Sea Kayak Safety Briefing
The pre trip safety briefing is a very important lead in to any kayaking experience, providing the foundation for your group management and for the safety and enjoyable participation of clients in an activity that for many is a new and that for some will be quite challenging. Many of the practical aspects of the briefing will require further instruction and practice while on the water.
The briefing should not be compromise to satisfy timetables or client pressure to get out on the water. Keep in mind that the briefing that you give at the start of the trip may be the first and last time that clients are able to be easily given instructions in a safe easily managed environment.
The briefing should be a focused time for the clients where you have their full concentration and attention. Do not turn it into a casual, joking “she’ll be right session” or go to the other extreme when the end result is a group of scared clients. If clients have a capsize or a problem while on your trip you want the problem to be a result of them not doing as you instructed not because you have not warned them or instructed them.
This is very important if you have an incident because clients will remember whether you gave a good serious safety briefing and took their well-being seriously.
The safety briefing should be clearly establishing the following:
1. Your role as guide / trip leader and local expert on paddling conditions
2. Group paddling parameters, guide signals and trip rules
3. Basic paddling techniques
4. Use of equipment supplied by Auckland Sea Kayaks, incl steering, correct seating position and
foot pedal adjustment
5. A basic awareness of how kayaks respond / behave in different conditions
6. Understanding of the kayaks stability and how to maximise it
7. Wet exit and deep water rescue procedure
8. Expected paddling conditions and approximate route and time frame for the day
9. Confidence amongst all paddlers that they have been well prepared for the day
10. Confidence amongst all paddlers of your ability to lead the group
Guides need to recognise that for many clients English will be a second language and care needs to be taken to ensure that clients have a good understanding of your safety briefing.