Inland water paddlecraft


Inland Water Paddle-craft Good Practice Guide

Guidance for canoeing, inflatable, sit in & sit on top kayaking, rafting and stand up paddleboarding on inland waters.

Version 1.1 | Date 23 Sept 2019 | Details: Version 1.1 release. Changes from the pre-release version are:

  • Appendix A2.2.1 Inflatable Lifejackets – updated to be consistent with Enclosed and Coastal Waters Paddle-craft GPG.

Acknowledgment, disclaimer and preface

Acknowledgment, disclaimer and preface
Traditional owner acknowledgement

The Outdoor Council of Australia and the Australian AAS Steering Committee would respectfully like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners, their Elders past, present and emerging, for the important role Indigenous people continue to play in Australia and most especially on the land and waters used for outdoor activities and recreation.

Disclaimer

Copyright
Copyright 2019 Outdoor Council of Australia.

Disclaimer
The information published in the Australian Adventure Activity Standard (AAAS) and accompanying Good Practice Guides (GPG’s), including this document, is for information purposes only and is not a substitute for, or intended to replace, independent, professional or legal advice. The information contained in the Australian Adventure Activity Standard and the Good Practice Guides are a guide only. Activity providers and any other person accessing the documentation should consider the need to obtain any appropriate professional advice relevant to their own particular circumstances, including the specific adventure activities and needs of the dependent participants.

The information published in the Australian Adventure Activity Standard and Good Practice Guides are subject to change from time to time. Outdoor Council of Australia gives no warranty that the information is current, correct or complete and is not a definitive statement of procedures. Outdoor Council of Australia reserves the right to vary the content of the Australian Adventure Activity Standard and/or Good Practice Guides as and when required. Activity providers should make independent inquiries as to the correctness and currency of the content and use their own skill and care with respect to their use of the information.

The Australian Adventure Activity Standard and Good Practice Guides do not replace any statutory requirements under any relevant State and Territory legislation and are made available on the express condition that Outdoor Council of Australia together with the authors, consultants, advisers and the Australian Adventure Activity Standard Steering Committee members who assisted in compiling, drafting and ratifying the documents:

  • are not providing professional or legal advice to any person or organisation; and
  • are not liable for any loss resulting from an action taken or reliance made on any information or material contained within the Australian Adventure Activity Standard, Good Practice Guides and associated documents.
Preface
Forward

“Adventure is worthwhile” – Aristotle

The Australian Adventure Activity Standard and Good Practice Guides are designed to ensure effective, responsible, sustainable and safe delivery of adventure activities to dependent participants. They can help people across the outdoor sector to develop appropriately managed adventure activities which enhance individuals and our communities, while protecting the environment and culturally significant places. In doing this, these documents can help ensure that people will continue to enjoy the benefits of adventure activities well into the future.

Best wishes for all your adventures.

The Australian Adventure Activity Standard Steering Committee.

About these documents

The Australian Adventure Activity Standard (AAAS) and related Good Practice Guides (GPG’s) are a voluntary good-practice framework for safe and responsible planning and delivery of outdoor adventure activities with dependent participants.

The AAAS and related GPG’s provide guidance on safety and other aspects of responsible activity delivery, such as respect for the environment, cultural heritage and other users. They are not a full legal compliance guide, nor are they a “how to” guide or field manual for outdoor activities. They do not provide guidance on providing a high-quality experience over and above safe and responsible delivery.

Activity providers are encouraged to obtain independent professional and legal advice in relation to their obligations and duties in delivering adventure activities and should reference the relevant laws to the area in which they intend to undertake the adventure activity.

Does the Standard and Good Practice Guides apply to me?

The AAAS and related GPG’s are specifically designed to help activity providers who are conducting activities involving dependent participants, to provide a safe and responsible experience. It is for each provider to determine based on their own individual circumstances, if they are working with dependent participants or not.

A dependent participant is a person owed a duty of care by the activity provider who is reliant upon the activity leaders for supervision, guidance or instruction to support the person’s participation in an activity. For example, this often includes participants under the age of 18, participants lacking the ability to safely undertake the activity, or participants reasonably relying on the activity provider for their safety. The degree of dependence may vary during an activity.

Considerations for determining if a person is a dependent participant may include, but is not limited to:

  • the foreseeable level of competence of the participant in the activity and the associated level of reliance this creates on the activity leaders
  • the level of foreseeable self-reliance of the participant to reasonably manage their own safety
  • the possible variation throughout the activity of the level of reliance
  • the variation of the degree of dependence throughout the activity
  • the individual context, nature and circumstances of the activity
  • the relevant circumstances and particular facts relating to the responsibilities assumed by the provider.

An activity provider can be any organisation – business, community group, government agency, school or any other groups – that organises and leads adventure activities. Individuals can also be an activity provider, if they have the ultimate legal duty of care to participants. In general, ‘the Standard’ and GPG’s relate to a provider as a ‘whole organisation’, rather than to ‘specific roles’ within the provider ‘organisation’.

Some providers may have their own standards or guidelines appropriate to their duty of care. It is recommended that these be reviewed periodically to ensure current duty of care expectations are met. ‘The Standard’ and ‘GPG’s’ may aid such reviews.

Are they legally binding?

The AAAS and GPG’s are voluntary, not legal requirements. However, they may refer to specific laws and regulations which may be legally binding on activity providers.

While the AAAS and ‘GPG’s’ are voluntary, some land managers and other organisations may require compliance. This may be as a condition of obtaining a licence, permit or other permission, or some other condition (e.g. a contract).

Under Australian common law and relevant legislation, providers have a legal duty of care towards dependent participants in some circumstances. In broad terms, the legal duty requires providers to take reasonable care that their actions and omissions do not cause reasonably foreseeable injury to dependent participants.

The AAAS and GPG’s are not legal advice, and they cannot answer whether a legal duty exists in specific circumstances. All adventure activity providers should check what legal requirements apply in their own situation and seek legal advice if at all in doubt.

Even in cases where participants are not dependent, other legal duties and obligations may arise. The AAAS and GPG’s have not been developed for those contexts.

Structure of the Standard and Good Practice Guides

The AAAS (i.e. the Standard) has a related Core Good Practice Guide (Core GPG). They both include guidance that applies to all adventure activities. They set out recommendations for a common approach to risk management that can generally apply regardless of the specific activity being undertaken.

Individual activity Good Practice Guides include guidance on specific adventure activities.

Shows how the Standard, Core good practice guide and activity good practice guides fit together.s

For any given activity, (i) the AAAS (the Standard), (ii) the Core GPG and (iii) the activity Good Practice Guide that applies to that specific activity, should be consulted.

The AAAS and Core GPG cover only those activities specifically listed. While the AAAS and Core GPG may be useful in managing risk generally for other activities, they may not reflect good practice for such other activities.

Interpretation of the Standard and Good Practice Guides

The following words and phrases are used in all documents and have specific meanings:

  • Must: used where a provision is mandatory, if the provider is to operate fully in accordance with AAAS or GPG’s. (This is equivalent to the keyword “shall” used in other voluntary standards e.g. Standards Australia, other International Standards Organisations (ISO’s) etc.)
  • Should: used where a provision is recommended, not mandatory. It indicates that the provider needs to consider their specific situation and decide for themselves whether it applies or is relevant.
  • Can/cannot: indicates a possibility and capability.
  • May/need not: indicates a permission or existence of an option.
  • But are/is not limited to: used to indicate that a list is not definitive and additional items may need to be considered depending on the context.

The following formatting is used throughout:

  • Defined words are in italics. They are defined in the Glossary.
  • Examples are in smaller italic 9-point font.
  • In document references are in underlined. References are to section heading titles.
  • External web or Australian AAS & GPG document links are in dotted underline italic.
Creation

The AAAS and GPG’s were developed with the input from a wide range of outdoors and adventure activity experts with extensive field experience. They draw on state and territory-specific standards previously in place across Australia. The development process included work by a range of technical expert working groups, as well as open consultation throughout the community of activity providers and other experts.

The Steering Committee wishes to thank all the Technical Working Group (TWG) members for their work and contributions.

The Steering Committee acknowledges all the State and Territory Governments for funding the creation of the first national adventure activity standard and set of good practice guides for the sector.

Further details of the creation of the AAAS and GPG’s can be found at australianaas.org.au/about/history/

It is intended that the AAAS and GPG’s will be regularly updated to reflect changing practice and better understanding over time. Updates will be noted on the website www.australianaas.org.


