Get Ready for Spring – a Quick Safety Review

safety-firstSpring is here and soon we'll be heading out on the water again. The first SKABC courses have already taken place and the first trips have launched.

Just because your paddling trip at the end of last season was a good one, doesn't mean your equipment and processes can't use a little review. Before you head out, here are some tips to ensure a safe 2016 paddling season:

  • Check your equipment:
    • Kayak: What shape is it in? How are the rudder cables? The deck lines? Grommets?
    • Safety Gear: what shape is it in? Is it complete? Do any items need replacing?
    • First Aid Kit: Do any items need replacing?
    • Communication Equipment: Does it work? Are the batteries charged? Do you remember how to use it?
  • Always complete a Float Plan for a trip
  • Use the Launch Site Checklist before getting on the water
  • Check out the new Whistle & Paddle Signals handout to improve on-water communication

You can find additional checklists and trip planning forms on the Trip Planning page.

Remember: Always be accountable for your safety and your paddling partner's safety


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On-Water Communication: Whistle and Paddle Signals

When paddling, different factors can  affect good verbal communication.

  • Distance
  • Wind
  • Not speaking loudly and clearly
  • Not being face to face
  • Age, i.e. hearing loss

Here is a quick review of whistle and paddle signals to communicate with your paddling group when verbal communication is compromised; or download this document to  take with you.

Whistle Signals

  • ONE loud whistle blast: Attention. Stop and look for further direction.
  • TWO loud whistle blasts: Stop. Stay where year - look for further direction.
  • THREE loud whistle blasts: Emergency.

Paddle Signals


Paddle held horizontally over your head with two hands:





Paddle held vertically over your head:



Paddle held at 45 degrees to body:





Paddle overhead, waving back and forth:

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Want to Engage in Conservation Efforts?

Join us at Zawa's Restaurant located at 920 Commercial Drive, Vancouver, BC at 7:00 pm, Tuesday January 26th. A table is reserved for like minded individuals who want to explore kayaking and conservation ideas.

Your host for this event is Roxanne Rousseau. Contact her if you have any questions. Also see our General Discussion Forum to find more information in the on-going discussion. You will be engaged!

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Thinking Outside the Kayak

Submitted by Susan Johnson

When is a kayak more than a vessel for crossing water? When it becomes an object of art and is the most expensive decorative attraction in the house, of course! We are told it is best for our kayak accessories to have more than one use when on a trip. Well, my kayak has more than one use.

It all started when I changed from a non-window garage door to an insulated windowed garage door. I appreciated the additional natural light in my garage. Then it occurred to me that if I installed a window in the door between the garage and adjoining office, I could take even further advantage of that light.kayak_indoors

While waiting for my custom-ordered window for my office passage door, I planned how to create a decorative, nautical view around my kayak against the far wall of the garage. After all, when I sit at my desk beside the passage door and look out into the garage, I wanted something nice to look at, not garbage cans and dirty gardening tools. I painted the concrete floor and lay down a carpet that Thom no longer wanted. Then Craigslist provided me with an inexpensive sideboard, and it was fun shopping for nautical accessories to complete the scene.

The window view is a facade because the rest of the garage holds ugly storage boxes, but it is a fun facade. So do laugh when I tell you that my kayak is the largest, most expensive decorating piece in my house!
Susan Johnson


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BCMTNA receives donation raised at Film Festival

Mick Allen receiving the cheque for BCMTNA. Pictured: Roxanne Rousseau, Nick Heath, Mick Allen, Randy Chatterjee

The cheque for BCMTNA. Pictured: Roxanne Rousseau, Nick Heath, Mick Allen, Randy Chatterjee

At the club June meeting, a cheque for over two thousand dollars was presented to the BC Marine Trails Network Association. The funds raised will be used for the improvement of kayak camping sites in Howe Sound. Thanks to all the organizers of the Reel Paddling Film Festival, film goers and generous sponsors for helping make a contribution to preserving BC coastline for recreational use.

Our activities are preceeding the "Sea to Sky Marine Trail Opening”. Details:

Events on June 14, 2015
Sea to Sky Marine Trail Opening
Starts: 3:00 pm
Ends: 5:00 pm
Location: Oceanfront Nexen Beach, Squamish
Description: On June 14 in the Sea to Sky Marine Trail will be opened on Nexen beach in Squamish, followed by an opening in Gibsons on June 28.

More info about this event is in this Squamish news article:

The Sea to Sky Marine Trail is a network of marine trails for human powered crafts (kayaks) in the Howe Sound, with access to 10 camp sites. This multi-day camping trip opportunity is part of the Trans Canada Trail.

The Sea to Sky Marine Trail is a partnership between Recreation Sites and Trails BC, the Squamish Nation, BC Parks, the BC Marine Trails Network Association, the Trans Canada Trail Foundation, the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District and the Sunshine Coast Regional District.

The BCMTNA website is for anyone who might want to join or contribute directly.

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