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Outdoor Education - Canoeing

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Secondary - Curricular 2017

Single day trips which travel within 2 hours from the arrival of emergency medical assistance.

For single day trips which travel more than 2 hours from the arrival of emergency medical assistance, consult the Outdoor Education – Canoe Tripping page.

Consult the Outdoor Education – Canoeing Moving Water page for canoeing through Class I or Class II rivers.

White Water Canoeing, White Water Kayaking, and White Water Rafting are not appropriate activities at the secondary level.

Consult the Outdoor Education - General Procedures page.

When using an outside provider, prior to the activity taking place this activity page must be presented to the outside provider who must meet the minimum requirements listed on this page. For more information on planning trips using outside providers, consult Appendix N - Outside Activity Providers.

Definitions:

Teacher – A person with a current certification from the Ontario College of Teachers, under contract by the school/board. This person is legally responsible for the students.

Trip Guide – An individual who has the required certifications and/or knowledge/skills of the route and activity. This role could be fulfilled by a teacher, a parent/guardian/volunteer or an employee of an outside provider, and must be approved by the school/board.

Lifeguard - An individual who is at least 18 years of age; who has the required certification; and who is responsible for the overseeing of swimmer safety.

Instructor – An individual who provides instruction on skills and possesses the required certifications. This role could be fulfilled by a teacher, parent/guardian/volunteer or an employee of an outside provider.

Parent/guardian/volunteer – An adult who has been approved by the principal and has been instructed on responsibilities (e.g., monitoring [supervision]).

Supervisor – A supervisor is a teacher, parent/guardian/volunteer or trip guide. This term is used only in relation to supervision ratios.

Outside provider – An outside facility contracted by the school/board to provide activity services.

Equipment

Determine that all necessary equipment is included and is safe for use prior to departing on the excursion.

A fully stocked first aid kit appropriate for the number of participants must be readily accessible and waterproofed (consult Appendix D - Sample First Aid Kit).

A working communication device (e.g., satellite or cell phone, or satellite GPS messenger) suitable for the activities/locations must be available. This device must be maintained, waterproofed, protected and dedicated for emergency communications only.

Paddles and canoes must be checked for cracks, splinters and leaks. One paddle per person. In case of a broken paddle, ensure there are replacement paddles available.

The loading of a canoe with people and/or gear must not exceed the manufacturer’s load capacity rating.

Comply with the Minimum Safety Equipment Requirements in Transport Canada's Safe Boating Guide.

Correctly fitting and Transport Canada approved PFD/lifejackets, with whistle attached, must be worn and properly fastened at all times when approaching and when on the water.

Clothing/Footwear

Determine that all necessary clothing and footwear are included prior to departing on the excursion.

Clothing (in layers where appropriate) and footwear (i.e. closed-toed shoes that provide traction when on land) appropriate for the activity, location and environmental conditions must be worn.

Rain gear and/or a dry change of clothing kept in a watertight bag/container must be accessible.

Facilities

Check with local authorities for current information regarding route safety.

Water conditions must be appropriate for the skill level of the group.

Special Rules/Instructions

Be aware of students whose medical condition (e.g., anaphylaxis, asthma, casts, previous concussion, orthopaedic device) may affect participation (consult the Generic Section).

Prior to participation students must receive training or information on concussion prevention and awareness specific to the activity, information on the possible risks of the activity and procedures and rules for safe play. Students must not participate in the activity until these instructions have been received.

Activities must be based on skills taught.

The teacher and instructor must both take into consideration participants’ previous/experience with canoeing skills and fitness level and the length of time and intensity of physical activity.

Communication To Parents

Where the activity takes students off school property, parents/guardians must be made aware of the location and means of transportation used.

The potential risks involved with canoeing must be communicated to parents/guardians.

A consent form must be completed, signed and returned, giving permission for the student to participate in a swim test and in canoeing.

To participate in canoeing activities students must pass a swim test.

