Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Quixote

What is needed for Class I canoe trip w/ scouts

Recommended Posts

Not having been through safety afloat or anything else water related with scouts, i'm wondering what training, etc. is needed for a canoe trip as follows:

 

Put in the Delaware River (below the Gap) and paddle down (portage around the weir dams) - the only rapids along this area i believe are class I and obviously can be portaged if required.

 

So, from a scouting perspective, we've got a couple of lifegaurds (say 3) going with most of the adults safety afloat trained as well as safe swim defense trained. We had a skill instruction at one meeting and had in water instruction at one meeting (probably 1.5 hours tops) couple of the boys have their canoeing merit badge.

 

I don't want to throw a damp towel on the outing - i'm not even going - but i'm a little concerned that not enough practical instruction has been given the boys for a river this size.

 

Thanks.

 

Quixote

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quixote,

 

Whether it is Class I or Class VI, I believe BSA considers all of it to be whitewater. Having said this, I think the following applies:

 

1) You need to have a certified adult [in Safety Afloat] for every 10 participants.

 

2) All participants must wear a PFD [personal floatation device].

 

3) Participants need to be "qualified swimmers" - per the BSA swimmers test. If not, a certified lifeguard needs to be in the raft with the "non-swimmer".

 

4) Training specific to the particular type of craft being used needs to be given to all participants [use of craft, safety, and emergency procedures]. I believe an outfitter orientation is acceptable [i.e., a review given prior to the trip].

 

5) It is recommended that the troop has at least one certified lifeguard accompany them on the trip. However, it is not mandatory, unless there are "non-swimmers" participating. If there are "non-swimmers", then a lifeguard must be in the craft with these individuals.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rooster,

 

Thanks - so far, we meet all those requirements then. I guess i keep thinking that we're missing some requirement to be checked off for either canoeing or whitewater specific.

 

We've got the Safety Afloat per 10 (more like per 5) as well as having ALL participants qualified as swimmers. Everyone of course will be required to wear properly approved PFD's.

 

Part of my concern stems from the 1 hour instruction they had on flat water where a couple of kids couldn't even keep their canoe straight - doesn't inspire confidence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't forget to file your paperwork with your council.

We did 12 mi down the Ct. river last summer no white water but the boy enjoyed it.

I was on the pickup team.:(

 

Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems to me that you are good to go. I don't know the conditions of the Delaware generally, and these could change by the time you plan to go.

 

I would not worry too much about the scouts' canoeing abilities as long as they understand all the safety precautions. They will get the hang of paddling quickly enough. Everytime I have taken novice canoeists on the water with minimal or no training, they had the hang of it within an hour. It wasn't always elegant or efficient but they could control the canoes and get where they needed to go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Eisley. The first hour will be a comedy on the water with a lot of zig-zags and circles, and the canoeing partners doing a lot of yelling at each other. But they will catch on before too long. Relax and enjoy the show!

 

We are going on a six hour trip on the Kankakee River this weekend. So we will endure the same scenario.

 

At last week's troop meeting a senior scout and I did an entire meeting on canoeing - paddling, packing, safety, procedures, etc. Did they learn anything? I hope so. We'll see on Saturday!!

 

Have a good time!

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

eagle90,

I'd think twice about the Kankakee this weekend. We just cancelled a trip on the Mackinaw for this weekend. With all the rain we've had here and more coming tomorrow and Saturday not only are waters high and fast but there is a lot of debris in there that could pose a real hazard.

 

Bob White

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I strongly agree about the Kankakee River. It has been at flood stage most of the week with high flows. Remember that high flows can make a nice river very nasty real quick.

 

Suggest the following links:

 

Chicago Area Paddling/Fishing Page which is good for guides and coordinates of dams etc. (note reference to the accidents on the Kankakee at flood.)

 

http://pages.ripco.net/~jwn/canoe.html

 

JPS

 

 

and for flows and levels

 

http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lot/ahps/

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey JPS,

I'm a graduate of the Calumet Council, Peace Pipe District, back in the 60s and early 70s. My family is still in Cal City.

 

Welcome neighbor,

 

Bob White

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guys - I just wish i could be there to watch some of the new scouts try to manouver in a canoe after having watched the older "experienced" scouts do it ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The exchange about the suitability of the Kankakee River this coming weekend raises an important issue to which I and others have alluded. To wit, you need to know the current conditions of the river and need to have an alternative location or date if the river is unsafe. As a scout I foolishly went onto a River in Southeast Missouri in flood stage and we did not stay there very long. Fortunately I and my partner knew how to handle the canoe and had the strength to do what needed to be done. It was scary. The adults who allowed us to do this were frankly negligent, even though nobody got hurt.

 

Having said all that, there are a variety of sources of information about local conditions. There are online sources although I don't recall how to access those. V2 may have some suggestions about this. You can also contact the local Army Corps of Engineers office, your local Coast Guard District, your outfitter, state agencies, and even local police agencies. It helps if you have a local contact who is knowledgeable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the advice, guys. Our outfitter in Kankakee called this morning and cancelled us. The entire river is closed to boating until probably late next week. So we will having a land-locked campout at the State park.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×