Safety and mutual responsibility in races

During the season so far, a number of incidents have been drawn to the attention of the MRC relating to capsizes. These may have been through instability, or lack of skill, consideration or unnecessarily aggressive behaviour on part of other paddlers.

The MRC would like to remind all paddlers, team leaders and race organisers of the following points:

  • Rule 5 iv) All paddlers are required to render assistance to other competitors in distress. – this means checking that a paddler in the water is able to cope with the situation well enough to get out of the water.
  • Rule 5 ii) Competitors must be able to swim adequately in the waters on which the race is being held. It is hoped that team leaders ensure that their paddlers know how to manage their boats when a capsize does occur, being able to swim to a place where emptying and re-entry are possible.
  • Should a paddler accidentally cause a capsize, it is expected that an apology and offer of assistance will be made.
  • Rule 6) DISCIPLINE – final paragraphRace Organisers should note the powers in clause 2.1 of the Procedures to apply immediate discipline where members or competitors have displayed violent or unreasonable behaviour. (Marathon racing is subject to British Canoeing Marathon Racing Committee Disciplinary Regulations and to British Canoeing Disciplinary Code. See
  • Race organisers are reminded that the HRM system provides the facility for them to enter time penalties or allowances. Should a paddler delay their own race to render assistance, it would be appropriate to use this. Should evidence make it clear that a paddler has refused to assist or ignored a situation that may require assistance; organisers should take measured and appropriate action.
  • It is accepted that a young junior may not be able to offer greater assistance than a tow to the bank, or staying with the paddler while they swim, but it is expected that an adult paddler will be able to offer greater assistance particularly if the swimmer is a junior.
  • Race organisers are reminded that reference to Rule 5iv) must be included in their briefing.

It is in the interest of all paddlers that they learn to look after themselves and each other in race situations and it is also expected that team leaders ensure that this is the case.


Running a Hasler Race

Races that wish to be considered for the Hasler Series must apply via their relevant Regional Marathon Advisor, and respect the following guidelines:-


Race organisers are very strongly encouraged to use the latest Hasler Race Management software, which can be downloaded for free via the link below. You will also need the latest divisional ranking list, and may want to use the automated race finishers spreadsheet.

Finally, please read carefully the pages in this section on Insurance, Risk Assessment and the Race Levy Scheme.

Download the latest HRM Software from this webpage.


Competition Insurance (organised by British Canoeing)
Download the 2016-17 insurance schedule here: bc-insurance-16-17
Download the non-member event insurance form (previously “Day Ticket”) here


For those organising races, whether they are large national events or small club affairs, the importance of having a proper risk assessment cannot be overlooked and the committee wants to see that all race organisers have one in place in the future. This will apply particularly to any race that is listed in the published Racing Handbook calendar of events where it will now be mandatory. Whilst this alone will not eliminate true accidents from happening, it will deal with the uncertainties of how any risk or emergency should be dealt with on the day and ensure that WRITTEN evidence exists to show that the organisers have considered the potential risks beforehand, and taken, or are able to take, the appropriate action should circumstances arise.

We have attached a template of a suitable risk assessment (Document HereTemplate Here) that can be tailored for your event. This will be updated from time to time. Remember this should be specific for your race. Perhaps the most important point is that you fully consider the water and weather conditions on the day as well and REACT ACCORDINGLY. This may mean a change of course or more drastic action. An answer phone number on your race details or update on your website can be useful in cancelling an event up until the day before.


The MRC are OBVIOUSLY concerned with the effects of over zealous implementation of health and safety rules, and sometimes-questionable interpretation by those not directly involved in our sport. This has already started to have a limiting effect upon competitive racing e.g.: walking through portages. We are therefore making representations accordingly.


The organisation of Canoe Marathon Racing in the UK is funded in large part through a race levy on all entries “Class A” races (those listed in the Racing Calendar). This levy is not the same as the Day Ticket scheme, where paddlers without proof of BCU membership may use a one-off Day Ticket to enter a race. Costs of Day Tickets are paid to the BCU.