Students must complete the following swim test in its entirety, in sequence and without any stops, with or without a PFD:

  • Rolling entry (backwards or forward) into deep water at 2.75m (9’) minimum depth
  • Tread water for 1 minute
  • Swim 50m (164’) continuously any stroke

Swim Test

Prior to canoeing, students must successfully complete the following swim test in its entirety, in sequence, with or without a PFD:

  • Rolling entry (backwards or forward) into deep water at 2.75m (9’) minimum depth
  • Tread water for 1 minute
  • Swim 50m (164’) continuously any stroke.

The test must be administered by a certified swimming instructor/lifeguard (Note: this test is based on the Lifesaving Society’s Swim to SurviveTM Standard).

The swim test must be completed within the school year in which the activity is taking place.

In lieu of completing the swim test, students may provide proof of their swimming ability with a Bronze Medallion certification or higher.

Instructor and outside provider must be made must be aware of the swim test results (e.g. students who passed the swim test either wearing PFDs or not wearing PFDs).

When a group includes students who passed the swim test wearing a PFD, the instructor must provide introductory instruction, and an overall experience commensurate with the skills and ability of the group. For example, the instructor must take into consideration:

  • the distance from shore;
  • the depth of water;
  • wind conditions; and
  • distance to assistance if required.

Students who passed the swim test wearing a PFD must wear a PFD (a lifejacket is recommended) when on a dock, or when at a shoreline where the depth of the water is deemed a risk.

Students who do not pass the swim test (without a PFD), or who have been identified as non-swimmers, may be permitted to canoe if they successfully complete the swim test while wearing a PFD.

Canoeing Skills

Skills must be taught in proper progression.

Prior to canoeing, a prerequisite test must occur in a pool, shallow water, or sheltered bay for which students must demonstrate to the instructor competence in canoeing skills as follows:

  • Lifts and carries
  • Launching a canoe
  • Proper entry/exit from canoe
  • Positioning of paddlers and gear where relevant (e.g. day trips): trimming of the canoe
  • Synchronized strokes

Manoeuvres and strokes to be completed:

  • Pivot 360 degrees in both directions
  • Draw and pry stokes
  • Sweep stroke
  • Forward and reverse stroke
  • Stopping
  • Paddling forward in a straight line
  • Sideslip
  • Circles in both directions, to an approximate radius of 10 metres
  • Landings (shore and dock)
  • Stern draw and stern pry strokes

Prior to canoeing, students must demonstrate to the instructor an understanding of:

  • J-strokes
  • Canoe over canoe rescue procedures
  • Self-rescues into dry and/or swamped canoes

Environmental Considerations

The instructor must take into consideration:

  • environmental conditions (e.g., air and water temperature, weather forecasts – especially wind conditions and potential for thunderstorms or fog conditions, air quality, humidity, UV index, insects);
  • water conditions (e.g., temperature, currents, undertows, tides and wave conditions);
  • accessibility to adequate liquid replacement (personal water bottles, water fountains) and student hydration before, during and after physical activity;
  • participants’ previous experience with canoeing skills, and fitness leve;
  • distance from base camp and emergency medical services;
  • length of time and intensity of physical activity; and
  • the visibility (500m (1640’) is required).

The instructor and teacher must cancel, postpone or alter the excursion if the conditions put students’ safety at an elevated level of risk (e.g. wind, temperature, lightning storms, fog).

If inclement weather suddenly approaches, leave the water immediately.

Daylight canoeing only except under emergency situations.

Navigation lights (e.g., waterproof flashlight) are required if operating at night or in restricted visibility.

Students must be made aware of ways to protect themselves from environmental conditions (e.g. use of hats, sunscreen, sunglasses, personal water bottles, insect repellent, appropriate clothing).

Students must receive instruction on safety procedures related to severe weather conditions (e.g., lighting, funnel clouds, severe winds, tornadoes [consult Appendix F - Lighting Protocol]).