1 Introduction

1.1 Activity

Paddle-craft activities include canoeing, kayaking and rafting and other similar waterborne activities. The aim of the activity can vary and may include but not limited to for pleasure, challenge, experience, journeys and/or educational or other outcomes.

This document covers activities that are identified by three considerations:

  • it relates to activities involving dependent participants
  • the type of body of water being paddled – this activity Good Practice Guide (GPG) relates to paddling inland water, either on flat-water or white-water
  • the type of paddle-craft being paddled – this activity GPG relates to craft suitable for paddling inland waters.

1.1.1 Type of craft

Paddle-craft are a type of watercraft propelled and manoeuvred by the user(s). The “types” of paddle-craft covered include but is not limited to:

  • canoes including inflatable canoes
  • kayaks including inflatable kayaks, enclosed kayaks (i.e. sit in) and sit on top kayaks
  • sea kayaks when used on inland waters
  • rafts
  • other inflatable paddle-craft (e.g. pack rafts, river sleds etc.)
  • stand up paddleboards (SUPs)
  • paddle-craft using oar rigs
  • other emerging paddle-craft with similar design.

The type of paddle-craft being used may effect the hazards and risks involved and relevant safety requirements.

1.1.2 Type of body of water

The hazards and risks involved, relevant safety requirements and type of paddle-craft suitable may change depending on the body of water being paddled.

In using this document, it is important to understanding the difference between inland water and enclosed waters. The difference between inland water and enclosed waters generally corresponds with specific requirements for safety equipment and other safety measures due to the different environmental conditions, required by the relevant marine safety agency for the jurisdiction of operation.

Inland water is also known as smooth waters, protected waters or inland waterways.

These waters include rivers (inside the seaward entrance), creeks, canals, lakes, reservoirs and any similar waters either naturally formed or man-­made and which are either publicly or privately owned, but does not include any navigable rivers, creeks or streams within declared port waters. Refer to the relevant marine safety agency for the jurisdiction of operation for details of declared port waters and declared inland waters. See Marine safety terminology for waters throughout Australia in Appendix 5.

For the purposes of using this document, inland water(s) is used to identify:

  • any marine safety agency declared inland waters, smooth waters, protected waters or inland waterways
  • any inland waters (as defined by the definition provided above) but excluding waterways at the point at which the water current becomes affected by tides to the extend it changes the activity hazards and risks.

(Also see Important considerations in section 1.1.4 Important considerations.)

Inland water can be flat-­water or white-water.

Flat-water is any body of water or waterway that is not white-water. The same waterway can have sections of flat-water and white-water.

White-water is a section of a waterway where the water current or tidal movement is sufficient to create hydrological feature(s) such as, but not limited to rapids, eddies, waves, whirlpools etc.

Enclosed waters is also known as partially smooth, semi-­protected, intermediate and sheltered.

These waters include enclosed coastal bays, harbours, declared port waters and similar waters that are generally offer some form of limited protection from the environment or weather. Enclosed waters can be the interface between inland waters and/or coastal waters. The relevant marine safety agency for the jurisdiction of operation will generally declare what areas are considered enclosed waters. Refer to the relevant marine safety agency for details.

For the purposes of using this document, enclosed waters are considered:

  • any marine safety agency declared enclosed waters, partially smooth, semi-protected, intermediate and sheltered
  • declared coastal lakes, as well as salt water inlets, enclosed coastal bays, harbours and declared port waters
  • rivers inside the seaward entrance up to the point at which the water is no longer affected by tides to the extend it changes the activity hazards and risks.

Confined body of inland water. The description “confined body of inland water” is used in this document for special environment situations involving flat-water. This normally refers to situations like small private dams located at a residential camp. The location and environment features are such that many – but by no means all – of the hazards or risks normally associated with paddle-craft are mitigated. The location and confined nature mitigate hazards and risks such as becoming lost or separated, being blown in high winds into hazardous situations, having to interact with other types of watercraft or water users, the activity leader being unable to see all the craft due to blocks to line of sight etc. Refer to 5.1 Environment considerations section for more details.

(Also see Important considerations in section 1.1.4 Important considerations.)

1.1.3 Types of activities

Canoeing involves watercraft which are typically open craft (e.g. canoes) and paddled with a single blade paddle.

Kayaking involves watercraft which can be sit in or sit on craft and paddled with a double-­bladed paddle.

A key feature of canoeing or kayaking is that participants generally operate a separate paddle-craft to that of the guide or instructor. With dependent participants canoeing and kayaking generally occurs on flat-water and/or up to Grade 3 white-water.

Sledding is the use of an inflatable mattress or “river sled” with the participant using their hands to paddle or swim the sled in white-water. Participants each operate a separate paddle-craft. It generally occurs when river levels are low and impassable for other paddle-craft in white-water up to Grade 2.

Stand up paddleboards (SUPs) uses a rigid or inflatable board to stand on and paddled with a single bladed paddle. Participants each operate a separate paddle-craft. It generally occurs on flat-water and/or on white-water up to a Grade 1.

Rafting refers to the use of multichambered, inflatable, open watercraft designed to hold multiple people. Rafts are generally paddled on white-water with a Grade greater than 1. A key feature of rafting is that in most cases the guide or instructor is located in the raft with the participants and operates the raft, generally with the help of the participants.

In some situations:

  • rafts are guided by a participant and the guide or instructor is in a separate watercraft. This is known as a self-­guided raft and generally occurs on flat-water and/or up to Grade 3 white-water
  • rafts using oar rigs operated by the guide/instructor and any passengers are not required to paddle.

While inflatable kayaks and pack rafts have many features similar to rafts, there operation has similarities to canoes and kayaks. The paddle used may be single or double bladed. The participants operate a separate paddle-craft to that of the guide or instructor for pack rafts and this also generally occurs for inflatable kayaks.

1.1.4 Important considerations

There may be ambiguity as to if this activity GPG (i.e. inland water paddling) and/or another activity GPG (e.g. Enclosed and Coastal Waters GPG i.e. sea kayaking) is suitable for:

  • a particular type, style or design of paddle-craft (e.g. new designs that are emerging etc.)
  • the type of body of water the activity being operated on (i.e. the interface areas between inland water and enclosed water is unclear)
  • situations where the activity operates in both inland water and enclosed water at different times.

An appropriate assessment of the paddle-craft, body of water and activity context needs to be completed to determine the appropriate activity GPG or standards that apply.

Where there is no suitable activity GPG or standard, an appropriate risk management plan needs to be completed to address the hazards and risks associated with but not limited to the paddle-craft, the body of water, the activity type and the activity context. The paddle-craft needs the be confirmed as being a suitable design and manufacture for the context of the activity it is being used. The Core GPG and any closely related activity GPGs may assist in developing such a risk management plan.

1.2 Exclusions

Activities that are not covered by this GPG are:

  • sea kayaking – kayaking on waters that are not inland waters
  • activities involving competitive events including adventure races
  • use of dragon boats
  • sailing watercraft
  • motor propelled craft (e.g. motor boats, personal watercraft like jet ski, etc.)
  • activities associated with “camping” (e.g. tent sites, cooking, etc.) while on overnight or extended inland water paddle-craft activities (Refer the Camping GPG).
1.3 Related activities

Related activities are:

  • camping when undertaking overnight or extended activities – Refer the Camping GPG.
  • activities in enclosed waters or coastal waters (e.g. sea kayaking) – Refer Enclosed and Coastal Waters Paddle-craft GPG).

2 Management of risk

Refer to the Core Good Practice Guide – Management of risk.

2.1 Management of risk

There are no additional specific activity provisions other than the Management of Risk provisions in Core GPG.


3 Planning

3.1 Activity plans

The marine safety agency, land owner and/or land manager law(s), regulation(s) and/or requirements must be determined and complied with.

Inland water paddle-craft activity planning considerations may include but are not limited to:

  • watercourse hazards and risks
  • the Grade of the watercourse or rapids and associated difficulty
  • likelihood and consequences of changing water levels including flash flooding
  • possible changes to any natural formations which may effect on hazards, risks and/or Grades
  • the supervision required
  • paddle-craft type and other associated equipment required
  • personal thermal protection necessary
  • land manager and marine safety agency regulation and requirements
  • any other relevant considerations listed in this document and in the Core GPG.

