Thurston Outdoor Education Centre: Paddlesport policy


  1. Introduction
  2. Venue
  3. Staffing
  4. Equipment
  5. Operating considerations

Revised: January 2022


Kayaking, Open Canoeing and Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) can be single sessions or offered as a longer option on specialist courses. These include lake sessions and possible river and / or estuary trips. BC Personal Performance awards are also available.


The venue will be decided at the morning meeting and approved by the Head of Centre or Instructor in Charge.

When our lakeshore is unsuitable other areas of Coniston Water can provide sheltered bays and calm water.

Any decision to go off Coniston Water with a group needs acknowledgement and permission from the Head of Centre or Instructor in Charge.

Multi Day or Expedition paddling will be under the remit of the Leader.


  • Ratio: The normal instructor / student ratio.
  • All sessions are lead by group leaders with appropriate National Governing Body Awards or approval of the Head of Centre or Instructor in Charge for extension of remit.


  • Wet suits should be used when an immersion is a probability in cold water.
  • Suitable footwear is essential, spares if needed are available.
  • Bailers must be carried when using rafted canoes.
  • Staff and participants will wear buoyancy aids when doing paddle sports. This includes when on the jetty and when swimming.
  • Staff should carry a knife and whistle.
  • Helmets must be worn on river trips and any other occasions the instructor in charge deem necessary.
  • SUP's Kayaks and open canoes must be well maintained - any deficiencies must be reported as per repairs procedure.
  • Any unsafe craft must be taken out of action and reported.

Operating considerations

  • The instructor will ensure that appropriate safety equipment is carried for the location, environment and conditions.
  • Care must be taken to ensure best practice in manual handling of equipment.


  • When operating near to shore appropriate equipment should be available.
  • When journeying appropriate equipment should be taken.


  • Staff should be familiar with any section of river used.


  • Normal venue is Leven Estuary.
  • Other venues by agreement with Head of Centre or deputy.
  • No use of exposed coastal / sea venues.

Open Canoe Rafting

  • Ensure the construction of the raft is suitable for the prevailing conditions.
  • Consideration must be given to the carrying capacity of each raft, taking the size and ability of group members into account.
  • When improvised sailing - it must be possible to spill wind easily.
  • Bailers must be carried.
  • A powerboat is available if required. This may be used by suitably qualified people. The 10mph lake speed limit may only be exceeded in emergencies.
  • Funboat hulls can be used as an alternative to rafted canoes.


  • Consideration must be given to the transport of and carrying capacity of each SUP.
  • Staff must hold a suitable SUP specific qualification.
  • Visual inspection of craft before each session.
  • Ensure approved inflation pressure correct before each session.
  • Careful consideration should be given to the use of helmets.
  • A leash must be worn on each board.