Do and Don'ts for Club Trips


DO CALL THE TRIP COORDINATOR AT LEAST THREE (3) DAYS BEFORE THE TRIP. Times, meeting places, and logistics may change. Help the trip coordinator's planning by calling early. A trip may be canceled by the trip coordinator on the Friday before the scheduled trip if he or she feels that the number of people who have called and plan to participate is insufficient.

DO WEAR A LIFE JACKET (PFD) AT ALL TIMES WHEN IN THE BOAT. This is a strict club rule. Each person in the boat must wear a PFD. Only vest type PFDs are acceptable, and they should be securely fastened. Floating boat cushions are not an acceptable substitute. PPCS standards are higher than the requirements of the state law.

DO wear a wetsuit or drysuit on spring trips when the water is cold. Wetsuits or drysuits are required when there is still ice in the water or the air temperature is below 45 degrees fahrenheit.

DO use a boat and equipment suitable for the trip. Canoes should have bow and stern lines 15 feet long, secured to prevent entanglement, an extra paddle, and flotation. Kayaks should have a bow line and flotation. Kayakers must wear helmets when paddling whitewater rivers, and helmets are recommended on all rivers.

DO bring a change of clothing in a waterproof bag, particularly in cool weather or when you don't wear a wetsuit or drysuit. Participants are encouraged to bring first aid kits, and also throw bags to aid in rescues.

DO bring your own lunch and drinking water, and bring a trash bag and plan to carry out whatever you carry in. Even better: plan on carrying out some extra trash, too.

DO feel free to call the trip coordinator if you want to participate but don't have a boat or you need a partner. Sometimes it is possible to match up people who are looking for paddling partners.

DO think twice about bringing a pet on a trip. We strongly recommend against it. Dogs can be a nuisance to wildlife and to other participants, and a dog could cause an accident. Dogs have drowned in canoeing accidents on Maine rivers. If you bring a dog, you are responsible for its safety and its behavior.


DO feel free to ask more experienced paddlers for advice on paddling techniques, equipment, the best line to follow through a rapids or over a drop, or whether it would be best to portage past a particular section of river. We do not guarantee expert advice, but many of us love to offer our opinions and we may be able to be helpful.

DON'T feel that you have to run a particular section of river if you feel uneasy about it. Portaging is always an option. Another option under some conditions is for you to ask a more experienced paddler to paddle your boat through a difficult section while you walk on shore, though if you do so you cannot expect the paddler to accept liability for any damage to your boat. When in doubt, discretion is the better part of valor, and it is best to live to paddle again another day.

DON'T leave loose gear in your boat. Make sure everything is tied down. Avoid having loose ropes, etc., that could entangle you in the case of a tipover. And don't overload your boat with too many people.

DON'T crowd the boat in front of you when running the river. You may interfere with their maneuverability and may cause a tipover for one or both of you. Wait for the boat in front of you to clear narrow sections before you start through.

DON'T lose sight of the boat in front of you or behind you. This is the only way to keep the group together and look out for each other's safety.

DON'T fall too far behind the group, or get too far ahead. If you get too far ahead, you might run into trouble, such as an unexpected drop or strainer, with nobody there to warn you or help you. If you get too far behind, you might get into trouble with nobody there to help, and you might slow down the rest of the group and cause unnecessary worrying about what has happened to you. Fishing during the paddling part of a trip is discouraged, since it tends to slow people down too much. Save fishing for the lunch stop. 

DO bring a positive attitude and expect to have a good time!