Inland water paddle-craft activity plans should include:

  • appropriately detailed maps of the river
  • preferred routes
  • routes to avoid
  • standard operating procedures for managing hazards
  • environmental trigger points (See weather trigger points in 5.2 Weather trigger points) for reassessment of plans.

Activity plans must establish the maximum and/or minimum water level trigger points for relevant types of activities and paddle-craft.

3.2 Emergency management planning

3.2.1 Emergency management plan

Emergency management plan requirements must be based on the outcome of the risk management plan.

Considerations when developing emergency management plans may include but is not limited to:

  • types of emergencies the risk assessment plan identifies
  • remoteness of the activity
  • need for an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and/or oxygen based on the activity context and profile of likely participants
  • the practicality of carrying emergency management equipment e.g. remote first aid supplies, oxygen, AEDs etc.

A non-­participating contact must be used as part of the emergency management plan.

An activity intentions plan must be:

  • provided in accordance with any land manager or marine safety agency requirement
  • provided to the non-­participating contact along with any relevant information needed.

The use of relevant rescue systems and procedures must be practiced periodically.

Considerations for rescue scenario training may include:

  • general rescue scenarios for the type of waterway and Grade
  • site specific rescue scenarios where known hazards require specific rescue methods.

Where there is only one activity leader, the emergency management plan must have arrangements that allow participants an adequate and appropriate communication system if the leader becomes incapacitated.

Also refer to the Core GPG.

3.2.1 Reporting notifiable incidents

The land manager or marine safety agency may have incident reporting requirements.

A reportable incident must be reported to all relevant authorities in the jurisdiction it occurred, in accordance with the requirements for the jurisdiction.

Also refer to the Core GPG.


4 Participants

4.1 Information provided pre-activity

Pre-activity information should communicate:

  • information as detailed in the Core GPG – Information provided pre-activity
  • possible aquatic and river hazards and risks
  • clothing and footwear requirements.

5 Environment

5.1 Environment considerations

Environmental considerations for inland water paddle-craft may include but is not limited to:

  • the type and features of the body of water used for the activity
  • if white-water is present
  • if rapids are present and the Grade
  • river hazards present or likely to be present
  • river levels including the potential for rapid changes in level
  • wind strength and direction
  • the effect of falling out of or off the paddle-craft
  • the effect of getting wet during the activity
  • climate and weather
  • the effect of flora (e.g. strainers etc.)
  • the fauna expected (e.g. risks associated with venomous snakes, ants etc.).

Environment hazards that must be addressed in the risk management plan include:

  • level of aeration of the water
  • drops
  • entrapment points
  • entrapment in or under paddle-craft
  • fast flowing water
  • floating objects
  • undercut rocks
  • re-­circulations
  • rapids
  • sieves
  • strainers
  • submerged objects and dumped rubbish
  • walking surface for entry, exist or moving about out of the paddle-craft
  • water and environment temperature
  • water contamination.

Water contamination may include but is not limited to:

  • parasites (e.g. giardia etc.)
  • water borne diseases (e.g. cholera etc.)
  • chemical run off or waste
  • animal waste or carcases
  • algal blooms.

5.1.1 Confined body of inland water

A “confined body of inland water” is a special environment situation involving flat-water. This normally describes situations such as small private dams located at a residential camp. It is used to describe a location where many – but by no means all – of the hazards or risks normally associated with paddle-craft are mitigated due to the features of that location.

Considerations in determining if a body of water is a “confined body of inland water” should include:

  • the body of water is not white-water
  • participants are unable to paddle out of the location
  • participants are unable to be blown out of the location or into hazardous locations
  • participants cannot become lost or separated from the group
  • participants wearing a lifejacket could generally reach a bank swimming from the middle of the body of water without assistance
  • clear line of sight or verbal communication to all parts of the body of water
  • when line of sight is blocked for someone on the bank, this can generally be mitigated by changing position on the bank
  • for the majority of the location, there is easy exit from the water on to the bank (e.g. not steep sided, overgrown with blackberry, etc).
  • foot or vehicle access is available to the majority of the perimeter of the location
  • there are no outlet hazards from the body of water (e.g. hydro water release intake, spillway, etc.)
  • water levels do not fluctuate rapidly
  • no interaction between other water users in powered or sailing watercraft.
5.2 Weather trigger points

The risk management plan and emergency management plan must include guidance on trigger points and associated actions for water levels. (Also refer 5.6.1 Water levels section below).

The risk management plan and emergency management plan should include guidance on trigger points and associated actions for:

  • severe weather warnings
  • thunderstorm warnings
  • coastal waters wind warnings
  • tropical cyclone advice: watch and warning
  • extreme cold temperature
  • extreme hot temperatures
  • lightning.

Any weather-related trigger points must be based on the relevant Bureau of Meteorology weather warnings and information, as well as actual weather conditions.

Actions for the possible trigger points may include but is not limited to:

  • cancellation of activity
  • modification of activity
  • avoiding areas that have the potential for flash flooding
  • preparations to avoid the risks associated with blizzards
  • moving to areas that are protected from strong winds
  • managing risks of flying or falling items during strong winds
  • moving to areas that are protected from hail
  • preparations to avoid the risks associated with lightning
  • evacuating to a safe location.
5.3 Lightning

Whilst thunder is audible groups should avoid:

  • being on the water
  • handling paddles or metallic equipment (e.g. raft gear frames, paddles with metal shafts, etc.).

When thunder is audible, a suitable location should be sought, to wait out the thunderstorm.

Considerations for locations to wait out the thunderstorm should include but not limited to avoiding:

  • being on the water
  • being on the highest ground in the area
  • tall trees or structures that may act like a lightning rod
  • water saturated ground near watercourse’s
  • caves
  • locations where group is unable to spread out.
5.4 Weather and water level information

5.4.1 Weather information

Appropriate sources must be used for:

  • current and forecast weather
  • current and forecast weather warnings
  • current and forecast water levels.

Also see Appendix 4 Weather information.

5.4.2 Water level information

Sources of water level information to assess the suitability of the waterway for the activity should include but is not limited to:

  • the Bureau of Meteorology relevant water level information and flood warning information
  • local information sources (e.g. river gauges, dam operators etc.)
  • inspection of the site.
5.5 Bushfire, prescribed fire and fire danger

Refer Core GPG – Bush fire, prescribed fire and fire danger.

5.6 Water and flooding

5.6.1 Water levels

Risk management plans must include procedures to mitigate relevant hazards and risks relating to the:

  • water level being too high (e.g. water flow too great, new river hazards forming etc.)
  • water level being too low (e.g. insufficient water etc.)
  • water level rising rapidly
  • flooding.

Considerations relating to water level rising rapidly or flooding must include:

  • the current water level conditions
  • the possibility of further water release into the catchment area
  • the effect of the changing water level on the activity.

Considerations relating to the current water level conditions must include:

  • the degree of accuracy and/or certainty of what the current water level is
  • the ability to conduct the activity at the current level.

Considerations relating to the possibility of further water release into the waterway catchment area must include:

  • the characteristics of the catchment including but not limited to:
    • size
    • gradient
    • vegetation types and levels
    • soil type, character and depth
    • existence of water bodies (e.g. lakes)
    • man-­made features (e.g. dams, spillways, hydro power stations etc.)
    • natural dams (e.g. soil, logs, vegetation, rocks etc.)
  • the current conditions within the catchment including but not limited to:
    • current rainfall:
      • volume
      • intensity (volume of rainfall during a given period of time)
      • rainfall location
    • water saturation levels of the soil
    • snow conditions and amount of snow available
    • likelihood of snow melt adding to water levels
    • forecast weather
      • rainfall occurring
      • rainfall amount
      • thunderstorms occurring
      • flooding or flash flooding
      • temperature
    • effect of other prior events:
      • bushfires
      • drought
      • heavy rain or flooding
      • heavy snow falls
    • the characteristics of the waterway including but not limited to:
      • profile
      • width
      • depth
    • the operation of man-­made features including but not limited to:
      • release of water from dams, spillways or hydro power plants
      • current water levels of dams
      • expected inflow of water to the dams.

Considerations relating to the effect of the changing water level on the activity must include:

  • the current water level
  • gradient
  • formation
  • narrow points
  • the time required to exist the waterway
  • the availability of high ground
  • obstacles creating water hazards.

