Guidelines for Leaders and Instructors During COVID

A guideline to help SKABC activities correctly follow COVID-19 safety protocols.

Adapted (with thanks) from Paddle Canada

Date: December 12, 2021

All outdoor activities, including kayaking, involve inherent risks. As a club we do what we can to mitigate these risks by sharing information about sea kayaking safety. The unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic requires additional safety education and guidelines. The club has created a list of COVID-19 Protocols. This includes the requirement that participants in all in-person events be fully vaccinated against COVID 19.

Additionally, here are some questions to help volunteers leading a SKABC activity to:

  1. Decide whether or not an activity is acceptable given all applicable national, regional, and local regulations and guidance, and..
  2. Decide whether they can 'tick all the boxes' of safety precautions as outlined by public health authorities (distancing measures, etc.). 

To help determine if an activity you’re planning for SKABC is workable, please answer the following questions (Yes or No):

Yes     No  -  Has the province “opened” and indicated that the club can operate?

Yes     No  -  Are you following your local guidelines with regards to gathering size, health and sanitation, and any other items required?

Yes     No  -  If you offer your trip or course on public lands, are they open to you?  (ie, parks, beaches, marinas)

Yes     No  -  Are you, and the other participants, welcomed where you intend to go (ie, remote areas and/or indigenous communities; have you asked for permissions)?

Yes     No  -  Are you confident the activity can be run in a manner that minimizes exposure to, and transmission of, SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19)?

If you cannot answer YES to all the above, the activity cannot be a SKABC-sanctioned activity. If, at any time, a YES answer above changes to NO, the activity shall be immediately cancelled.

If you can answer YES to all the above, consider the following before, during and after your trip or course:

❏ Participants should maintain a minimum 2m distance at all times. As the leader you should recognize that a situation may arise that you may HAVE TO close this distance in the interest of safety (e.g. assisted rescues, first aid situations). Are you, and the other participants, willing to take that risk, and have you considered extra precautions? If the answer is NO, then the activity should not occur. Please discuss this with your group before the trip.

❏ Does the activity require that social distancing measures would be breached? (ie, advanced sea kayak courses whose curriculum involves students and instructors being within close range or touching each other). If so, do you have strategies and adaptations in place to limit possible transmission of SARS-CoV-2?

❏ Will you keep track of participant replies to the club’s health questionnaire? (NOTE: The questionnaire will be sent as an automated reminder email 2 to 3 days before the trip). Will you print the health questionnaire and contact list for the day of?

❏ Before, during and after the activity, will participants have the equipment necessary to follow recommended sanitary measures? Seriously consider adding non-medical face masks and hand sanitizer to the gear list.

❏ Consider how you may need to add to, or revise, your trip plan including:

  • Operational procedures: leader/participant ratios, pre-trip meeting, equipment checks, transportation to and from launch site, keeping groups small to allow for separation within the group, potential reduced/closed facilities on the travel route
  • First Aid and Emergency Action Plans, including a participant with symptoms (even suspected symptoms that develop during the trip)
  • Pre-launch questionnaire to screen any participants who may be unvaccinated or otherwise at risk of spreading COVID-19. NOTE: If someone does show up with any symptoms of illness whatsoever, or has not been fully vaccinated, they will not be allowed to participate in the activity. If this means that if there is no longer a safe ratio of paddlers to leaders that was approved by the Trips or Training Officers, then the activity can no longer proceed as a sanctioned SKABC paddle.
  • Be aware that the leader/instructor has the right to decline a member’s attendance request based on their comfort level and group size, even at the time of the pre-launch briefing.

If you have any questions or suggestions for improvements for these guidelines, please contact

Safe paddling!