Sunday, August 02, 2009


While we were off gallivanting around Canada, TM was in Booth Bay getting his BCU 3 star and taking the BCU 4 star training. Because he is an excellent all around guy, TM freely shares his knowledge with the rest of the club. On our trip to Harbor of Refuge, he shared CLAP with us:

  • C - Communication

  • L - Line of sight

  • A - Avoidance (or Assessment depending on who you ask)

  • P - Position of most usefulness

They are the four things members of a group, particularly the leader (or coordinator if you prefer), need to think about.
Always keep the lines of communication in the group open. Pay attention to paddle signals and whistles. As a leader, you need to keep the group informed of the plan and any changes to the plan. As a group member, you need to communicate any issues to the leader.
Make sure you can see the other members of the group and any potential threats. As a leader, you need to be able to see the whole group. As a group member, you should also be able to see the other members of the group. You should also always be watching the surroundings.
Asses conditions to avoid endangering the group. As a leader, you need to take the entire group's skills in conditions into consideration when making decisions. Some times, the decision is between the lesser of two dangers. But your job is to keep the group as safe as possible. As a group member, you need to asses your own ability to handle conditions and also asses if your behavior could potentially endanger the group. Sometimes this means not playing in the rocks even if your not worried about personal safety.
Always attempt to be in a position to be useful to the group. In a situation, where do your skills fit the best? Should you rush in and do a rescue if you are better suited to being a tower? Which members of the group need the support of an experienced paddler? If you have a sea sick paddler, who should be in the raft and who should tow? When playing in a tidal race, where is a capsized paddler likely to get dragged? Should someone rush into the rocks to rescue a capsized paddler?

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