5.6.2 Water quality

Areas where the water is polluted or contaminated, and may pose a risk to human health should be avoided.

Polluted or contaminated water may include water effected by:

  • chemicals
  • rubbish
  • sewage
  • upstream runoff (e.g. urban runoff such as oil from roads, industrial operations etc.)
  • dead animals
  • waterborne microorganisms such as:
    • microbial or bacteria (e.g. E.coli)
    • protozoa (e.g. Gardia)
    • cyanobacteria (e.g. blue-green algae)
    • viruses (e.g. Hepatitis).

5.6.3 Flash flooding

Areas likely to experience flash flooding which would effect activity safety should be avoided during severe weather or thunderstorms.

The suitability of water for drinking during and after flooding should be assessed.

Refer Core GPG – Bush fire, prescribed fire and fire danger.

5.7 Wildlife safety

Procedures should be in place to minimise the risks associated with wildlife that may be encountered.

The types of wildlife encounters that may need to be considered include but is not limited to:

  • buffaloes
  • cattle
  • crocodiles
  • horses
  • pigs
  • snakes
  • relevant aquatic animals.
5.8 Environmental sustainability procedures

The procedures may include but are not limited to procedures listed in Core GPG – Environmental sustainability section and the following:

5.8.1 Travel and camp on durable surfaces

Travelling in an area on durable surfaces may include but is not limited to:

  • use recognised access (put in), exit (take out) and rest locations
  • put in and take out wherever possible from areas with a durable surface
  • use a system to tie up paddle-craft that avoids damage to the bank or vegetation used
  • carrying paddle-craft wherever possible rather than dragging them.

5.8.2 Dispose of waste properly

Dispose of waste properly may include but is not limited to:

  • carry out food and general waste
  • carry out human waste and personal hygiene waste.

5.8.3 Leave what you find

Leave what you find may include but is not limited to:

  • avoiding introducing or transporting non-native species of flora, fauna and/or pathogens (e.g. before changing waterways: emptying water, cleaning paddle-craft and equipment, following land manager requirements or recommendations etc.).

5.8.4 Be considerate of your hosts and other visitors

Be considerate of your hosts and other visitors may include but is not limited to:

  • when accessing waterways use gates in preference to climbing over a fence
  • leave gates as you find them.

6 Equipment and logistics

Also refer to Core GPG – Equipment and logistics.

6.1 Equipment requirements

6.1.1 Personal attire

Procedures must be in place to ensure appropriate clothing and personal thermal protection is available and fit for purpose for the expected and foreseeable weather conditions.

Clothing should be of a colour that makes it easily visible for other water users or rescue services.

Procedures must be in place to ensure reasonable and appropriate sun safety measures are taken.

Hats or helmets with sunshades should be worn while on the water.

Procedures must be in place to ensure appropriate footwear that is fit for purpose for the expected and foreseeable terrain is used.

Footwear considerations may include:

  • the type of waterway
  • the type of paddle-craft
  • the weight of the footwear should the wearer become immersed
  • the appropriateness of the means of securing the footwear to the foot
  • the possibility of the current dislodging the footwear.

Prescription spectacles and sunglasses if worn should be secured with a suitable restraint.

6.1.2 Activity equipment

Any marine safety agency, land owner and/or land manager law(s), regulation(s) and/or requirements must be complied with for:

  • paddle-craft design
  • lifejackets
  • rescue equipment.

Equipment must be manufactured for use in the context of the activity:

  • paddle-craft
  • helmets to protect from white-water hazards and risks
  • lifejackets
  • rescue equipment.

An appropriate design standard for equipment must be used where one is available.

Refer details of standards that may be relevant in Appendix 2 Equipment standards.

Prior to use of equipment, all relevant people must receive appropriate training and advised of any relevant manufacturers instructions or limitations.

6.1.3 Paddle-craft

The type of paddle-craft used must be appropriate for use in the context of the activity.

Considerations for paddle-craft should include but is not limited to:

  • the design is appropriate to the context of the activity
  • possess the strength to withstand all foreseeable forces.
  • does not impede exit in the event of capsize
  • means of exit is suited to the paddlers capabilities
  • where appropriate has a means of bailing water
  • has appropriate buoyancy aids installed where necessary
  • does not sink, remains horizontal when swamped and remains suitable as buoyancy for its crew
  • capable of being towed by rope and grasped by hand
  • fitted with appropriate end loops or toggles that do not form entrapment hazards
  • any grab or outside lines are appropriate, suitably attached and do not form entrapment hazards
  • any lines can be appropriately stowed to prevent them becoming an entrapment hazard
  • the stability of the craft is suited to the paddlers capabilities
  • the material or finish does not cause injury
  • where necessary, has a means to be secured to prevent floating away
  • where necessary are fitted with appropriate footrests
  • where integral to the design, has the appropriate fittings (e.g. covers, plugs or hatch covers)
  • preferably of a colour that is clearly visible to other water users or rescue authorities.

Where a means of bailing water out of the paddle-craft is required to remove water, a suitable means of bailing must be provided to each individual paddle-craft.

The use of improvised paddle-craft (e.g. inflatable mattresses, initiative activity/home-made rafts, etc.) must only occur where:

  • the waterway is flat-water or Grade 1 white-water
  • the environmental hazards and risks can be suitably mitigated through the risk management plan
  • any equipment hazards and risks can be suitably mitigated through the risk management plan
  • appropriate rescue equipment and procedures are available.

6.1.4 Paddles

The type of paddle used must be appropriate for use in the context of the activity.

One or more spare paddle(s) as appropriate for the activity context must be carried.

6.1.5 Life jackets

The type of life jacket used must be appropriate for use in the context of the activity.

The buoyancy provided by life jackets must be suitable for the environment they are used in.

A life jacket should be a bright colour.

6.1.6 Helmets

The type of helmet used must be appropriate for use in the context of the activity.

6.1.7 Rescue equipment requirements

The rescue equipment to be available to activity leaders must be appropriate for use in the context of the activity.

Rescue equipment that is required to work under load must have an appropriate safe working load (SWL) rating. Refer Appendix A2.5 for details.

Rescue equipment each activity leader must have readily available for use includes:

  • a whistle appropriate for water environments
  • a suitable means of cutting rope
  • a throw-bag for Grade 1 or above waterways or rapids
  • when canoeing, kayaking or using similar paddle-craft, a releasable means of towing a paddle-craft
  • when rafting a flip line.

Throw bags must be of an appropriate design and use floating rope.

Additional rescue equipment that may be required includes but is not limited to:

  • life jackets with a releasable rescue harness for activity leaders
  • carabiners
  • pulleys
  • slings
  • a static low stretch rope of appropriate length for the river width or environment
  • additional throw bags.

The additional rescue equipment:

  • must be available when paddling on white-water Grade 2 or above
  • should be available when paddling on white-water Grade 1.

6.1.8 Navigation equipment

The type of navigational equipment and aids must be appropriate for use in the context of the activity.

Refer to a list of equipment to consider in Appendix A3 Equipment.

6.1.9 Other equipment

Carrying appropriate extra clothing or personal thermal protection must be considered.

Consideration for carrying extra clothing or personal thermal protection may include:

  • the participants involved
  • the paddling conditions
  • the duration of the activity.

Refer to a list of equipment to consider in Appendix A3 Equipment.

6.2 Use of equipment

All equipment must be checked for serviceability prior to its use.

Procedures must be used so that relevant provided equipment is hygienic.

Provided equipment that may require hygiene procedures includes but is not limited to:

  • wetsuits
  • footwear
  • helmets
  • other personal attire.

6.2.1 Paddle-craft

Consideration for checking the serviceability of paddle-craft should include:

  • the suitable type of paddle-craft for the activity
  • they are in an appropriate condition for the activity
  • have appropriate attachment points to tow or grasp by hand
  • have the appropriate buoyancy to float should they capsize
  • any fittings to make the craft watertight are in place.

6.2.2 Rafts and inflatable kayaks

All rafts must have:

  • a bailer system
  • a bow line and stern line
  • an appropriate system to stow any lines so they cannot become an entrapment hazard including if a raft flips or wraps
  • an outside line.

A group of rafts rafting together must have:

  • spare paddles
  • an inflation pump
  • appropriate additional rescue equipment (refer 6.1.7 Rescue equipment requirements)
  • an appropriate raft repair kit.

