Transport Canada "Guided Excursion" Guidelines

Many of you are no doubt aware that in the past few years Transport Canada has been making changes to regulations for canoes and kayaks. Here is a summary of what you need to know as of 2014, with updates from March 2015 regarding guided excursions.

Safety Gear

The requirements for canoe safety gear are essentially the same however the "manual propelling device" is no longer listed. If you're a C1 or big canoe paddler take some time to check the requirements that are pertinent to your type of canoe and situation.

The Transport Canada minimum safety equipment requirements are found here.

All RCABC instructors and club members must carry the Transport Canada safety gear requirements for the trip to be sanctioned by RCABC.

Guided Excursion Guidelines (Commercial)

The "Guided Excursion" guidelines apply to canoe instructors and leaders in a commercial setting. The changes are to the interpretation of the law in the Canada Shipping Act. TC's interpretation now makes a distinction between volunteer and commercial activities, even though the actual wording of the Shipping Act law doesn't. If in doubt, follow the Non-Pleasure Craft or "Guided Excursion" guidelines as they are good practice anyway.

. Using a checklist, the guidelines lay out specific requirements for:

  • Pre-Trip Meetings
  • Emergency Contacts & Float Plan
  • Hypothermia Prevention
  • Wearing Helmets and PFDs or Lifejackets
  • First Aid Kit (check the minimum requirements)

In order for the courses to be sanctioned by RCABC these requirements must be met.

TC Guided Excursion Compliance Guide TP15204E

If you are in a canoeing leadership role, RCABC has long advocated following the principles reflected in these guidelines. The difference now (as of 2010) is that leaders are now considered Non-Pleasure Craft and regulations in the Canada Shipping Act of 2001 now apply to us and are enforceable. As you read the Compliance Guide, realize that:

  • the guidelines apply only to the lead canoe (or leaders).
  • the lead canoe(s) are considered NON-Pleasure Craft and the rest of the group are considered Pleasure Craft.
  • these guidelines are not exactly the law; they are suggestion or interpretations of the Canada Shipping Act. If you don't take them literally you must meet the intention of the law in the Canada Shipping Act of 2001.
  • the Pleasure Craft / Non-Pleasure Craft designation applies to the role of the paddler/leader, and is not boat specific. In other words whatever canoe you are using that day to lead or guide in is considered a Non-Pleasure Craft. The same canoe could be used the next day by your students and it would then be considered a Pleasure Craft.

Registration of Canoes and Kayaks

The good news is you don't have to register your canoe. There has been a bit of flip flop on this, but to Transport Canada's credit they have decided that self propelled craft do not have to be registered.


CBC Video - The Risks of Outdoor Adventure

This CBC Marketplace television show is an interesting view of risk associated with outdoor adventure. It discusses some issues such as waivers that are not well understood by many outdoor guides, instructors and adventurers. While it's not an in depth look into the outdoor adventure industry, it is worth watching!

2014 RCABC Instructor Level Courses

2014 RCABC Instructor Courses Update

The following instructor level courses are currently planned for 2014. More may become available so keep watching or contact the executive.  If you’re interested in any of the courses below please check the website for prerequisites, details and contact information.

May 20th to 25th – Lakewater Instructor course for College of the Rockies Fernie at Kikomun Creek Provincial Park. LW Instructor Trainer co-teaches or LWI Recertifications are welcome.
Instructors: Allyson Phillips, Brian Bell, Roger Warnatsch.

May 31st to June 4th – Canoe Tripping Leader or Instructor course in the Kootenays. Lake or River depending on previous training/experience.
Instructors: Allyson Phillips, Roger Warnatsch, Tom Alexander (mentoring)

June 14th (several days and evenings) – Lakewater Instructor at Buntzen Lake, Anmore, near Vancouver.
LW Instructor Trainer co-teaches or LWI Recertifications are welcome.
Instructor: Lance Castonguay

June 27th -30th  - RCABC River Rescue Level 1&2 in Quesnel. Moving Water Instructor Recertification may be possible. Co-teach for River Rescue Instructor may be possible. River Rescue participation is likely full.
Instructors: Roger Warnatsch, Allyson Phillips

Early August – Canoe Tripping Instructor or Leader on the Kootenay River. 5 days.
Instructors: Roger Warnatsch, Allyson Phillips

Fall 2014 (dates to be determined) – Lakewater Instructor in Vancouver area. No LW Instructor Trainer co-teaches.
Instructor: Carey Robson
Spring 2015 – RCABC Paddle Conference in Hope will have LW Recert and/or Instructor Trainer Clinic if there is interest. Also Capilano and College of the Rockies will have at least 3 LWI courses in the April – May period that people may be able to join in on.

Instructor Coordinator Report - March 2014

My main focus has been working on the website upgrades, but there is more going on as we quickly get approach paddling and teaching season!

I’m happy to say that Alan Thomson has been doing significant work done on the draft for the Big Canoe course upgrade. This has been talked about for years. We hope to send a draft to all Big Canoe Instructors by the end of March for their input.

I’m going to propose a few changes for our course policies, which people should think about:

  1. A website based, mandatory registration and advertising only for instructor level courses. Instructor Trainers would have to register a course, get a ‘ticket’ and would need the ticket in order to enter any new certification.
  2. A mentoring system, also assisted by our website, which would ask instructors who advertise courses on our website to choose a yes/no mentoring option. This would display whether they are open to mentoring people wishing to become instructors, or co-teaching for their instructor trainer certification.

These are just ideas at this stage and need discussion.

The IAGM at Hope will include an update on the website (unless this gets shifted to another part of the Paddle Conference) and information on the potential new insurance policy.

The main part of the IAGM will focus on discussion of ideas for upgrades to RCABC programs and policies. I will come with a number of proposed changes and ideas that I’ve gathered over the years and people will divide into workgroups and brainstorm pros/cons and we’ll record them and review them briefly.

Cheers and happy paddling!

Roger Warnatsch

Instructor Search Now Functioning

The instructor search feature is found in the "Courses" menu and is called "Find an Instructor". It allows you to search for instructors of any RCABC type in any combination of zones in BC. Note that only instructors who have chosen to advertise and are current members are searched for and displayed. If you'd like to change that preference, log in to your account in the "Members" menu.

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