Definition of an independent paddler:
An independent paddler is an experienced adult (18 or over) kayaker, who is capable and well equipped enough to paddle a particular trip without any assistance, coaching or group support, but who decides that for logistical or social reasons that they would prefer to accompany an already arranged trip. A child under 18 may attend independently of the coached/led group only if their parent or legal guardian also attends as an independent paddler as defined here. In this circumstance the parent/guardian must stay with their child at all times and retains full responsibility for that child in all regards.
The primary aim of the group leader or coach is to ensure the safety of the group that they are in charge of and to achieve this the independent paddler accompanying a led group must:
1) Be capable of being totally self-reliant in the prevailing conditions and will be directly responsible for their own safety and that of any companions, to ensure that the coach or leader can focus on the welfare of their allocated group.
2) Accept that if a coach or leader, as a representative of NBKC, is not comfortable with the independent paddler's experience or ability, or the ability of a child who they are responsible for (including situations caused by the coach/leader not having paddled with that person before, and/or not being fully aware of their abilities), or external conditions present themselves which may unduly stretch abilities, then the paddler will be asked not to take to the water as part of the NBKC group, but will make entirely personal decisions about whether to cancel or to progress on their own, rather than as a part of that group. The assumption is that the independent paddler has already considered any logistical or practical issues that this may present (such as lack of alternate transport etc) before setting out. The decision of the coach or leader is to be final and is to be based entirely on the leader/coaches comfort about the NBKC group and the impact on the coached/led group - the independent paddler is not to be a consideration in the leader/coaches decision making process.
3) Despite the above, the independent paddler must be aware that their presence can and will affect the group being led and they may be asked to modify their behaviour accordingly.
Last updated 14/05/2013