Consideration should be given to fitting rafts and inflatable kayaks with tab handholds underneath the floor to assist climbing onto it if it flips upside down.

6.2.3 Paddles

All paddles must float.

6.2.4 Life jackets

Life jackets used must be:

  • the correct size for the person
  • adjusted and used correctly.

Life jackets must be worn at all appropriate times during the activity.

Inflatable lifejacket (i.e. automatic or manual inflating lifejackets) designs should not be used with paddle-craft. (Refer to Inflatable lifejackets in Appendix A2.2.1).

6.2.5 Helmets

Helmet use must be based on a risk assessment of the potential for head injury during the activity.

Helmet should be worn:

  • on moving water
  • where during the activity obstructions could impact the head
  • where movement outside of the craft occurs on very slippery surfaces.

Helmets used must be:

  • the correct size for the person
  • adjusted and used correctly.

The colour of activity leader helmets should be different to that of participant helmets.

6.2.6 Rescue equipment use

Appropriate rescue equipment must be readily available for use.

6.3 Maintenance of equipment

Equipment and inspection records must conform with any law or regulation requirements.

The harshness of the environment must be considered in developing procedures relating to equipment maintenance and serviceability.

All equipment should be inspected periodically that it is serviceable.

Personal equipment (e.g. personal thermal protection, wetsuits, helmets etc.) should be hygienically cleaned after use.

It is recommended that relevant equipment should be individually identifiable to assist manage equipment maintenance and serviceability.

A retirement of equipment procedure should be developed.

Considerations for a retirement of equipment procedure may include but is not limited to:

  • type of use
  • frequency of use
  • prevailing conditions when used
  • actual deterioration, wear and tear
  • extreme usage events or patterns
  • age
  • years in service
  • manufacturers recommendations.
6.4 Storage of equipment

Activity equipment should be stored in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations or instructions.

Considerations for storage of equipment may include but is not limited to:

  • equipment is clean and dry
  • the storage is free from harmful chemicals
  • the storage is free from damp conditions
  • the storage is free from environmental exposure including Ultra Violet (UV) light
  • and avoids extremes of temperature
  • the storage is free from interference of fauna or vermin.

7 Leadership

7.1 Naming conventions

The activity leader naming convention enables this activity GPG to be related to Core GPG requirements.

The leadership naming conventions for inland water paddle-craft activities are:

  • Activity leader is the collective noun to describe a paddle-craft guide, trip leader or instructor.
  • For canoeing: canoe guide and canoe instructor is equivalent to Leader in Core GPG.
  • For kayaking: kayak guide and kayak instructor is equivalent to Leader in Core GPG.
  • For rafting: raft guide and raft trip leader and raft instructor is equivalent to Leader in Core GPG.

It is important to clarify specific roles and competencies required to avoid the possibility of a guide leading a group when they require trip leader or instructor competencies.

An instructor has the competence to instruct participants so that they may undertake the activity independently without supervision or with minimal supervision.

This differs from a guide and ‘general instruction’ that might be given to enable the participant to do the activity but only under direct supervision of an activity leader.

All activity leader competencies needed for a particular role must be clearly defined.

7.2 Competencies

This section outlines the competencies that activity leaders should have.

7.2.1 Competencies overview

The AAAS and GPGs refers to units from the Sport, Fitness and Recreation Training Package for descriptive statements of the knowledge and skills required of activity leaders.

The Training Package units are used for the sole purpose of providing descriptions for the knowledge and skills required. It is not intended to imply or require that specific formal training, assessment or qualification is the only means of gaining or recognising knowledge and skills.

Providers can recognise activity leaders as having the ‘ability to apply knowledge and skills to achieve expected results’ (i.e. competencies) in a number of different ways as detailed in Recognition of competence in Core GPG.

The Training Package units listed can be found by searching for the units on the training.gov.au/Home/Tga website. The code provided with the unit name assists in this search.

7.2.2 Competencies

Also refer to Core GPG – Competencies.

Activity leaders must be competent:

  • in the use of the paddle-craft been used
  • in the required practices in guiding an activity using that type of paddle-craft
  • in operating in the environment and waterway being used
  • in appropriate rescue techniques for the paddle-craft and waterway environment.

Appendix 8 outlines the recommended competencies activity leaders should have when leading paddle-craft activities.

Relevant rescue competencies must be practiced periodically.

7.3 Recognition pathways
7.4 Activity leader to participant ratios and group size

7.4.1 Canoeing and kayaking recommended supervision ratios and group size

Kayaking includes the use of inflatable kayaks.

7.4.1.1 Canoeing and kayaking supervision ratios and group size considerations

Considerations when determining the ratio and group size for canoeing and kayaking must include:

  • the type of water of waterway being paddled
  • participant swimming ability
  • the size of the paddle-craft
  • the design of the paddle-craft
  • the number of participants in each paddle-craft
  • the suitability of the paddle-craft for the type of activity and environment
  • the suitability of the paddle-craft for the participants
  • considerations for determining supervision requirements in Core GPG.

7.4.1.2 Canoeing and kayaking supervision ratios recommendations

The following table outlines the recommended supervision that should be used when canoeing and kayaking.

Notes canoe and kayaks:

  • *= excludes guide/instructor craft
  • #= Refer environment section for clarification of “confined body of inland water”
  • Note 1 – Where there is only a single guide/instructor, the recommended ratio for 3-seater craft on Grade 1 water is – “up to 2 craft, up to 6 participants” – given the potential for a large number of participants in moving water requiring assistance at the one time. Where there is more than one guide/instructor, the recommended ratio for each guide/instructor is as listed in the table i.e. “up to 4 craft, up to 8 participants per guide/instructor”
  • For considerations relating to minors refer to Core GPG regarding child safety and supervision requirements when related to responsible persons.

7.4.2 Rafting recommended supervision ratios and group size

The use of inflatable kayaks is covered above in canoeing and kayaking ratios section.

7.4.2.1 Rafting ratios and group size considerations

Considerations when determining the ratio and group size for rafting must include:

  • the size of the raft(s)
  • the design of the raft(s)
  • the number of participants in each raft(s)
  • the suitability of the raft(s) for the type of activity and environment
  • the suitability of the raft(s) for the participants
  • considerations for determining supervision requirements in Core GPG.

7.4.2.2 Rafting ratios and group size recommendations

The following table outlines the recommended supervision that should be used when rafting.

Notes for rafting:

  • *= excludes the raft guide/trip leader/instructor craft where they are not guiding a raft (e.g. supervising from a kayak)
  • **= a raft trip leader/ raft instructor guiding a raft excludes the need for a raft guide for that craft (e.g. 1 trip leader and 3 raft guides would be the recommended requirement for 4 rafts)
  • ^= where a group has 6 or more craft there should be 2 activity leaders with trip leader competencies appropriate for the activity context
  • #= responsible persons are included in participants total (e.g. 1 responsible person and 8 students is 9 participants)
  • For considerations relating to minors refer to Core GPG regarding child safety and supervision requirements when related to responsible persons.

7.4.3 Other paddle-craft supervision ratios and group size considerations

Considerations when determining the ratio and group size for paddle-craft that are not canoes, kayaks or rafts must include:

  • the size of the paddle-craft
  • the design of the paddle-craft
  • the number of participants in each paddle-craft
  • the suitability of the paddle-craft for the type of activity and environment
  • the suitability of the paddle-craft for the participants
  • considerations for determining supervision requirements in Core GPG.

7.4.3.1 Sledding supervision

The following table outlines the recommended supervision that should be used when sledding.

Notes:

  • *= excludes guide/instructor craft
  • For considerations relating to minors refer to Core GPG regarding child safety and supervision requirements when related to responsible persons.

7.4.3.2 Stand Up paddleboards’ supervision

The following table outlines the recommended supervision that should be used when stand up paddleboarding.

Notes:

  • *= excludes guide/instructor craft
  • For considerations relating to minors refer to Core GPG regarding child safety and supervision requirements when related to responsible persons.
7.5 Supervision and management during the activity

7.5.1 Management of activities

A procedure must be in place to monitor the weather and waterway conditions.

A procedure should be in place to monitor relevant weather forecasts and warnings, including flood and flash flood warnings where possible.

Procedures must be used to limit the number of craft either moving through a rapid or through the crux point of a rapid to ensure an effective emergency response can be implemented if needed.