Supervision

On-site supervision is required.

Supervision Ratios

(A supervisor is a teacher, parent/guardian/volunteer or trip guide. This term is used only in relation to supervision ratios.)

1 supervisor per 8 students

When the number of students who passed the swim test wearing a PFD in a group is more than four, an additional lifeguard with a minimum of a current Bronze Cross (within 24 months of the certification date) must be added. Teachers/outside providers should also consider increasing the number of supervisors.

Instructor Qualifications

For an Ontario Camping Association (OCA) member waterfront setting (e.g., local pond or lake in a sheltered, confined spot), the minimum ORCKA qualification is Camp Canoeing Instructor.

For all situations beyond the training of the Camp Canoeing Instructor, non-OCA member sites and for flatwater canoeing in a non-wilderness environment, there must be one instructor with a minimum of one of the following current qualifications:

  • ORCKA Basic Canoeing Instructor
  • ORCKA Canadian Style Paddling Instructor
  • ORCKA Day Trip Leader
  • ORCKA Moving Water Instructor
  • ORCKA River Running Instructor
  • ORCKA Canoe Tripping Level 3
  • Paddle Canada Waterfront Canoe Instructor
  • Paddle Canada Intermediate Lake Skills
  • Paddle Canada Introductory Lake Skills
  • Paddle Canada Advanced Lake Skills – Solo
  • Paddle Canada Advanced Tripping Skills
  • Paddle Canada Advanced Moving Water (both tandem & solo)
  • Paddle Canada Advanced Tripping Skills + Wilderness Advanced First Aid + CPR + 1000 km experience
  • Paddle Canada Advanced Tripping Skills + Wilderness First Aid + CPR + 500 km experience
  • Paddle Canada Waterfront Canoe Instructor

Lifeguard Qualifications

A teacher, trip guide or instructor over the age of 18 must have a minimum of a current Bronze Cross (within 24 months of the certification date).

Supervision for the Swim Test

There must be a minimum of two certified swimming instructors/lifeguards on deck or in the pool.

Supervision ratio is 2 instructor per 50 students, with both instructors/lifeguards certified as outlined below.

In situations where there are 51-75 students, an additional certified instructor or lifeguard (NL) is required. The instructor requires the same certification as listed below.

Instructor Qualifications for the Swim Test

One swimming instructor must hold one of the following current certifications:

  • National Lifeguard Certificate (NL) OR
  • Standard First Aid Certificate (e.g., Red Cross, Lifesaving Society, St. John Ambulance, Canadian Ski Patrol)

All other swimming instructors must hold one of the following current certifications:

  • Canadian Red Cross Water Safety Instructor Award
  • Lifesaving Society Instructor Certificate plus an Assistant Lifeguard Certificate
  • Lifesaving Society Swim Instructor Certificate plus an Assistant Lifeguard Certificate
  • YMCA Instructor Certificate
  • Ontario Teachers Aquatic Standard (OTAS) - for pool situations only
  • National Lifeguard Certificate (NL)

Verified copies of certification must be available in the pool area.

First Aid and Emergency Action Plan

At least one teacher, trip guide, instructor or supervisor must have a current Standard First Aid with CPR Level C first aid certification.

Follow the school’s emergency action plan including accessibility to a vehicle for transportation of a student to hospital (consult Appendix E - Emergency Action Plan).

Safety Craft

If instruction is taking place in a pool, no safety craft is required.

A safety craft is a designated craft that is rescue-capable, taking into consideration necessary factors (e.g., distance from shore, weather, water and wind conditions), and contains at least one instructor, trip guide or individual who meets the first aid certification.

A safety craft must be in the water and accessible while students are canoeing. The safety craft need not be motorized. If the safety craft is a motorized craft then the operator of the motorized safety craft must have a Pleasure Craft Operator Card. The operator of the safety craft, whether craft is motorized or not, must have experience in navigating the craft.

Also see Generic Section to view complete safety requirements.