dusk.
  • All paddlers using club boats and ANY club member paddling from Lower Wharf is to display lights in accordance with these rules.
  • Appropriate warm clothing must also be worn at all times.

In addition, paddlers training for DW is strongly recommended to wear BAs and carry the recommended survival kit in their boat. You should train with the weight you will have to race with from the start.

The risk of paddling in the dark is increased because the canal is narrow, there are occasional narrow-boat movements after dusk and we usually have paddlers moving in both directions. The aim is to be seen by other craft, not to illuminate the way ahead. In 2021 our rules require:

  • Everyone must show a forward-facing white light and a rear-facing red light when paddling on the canal after dusk.
  • Lights may be attached to the front and back of buoyancy aids or to the boat.
  • Be considerate. All lights are to be ‘diffused’ to prevent dazzling other paddlers. This can be achieved with layers of clear tape.
  • Young people (U18) will not be allowed on the water without the required lights in poor light at dawn and dusk.
  • Observe the ‘river right’ rule to reduce the risk of collision with other paddlers. Wash groups must stay right of the centre line unless the canal ahead is completely clear.

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.

Please seek advice from coaches on lighting. We recommend the ‘Adventure’ light (eBay or Amazon) or cheap silicon band wrap-round lights available at under £2 from various local stores (try Wilkos, Poundland or Lidl). Different lighting regulations apply to DW and will be briefed to paddlers taking part in the event in due course.

Winter Training Programme

The junior programme will continue to run in its current format and parents will be informed of any changes by the coaches. Juniors wishing to participate in the winter training programme sessions will need to have their parent speak to Dan first to ensure they are competent and therefore safe. There is no recreational paddling for juniors at these sessions.

The following is primarily aimed at senior paddlers and those training for DW and Waterside races.

The winter training programme will be run by Dan Colby and will begin on Sunday 3rd October, on the water at 9.30am. Separate email and WhatsApp groups will be set up for communications. Please email (adults), (juniors),  or let Dan know if you would like to be added to these groups.

All competent club paddlers are welcome to paddle at winter training club sessions. You do not have to take part in the organised session but you are welcome to if you want to have more than a recreational paddle. There will not be a supervising coach on the water for recreational paddlers.

The sessions will be held on:

  • Sunday mornings, 9.30am start
  • Tuesday evenings 6.30pm. No coach in attendance but an effort session will be set
  • Thursday evenings 6.30pm. A coach led session

As in previous years, the Sunday sessions will be a mix of club based sessions (technique, or timed or effort sessions) and some ‘out on the course’ sessions. The timetable will be sent out in advance so that you can have support crews ready!

  • The first session on 3rd Oct will be a time trial to the swing bridge back, 6 miles.

We will also organise times for use of the gym and will publish session times soon.

If you have any questions, please ask a coach.

Train safe and happy paddling!

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