Procedures must be used to limit the group becoming too spread out.

Appropriate access (entry points) and exit points must be used.

Appropriate manual handling procedures must be used when handling heavy equipment.

Dynamic risk assessment(s) must be used to consider the following hazards and risks:

  • loose rope/tape or loops that could cause entanglement or entrapment
  • wind strength and direction that could affect the crafts performance
  • changes in waterway levels
  • changes in water levels affecting the river hazards
  • new or changed in river hazards
  • ongoing correct operation of the paddle-craft
  • loose items are properly stowed and secured.

7.5.2 Activity leader familiarity of the waterway

The risk assessment must identify the activity leader familiarity with the waterway requirements.

Considerations when identifying the activity leader familiarity with the waterway requirements must include:

  • the type of site
  • the river Grade involved
  • local hazards and risks
  • the ability to use procedures to manage hazards (e.g. easily identifiable, can pull out and scout rapids etc.)
  • knowledge and ease of identifying access, exit and emergency access points throughout the activity
  • the potential for hazards and risks changing based on differing water levels
  • the ratio of activity guides with familiarity of the waterway to activity guides who are not
  • the varying level of experience and competence of the activity leaders.

Raft trip leaders must be familiar with the specific waterway being used.

Raft guides should be familiar with the specific waterway for Grade 4 and/or 5.

7.5.2.1 Activity leader experience

The experience of activity leader(s) should be confirmed as being suitable for the activity context.

7.5.3 Aquatic hazards

Considerations when assessing the aquatic hazards and risks must include but is not limited to:

  • river hazards including those at the current location and those downstream
  • use of appropriate routes to address entrapment hazards and risks
  • ability of participants
  • the speed of the water
  • level of aeration of the water and the buoyancy available
  • the depth of the water including being too shallow or too deep
  • the possibility of the occupants becoming separated from the craft
  • the effect of the craft taking on water
  • the techniques needed to remove water
  • the techniques needed for the occupants to re-enter the craft
  • the easy by which the occupants can re-enter the craft
  • the ability to locate activity leaders in a position to use rescue techniques.

7.5.4 Activity briefing

Before undertaking an activity, the information and requirements to be communicated may include but are not limited to:

  • correct fitting of lifejackets
  • when lifejackets are to be worn
  • correct fitting of helmets where necessary
  • footwear requirements
  • storage of personal medication
  • securing glasses or sunglasses
  • relevant personal thermal protection requirements
  • other essential equipment and clothing requirements
  • correct procedure(s) in the event of a capsize or falling out of the craft
  • suitable information and instruction on hazard avoidance including but not limited to:
    • ways to recognise hazards where appropriate
    • hazard avoidance techniques (e.g. ‘white-water float position’ and ‘active swimming’)
    • rescue techniques including self-rescue
  • the correct handling and navigation of the craft
  • relevant crew communication within the craft
  • the group management process including but not limited to:
    • group conduct
    • spacing where relevant
    • relevant communication between craft
    • methods and signals to communicate over longer distances or noisy environments
  • any relevant methods of waterproofing equipment
  • any requirements relating to associated activities such as swimming and/or
  • diving, jumping, swinging or sliding into water
  • relevant other safety and communication equipment details.

7.5.5 Associated activities

Procedures must address the hazards and risks associated with:

  • swimming when it occurs while not using a paddle-craft
  • jumping, diving, sliding or swinging into water.

Considerations on the use of buoyancy aids during swimming, jumping, sliding or swinging into water must include but is not limited to:

  • the water hazards that pose a risk of drowning
  • the level of aeration of the water
  • the buoyancy properties of the water (e.g. fresh water, salty water)
  • the amount of buoyancy clothing worn provides
  • the likelihood of being in water for a long time
  • the likelihood of being washed downstream
  • the swimming ability of participants
  • the length of the journey and environmental conditions effect on participants ability to swim
  • if needed as a means of helping people out of water
  • if provides padding to protect from other injury (e.g. during slides).

7.5.5.1 Diving

Diving into water should be avoided.

7.5.5.2 Swimming while not using a paddle-craft

Refer Appendix 6 for considerations regarding swimming while not using paddle-craft.

7.5.5.3 Jumping, sliding or swinging into water

Refer Appendix 7 for considerations regarding jumping, sliding or swinging into water.

Also refer to the Core Good Practice Guide – Recognition of competencies. [link]


Glossary

Glossary

Also refer to terms and definitions in Core GPG.

AAAS: Australian Adventure Activity Standard – See Preface for details.

Aeration: mixing of air and water to form bubbles and froth. The level of aeration of water effects the amount of buoyancy the water provides to a swimmer or watercraft. Paddling in white-water that involves higher levels of water aeration may indicate the need for wearing lifejackets with higher levels of buoyancy.

Camping: the use of a temporary site for overnight camping.

Coastal Waters (Also known as open water, unprotected): All waters other than inland waters or enclosed waters and extending a specific number of nautical miles seaward. Refer to the relevant marine safety agency for the jurisdiction of operation for details. (Jurisdictions define the coastal waters number of nautical miles seaward differently but generally this is between 2 and 3 nautical miles.)

Enclosed waters (also known as partially smooth, semi-­protected, intermediate and sheltered.): waters that include enclosed coastal bays, harbours, declared port waters and similar waters that are generally offer some form of limited protection from the environment or weather. Enclosed waters can be the interface between inland waters and/or coastal waters. The relevant marine safety agency for the jurisdiction of operation will generally declare what areas are considered enclosed waters. Refer to the relevant marine safety agency for details.

Flash Flooding: is flooding in a localised area with a rapid onset.

Flat-water: a waterway or body of water that is not white-water.

GPGs: Good Practice Guide(s) – See Preface for details.

Grade: an indication of the degree of difficulty of a rapid and/or waterway based on the international river grading system. (Refer Appendix 1).

Inland waters (Also known as smooth waters, protected waters or inland waterways): waters that include rivers (inside the seaward entrance), creeks, canals, lakes, reservoirs and any similar waters either naturally formed or man­made and which are either publicly or privately owned, but does not include any navigable rivers, creeks or streams within declared port waters. Refer to the relevant marine safety agency for the jurisdiction of operation for details of declared port waters.

Inline paddle-craft: paddle-craft designed so that all persons on-­board are positioned one behind the other. For example, two person canoes, kayaks, inflatable kayaks etc.

Land manager: the organisation or owner with jurisdiction over the waterway the activity is conducted. Note that is may differ from the marine safety agency. The requirements of both the ‘land manager’ and the marine safety agency need to be considered.

Lifejacket: a worn device that provides the wearer with additional buoyancy in water. (Also known as Personal floatation device (PFD))

Marine safety agency: the statutory organisation that regulates the safety of watercraft and their operations, in the jurisdiction the activity is conducted.

Nautical Mile: a nautical mile (M) is a unit of distance equal to 1,852 metres (1.852km).

Open waters: All waters that are not coastal waters, inland waters or enclosed waters.

Paddle-craft: a type of watercraft propelled and manoeuvred by the user.

Personal floatation device (PFD): See lifejacket. (Note that in Australian, the Australian Standard AS4758.1:2015 no longer uses the term PFD).

Personal thermal protection: clothing worn to mitigate the effects of the temperature of the environment.

Rapid(s): part of a waterway where the geological features cause increased water speed, turbulence and/or other hydrological feature(s).

River hazard(s): a hazard created by a watercourse’s geology and flora, the water within it or a combination of both. Common river hazards include but is not limited to: level of aeration of the water, drops, entrapment points, fast flowing water, floating objects, undercut rocks, re-­circulations, rapids, sieves, strainers, submerged objects etc.

Safety boat: a watercraft operated by a safety boater that has been specifically designated to providing safety coverage during an activity. For example, a safety kayaker using a white-water kayak providing on-­river safety coverage during a raft trip, a rescue boat used to assist canoe activities on a lake etc.

Safety boater: an activity leader who has the additional skills, knowledge and experience necessary to provide safety support from a safety boat. (Refer safety boat for examples.)

Sea kayaking: involves paddling a paddle-craft on waters that are not inland waters.

Self-­guide raft: a raft guided by a participant, with the activity leader in a separate watercraft.

Tab handhold: a short length of permanently fixed tape that is just long enough to hang onto and create a handhold. Permanently attached to the underside of a raft or inflatable kayak, they are used as a handhold to help a person to climb onto of the upside-down craft. As the tab does not form a loop, it flows through the water and does not become an entrapment hazard or potential snag.