The Race Levy is £2.00 for each paddler. The race levy for all categories of races is to be remitted by the Race Organiser to the Treasurer within 7 days of the race.
Cheques should be made payable to “BCU Marathon Racing Committee” and sent to
David Enoch, 102 Bingham Road, Radcliffe-on-Trent, Nottingham NG12 2GT.

Those clubs wishing to pay the levy by electronic transfer should remit to
Barclays Bank Sort Code: 20-63-25 Account No: 73066665
Account name: BCU Marathon Racing Committee.
When making electronic transfers please also email David Enoch with the race name and amount of levy to

Race Organisers Notes for 2017

Towards the end of last season, a number of new rules concerning K2 classes were introduced. These are now incorporated into the new handbook and include the modifications to start lists. The changes to rules previously requiring combining of races also modified in July/August are incorporated too.

The most significant additional rule concerns our environmental impact and reflects a growing concern about discarded drinks containers and energy bar/gel wrappers. Organisers should be vigilant and apply the disqualification included in the rule, should there be any proven infringements. See HRM below for the note on showing disqualifications in results.

Division 4 promotions/demotions are now added to the discretionary ones made by the ranking officer in collaboration with RMAs. Team Leaders may also assist in this process.

The committee are aware that some clubs have other organisations such as schools  youth organisations or universities affiliated to them. Some of these have their own colours for competitions.  However, in order for points to be allocated to a club racing in the Hasler competition, members of these groups should be wearing the colours of the club concerned. It is recognised that for non-Hasler events such as Watersides, Thamesides and DW, the affiliated members would choose to wear their own colours and be named according to the direction of the groups concerned.

Following experience at the Worcester Hasler Race last year, where marshals effected a successful rescue in an emergency situation, due to their preparedness and assistance from a fellow paddler allowing them to carry out  their emergency response plan, the committee strongly recommend the following at all events.  All marshals at turns and other vantage points on a course should carry certain basic rescue equipment comprising of a minimum of a mobile phone, throw bag or line and a “space blanket” or survival bag. Prevailing conditions may require additional equipment provision should the Event Safety Officer deem it necessary.

Following on from this, organisers should obtain signed disclaimers as part of race entry proceedure if at all possible. This should be from a team leader, coach, parent or the paddler themselves.

Risk Assessments

You will have agreed to complete and forward risk assessment to your Regional Marathon Advisor when you completed the online form for the calendar. (All group A events.) As yet there is no change to the process. Organisers should forward their RA to the RMA before their event. The RMA will forward this to the secretary who notes the date received and it is then filed. There is no assessment of the ones received, but they are there if required as evidence. I had hoped that by now the system would have changed, but as yet, this remains the process. There were very few missing last season, but please forward them as a matter of course. At the same time you need to inform the RMA of the Event Safety Officer for your race.


The new version of HRM is ready for the start of the season. From July onward there has been no requirement to combine races in HRM as far as points etc. making this part of the process much easier, although starts should still be combined on the water for Divisions with less than 3 boats where at all possible.




There is an additional function in HRM for indicating why disqualifications have been made. If a boat is disqualified for any reason, the rule number must be inserted in the appropriate place when completing finishes. Examples would be: no club vest – 30, illegible number – 15, invalid BC membership – 12, boat buoyancy and other safety rules – 5 and behaviour related disqualifications would be 2 unless another more specific rule is involved.

Result Files

Please remember to forward your race files promptly to the list of people needing it as shown in the handbook. Race Records and the Ranking Officer need the completed files within 2 working days so that the ranking list for Hasler Races on the following weekend is accurate. These files will also need checking by the RMA.


Carrying on from HRM above, when you send the result files please be sure that the BC number and renewal date columns are correctly completed before sending them. As yet we are unable to access the BC membership database, so we need to continue the process of obtaining the data from clubs and paddlers. Where a membership has been renewed, appropriate evidence should be shown. (The new card, or a copy of the online evidence of payment.) Entries must not be accepted without it and organisers must record it in HRM. Please ensure that this data is all included before you send the files. Please be aware that it was occasionally necessary to disqualify paddlers after events last year, where membership was not renewed and had not been recorded accurately.