White-water: a section of a waterway where the water current or tidal movement is sufficient to create hydrological feature(s). Hydrological feature(s) may include but not limited to rapids, eddies, waves, whirlpools etc.

Also refer to the Core Good Practice Guide – Glossary.


Appendices

Appendix 1 River Grading based on the International River Grading System

Grade 1:

Slow to medium flowing water. Rapids are small to regular waves. Relatively few obstacles with the passage clear and easy to recognise and negotiate.

Grade 2:

Rapids with regular medium sized waves (less than 1 m), low ledges or drops, easy eddies and gradual bends. The passage is easy to recognise from the water and is often indicated by well-­defined chutes or ‘V’s of water. Passage is generally unobstructed although there may be some obstacles that require manoeuvring around.

Grade 3:

Rapids with fairly high waves (1-­2 m) that can be irregular. Strong currents with broken water, small to medium sized stoppers, strong eddies, exposed rocks and small falls. The passage may be difficult to recognise from on the river and inspection from the bank may be required. Manoeuvring to negotiate the obstacles is required.

Grade 4:

Difficult rapids with high, powerful, irregular waves. Powerful confused currents and broken water, often with boiling eddies, large or strong stoppers, ledges, big drops and dangerous exposed rocks. Precise, fast and/or sequential manoeuvring is required. The passage is often difficult to recognise and inspection from the bank is preferable.

Grade 5:

Very difficult rapids with confused and broken water, large and sometimes unavoidable drops, violent and fast currents that might be unpredictable, abrupt turns, difficult powerful stoppers and fast boiling eddies. Numerous obstacles in the main current and eddies may be small, turbulent and scarce. Complex, precise, fast and/or powerful sequential manoeuvring is required. A buoyancy vest equipped swimmer risks injury.

Detailed inspection from the bank is normally required. This is the highest Grade for rafting with dependent participants.

Grade 6:

All previous difficulties for Grade 5 increased to the limit of practicability. Nearly impossible, very dangerous and cannot be attempted without a definite risk of life.

Appendix 2 Equipment standards

Relevant equipment standards (or the equivalent) that must be considered:

A2.1 Helmets

EN 1385:2012 Helmets for canoeing and white water sports

Considerations for helmets must include but is not limited to:

  • provide ample protection to the head from impacts
  • have a good system to absorb the shock from impacts
  • be adjustable to provide a good fit and remain comfortable
  • have an effective fastener to secure the helmet in place
  • have enough positive buoyancy to float
  • be made of a suitable, strong, lightweight material.

A2.2 Lifejackets

The marine safety agency lifejacket standards or specifications for the jurisdiction of the activity must be complied with.

Considerations for lifejackets used for paddle-craft must include but is not limited to:

  • the appropriate type, features and level is used for the activity
  • provides sufficient additional buoyancy for the type of water environment
  • does not restrict essential movement or ability to exit the paddle-craft if required
  • the design allows the wearer to use the ‘white-water float position’ and swim both offensively and defensively.

Lifejacket level 100+ (formerly known as Type 1)

Relevant standards for Lifejacket level 100+ (formerly known as Type 1):

  • Australian Standard AS 4758.1:2015 Lifejackets General requirements
  • any standard or specifications approved by the marine safety agency for the jurisdiction of the activity
  • where approved by a “recognised appraiser” (see A2.2.2 below):
    • International Standard ISO 12402-2 Personal flotation devices Part 2: Lifejackets, performance level 275 – Safety requirements
    • International Standard ISO 12402-3 Personal flotation devices Part 3: Lifejackets, performance level 150 – Safety requirements
    • International Standard ISO 12402-4 Personal flotation devices Part 4: Lifejackets, performance level 100 – Safety requirements
    • New Zealand Standards NZS 5823:2005 Specification for buoyancy aids and marine safety harnesses and lines

Lifejacket level 50 and 50S (formerly known as Type 2 and Type 3)

Relevant standards for Lifejacket level 50 (formerly known as Type 2) and Lifejacket level 50S (formerly known as Type 3):

  • Australian Standard AS 4758.1:2015 Lifejackets General requirements
  • any standard or specifications approved by the marine safety agency for the jurisdiction of the activity
  • where approved by a “recognised appraiser” (see A2.2.2 below): International Standard ISO 12402-5 Personal flotation devices Part 5: Buoyancy aids (level 50) – Safety requirements

A2.2.1 Inflatable lifejackets

It is strongly recommended that inflatable lifejacket designs (i.e. automatic or manual inflating lifejackets) are NOT used with paddle-craft.

A2.2.2 Recognised appraiser

A “recognised appraiser” may include:

  • a certifying body accredited by the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS–ANZ), or
  • a laboratory with National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accreditation, or
  • a notified body in accordance with the European Union Maritime Equipment Directive, Module B (MED–B), or
  • a body approved by marine safety agency.

A2.3 Rafts and inflatable kayaks

ISO 6185-1 Inflatable boats —Part 1: Boats with a maximum motor power rating of 4.5 kW

A2.4 Other types of craft

All other craft: Where there is no craft design standard the craft needs to appropriate for the activity and conditions. Guidance as to what are the key requirements for various types of craft can be found at Paddle Australia website. See https://paddle.org.au/education-safety/safety-guidelines-v2/#Equipment

For inflatable kayaks refer to raft and inflatable kayak standards above.

A2.5 Items requiring an appropriate safe working load

Some equipment may be placed under load during rescues and recoveries. Equipment that is placed under load needs to designed and manufactured to work under load and have an appropriate safe working load (SWL) to avoid it failing during a critical task or creating other risks (e.g. injuring users). Additional details regard SWL and equipment requirements for equipment working under load can be found in the Abseiling and Climbing Good Practice Guide. Equipment requiring an appropriate SWL may include:

  • accessory cord
  • braking devices
  • carabiners or other connectors
  • descending devices
  • lanyards
  • rope clamps
  • rope – dynamic or static
  • pulleys
  • slings, tape or webbing.
Appendix 3 Equipment

A3.1 Paddles

Considerations for all types of paddle-craft should include but is not limited to:

  • appropriate for the type of craft
  • appropriate to the build and skill levels of the participants
  • the paddle will float if lost overboard.

A3.2 Paddle-craft related

Additional paddle-craft equipment may include but is not limited to:

  • spray decks when applicable
  • suitable spare paddles
  • suitable inflation pump(s) for inflatable paddle-craft
  • where appropriate a suitable means of securing craft to prevent it floating away.

A3.3 Emergency response equipment

Emergency equipment must include:

  • appropriate rescue equipment (see 6.1.7 Rescue equipment requirements)
  • an appropriate communication device (see Core GPG – Equipment/Communication equipment and communication equipment list below)
  • first aid kit (see Core GPG – Equipment/First aid equipment and medication) in waterproof storage
  • documentation (see Core GPG – Emergency management planning and Activity leader required documentation)
  • a waterproof method of storing and carrying documentation and communications equipment.

Additional emergency equipment may include but is not limited to:

  • waterproof matches
  • fuel stove and associated equipment for heating water and/or food
  • shelter for injured person (e.g. small tent, bivvy bag, tarp or space blanket)
  • insulated mat
  • sleeping bag.

A3.4 Navigation equipment

Navigation equipment may include but is not limited to:

  • compass
  • GPS
  • appropriate maps
  • spare batteries for GPS.

A3.5 Communication equipment

Communications equipment may include but is not limited to:

  • emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB)
  • flares
  • light source (e.g. torch, strobe light, chemical light stick)
  • mobile phone
  • personal locator beacon (PLB)
  • satellite phone/communicator
  • signalling mirror
  • two-way radio (marine or UHF as appropriate)
  • whistles appropriate to water environment.

A3.6 Repair kit

Repair equipment may include but is not limited to:

  • duct tape
  • inflatable paddle-craft material repair kit
  • paddle repair kit
  • spare fittings (e.g. valve, plug or bung)
  • tools appropriate to assist repairs.

A3.7 Personal items

Personal items may include but is not limited to:

  • contact lens or glasses
  • drink bottle
  • lip balm
  • medication
  • personal hygiene products
  • sun glasses
  • sun screen.

A3.8 Clothing

Clothing may include but is not limited to:

  • appropriate footwear
  • personal thermal protection clothing (e.g. wetsuits, dry suits, thermal underwear, fleece, beanies etc.)
  • sun hats
  • sun protection clothing (e.g. ‘rash’ shirts, long sleeve shirts, board shorts, long pants etc.)
  • wind protection clothing (e.g. spray jacket, rain jacket etc.).

A3.9 Other

An appropriate supply of drinking water must be available.

Other items may include:

  • food related equipment (e.g. storage, preparation, cooking, serving and cleaning)
  • hygiene related equipment (e.g. hand wash system etc.)
  • toileting and personal hygiene systems and products (e.g. toileting removal or disposal system, personal hygiene product removal or disposal system etc.)
  • waste (e.g. rubbish, food waste etc.) removal system
  • camping related equipment (refer Camping GPG).
Appendix 4 Weather information

The Bureau of Meteorology also provides a range of services. For details refer to:

http://www.bom.gov.au/weather-services/WeatherGuideLand.pdf

http://www.bom.gov.au/weather-services/WeatherGuideMarine.pdf

The following table details the:

  • current Australian weather warnings
  • associated possible weather for each warning
  • mainland warning trigger points for issuing warnings for strong winds and hail.

Bureau of Meteorology weather warnings and associated weather Table:

Appendix 5 Marine safety terminology for waters throughout Australia

Marine safety agencies throughout Australia use a range of terms that define the type of water that paddling might occur on. The following is a list of terminology (as at August 2017).

A5.1 Terminology used by jurisdiction

A5.2 Terminology used in this document

Coastal Waters (Also known as open water, unprotected): All waters other than inland waters or enclosed waters and extending a specific number of nautical miles seaward. Refer to the relevant marine safety agency for the jurisdiction of operation for details. (Jurisdictions define the coastal waters number of nautical miles seaward differently but generally this is between 2 and 3 nautical miles.)

Inland waters (Also known as smooth waters, protected waters or inland waterways): waters that include rivers (inside the seaward entrance), creeks, canals, lakes, reservoirs and any similar waters either naturally formed or man-made and which are either publicly or privately owned, but does not include any navigable rivers, creeks or streams within declared port waters. Refer to the relevant marine safety agency for the jurisdiction of operation for details of declared port waters.

Enclosed waters (also known as partially smooth, semi-protected, intermediate and sheltered.): waters that include enclosed coastal bays, harbours, declared port waters and similar waters that are generally offer some form of limited protection from the environment or weather. Enclosed waters can be the interface between inland waters and/or coastal waters. The relevant marine safety agency for the jurisdiction of operation will generally declare what areas are considered enclosed waters. Refer to the relevant marine safety agency for details.

Open waters: All waters that are not coastal waters, inland waters or enclosed waters.

Appendix 6 Swimming while not using a paddle-craft

Procedures must address risks associated with swimming while not using a paddle-craft (e.g. swimming at breaks etc.).

Appropriate assessment by a suitably competent person must be undertaken of the swimming area.

Considerations when assessing swimming areas must include but is not limited to:

  • the suitability of the swimming location
  • river hazards including those at the current activity location and downstream
  • the length of the swim
  • swimming ability of participants
  • the speed of the water
  • the level of aeration of the water and the buoyancy available
  • the depth of the water including being too shallow or too deep
  • the riverbed including its stability and grip
  • buoyancy aids available or required
  • relevant environmental conditions
  • the spacing between and the progress of participants.

Instruction on how to avoid any river hazards must be provided.

Swimming activity management considerations should include but is not limited to:

  • appropriate assessment of the activity
  • matching the activities to the participants abilities
  • using appropriate locations to address entrapment hazards and risks
  • swimming competence being checked prior to commencing the activity
  • appropriate supervise can be provided were necessary
  • appropriate intervention can be used where needed
  • direct supervision of difficult exit points or where exiting at that point is integral to avoiding hazard(s)
  • identifying when buoyancy aids need to be used
  • providing suitable information and instruction on hazard avoidance including but not limited to:
    • ways to recognise hazards where appropriate
    • hazard avoidance techniques such as ‘white-water float position’ and ‘active swimming’.
Appendix 7 Jumping, sliding or swinging into water

Procedures must address risks associated with jumping, sliding or swinging into water (e.g. jumping from watercraft, jumping from rocks during breaks etc.)

Procedures to assess the suitability and safety of water jumps, slides or swings must be used.

Appropriate assessment by a suitably competent person must be undertaken of the ‘take-off area’ and ‘fall area’ prior to jumps, slides or swings.

Considerations when assessing the take-off area must include but not limited to:

  • difficulty and exposure of access routes
  • exposure to potential falls from height
  • the features of the take-off areas
  • accidental falling outside of the fall area
  • potential for unexpected or uncontrolled take-offs or landings
  • the hazards and obstacles on route between the take-off area and fall area
  • the horizontal travel distance of the fall area from the take-off position
  • the safety of the swing material
  • the spacing between and the progress of participants so they do not cause each other to fall and/or land on others in the fall area.

Considerations when assessing the fall area must include but not limited to:

  • depth of the water in the fall area
  • obstacles and river hazards in the fall area
  • the depth of and obstacles within the fall area
  • level of aeration of the water
  • the fall height
  • impact forces on entering water
  • the speed of the water
  • is fast flowing water flowing into downstream river hazards
  • clarity of water to see if obstacles are present
  • potential for floating objects to move into the fall area.

Instruction on how to avoid any river hazards must be provided.

Jumping, sliding or swinging activity management considerations should include but is not limited to:

  • appropriate assessment of the activity
  • clarity of the water to view the person while they are under water
  • participant management ensures they do not interfere with each other’s stability in access and take-off areas
  • the fall zone is clear of other people before each person jumps
  • difficult access, take-offs and/or landings have direct supervision
  • actively managing jumps into difficult fall zones including but not limited to positioning an activity leader at the bottom to indicate the required fall zone and/or mark a hazard
  • using buoyancy aids for particularly high jumps
  • suitable instruction in take-off and landing positions including body, head and limb positions
  • providing a suitable alternative where relevant, such as a lower jump
  • use of appropriate padding as protection when sliding.
Appendix 8 Leader competencies

A8.1 Canoeing

To be read together with the 7.2.1 Competencies overview and 7.2.2 Competencies above and the sections in Core GPG – Competencies and Recognition of competence.

The following table outlines the recommended competencies activity leaders should have when leading canoeing:

Notes:

  • *= Would only occur in training situations
  • An “instructor” has the competence to instruct participants so that they may undertake the activity independently without supervision or with minimal supervision.
  • This differs from a “guide” and ‘general instruction’ that might be given to enable the participant to do the activity but only under direct supervision of an activity leader.

A8.2 Kayaking

To be read together with the 7.2.1 Competencies overview and 7.2.2 Competencies above and the sections in Core GPG – Competencies and Recognition of competence.

The following table outlines the recommended competencies activity leaders should have when leading kayaking:

Notes:

  • *= Would only occur in training situations
  • An “instructor” has the competence to instruct participants so that they may undertake the activity independently without supervision or with minimal supervision.
  • This differs from a “guide” and ‘general instruction’ that might be given to enable the participant to do the activity but only under direct supervision of an activity leader.

A8.3 Rafting

To be read together with the 7.2.1 Competencies overview and 7.2.2 Competencies above and the sections in Core GPG – Competencies and Recognition of competence.

The following table outlines the recommended competencies activity leaders should have when leading rafting:

Notes:

  • An “instructor” has the competence to instruct participants so that they may undertake the activity independently without supervision or with minimal supervision.
  • This differs from a “guide” and ‘general instruction’ that might be given to enable the participant to do the activity but only under direct supervision of an activity leader.

A8.4 Other types of paddle-craft

The paddle-craft used may not be a canoe, kayak or raft.

If paddle-craft other a canoe, kayak or raft are used, activity leaders must be competent:

  • in the use of the paddle-craft been used
  • in the required practices in guiding and/or instructing an activity using that type of paddle-craft
  • in operating in the environment and waterway being used.

The competencies for activity leaders described for whichever activity – canoe, kayak or rafting – listed above, is closest to the type of paddle-craft being used should be used in considering the appropriate competencies needed.

(Note: At the time of developing this GPG there were no publicly available stand up paddleboarding competencies to reference. These are currently under development and will be available via the training.gov.au website in due course.)