Preventing the spread of non-native water species and disease

The Waterways and Environment Team at British Canoeing are keen to educate paddlers on the risks of non native species in our rivers and canals and how best to prevent them spreading.

With regard to the use of disinfection – there is no disinfectant that has been tested on non native species…therefore there are no guarantees for any disinfection to be effective to prevent the spread of these species. The following should be adopted where it is practical and reasonable to do so:

Check all your equipment and clothing for living organisms and plants fragments. Pay particular attention to areas that are damp and hard to inspect.

Clean and wash all equipment, clothing and footwear thoroughly away from water source… Wash down on site using available clean fresh water and leave any organisms or plant fragments at the water body where you found them OR on a hard standing or grass area away from a water source or drain system.

Completely dry out all equipment and clothing before going to a new site – particularly effective at killing crayfish plague fungal spores. Some species can live for many days in damp conditions

If any paddlers have specific questions relating to this issue please contact Richard Atkinson at British Canoeing

Race Organisers Notes: advice on starts

The annual Race Organisers letter is sent out in February with the arrival of the new Racing Handbook, and outlines any changes in rules or guidance that organisers need to know about. With the recent discussion on the MRC’s desire to improve the fairness of starts, here is the section on guidance for starters:-

The start of any race is critical and fairness and consistency is our aim. It is therefore highly important that you carry out procedures and endeavour to ensure everybody has a fair start.

The rules that will apply for a major competition are already laid down in the racing rules and included in the year book. They can and should equally apply to ANY race. Once competitors who push the line or jump the start realise that that will get a 2 minute penalty, or be disqualified and asked to leave the start line, they will start to comply with your instructions.

Our aim is to make these rules the standard to which every race organiser works.

Some important points come from these rules which should be noted and applied on all starts:-

  • If you control the boats at a no more than ‘walking pace’ as they come up to the line, then it is more likely you will control them on the line.
  • Make sure that your ‘marshalling line’ is not too close to the actual start line.
  • Do not ‘hold’ paddlers on the start line for too long – this will merely result in them ‘pushing’ it. Bring them very slowly up to the line and start the race quickly when there.
  • If the majority of boats advance over the line – the only way to bring them back is often to get them ALL to paddle round and start again.
  • Do not penalise those who comply with your instructions and are on the line; by starting the race when others are clearly in front of the line….bring those paddlers back round. Be prepared to warn twice and then penalise with a 2 minute penalty or disqualify.
  • Refer to boats by their numbers or by the club colours not by the paddlers name and be prepared to record – or have an assistant record – any penalties given – by boat number. 
  • If you issue a penalty it must apply – it cannot then be ignored or withdrawn. If you disqualify a paddler do not start the race until he/she has removed themselves from the line and preferably from the water.
  • Do not tell paddlers that there is ‘ 1 minute to go’ and them start them before a full minute has elapsed. Be consistent…if you say you will not start them for 2 minutes – make sure it is a full two minutes before you do start them.
  • Have a whistle ready to blow if there is a false start and you are recalling the whole race – make sure that the paddlers know that is what a whistle means – STOP – there has been a total false start – come back to the line.
  • If you have paddlers ‘hanging back’ well behind the actual start line – give them the opportunity once to come up to the line – if they are unwilling to do so after being asked, then concentrate on the front line to retain control and accept that those behind the line are more comfortable in the ‘second line’ position.
  • You are within your rights as a starter of an event to ‘warn’ coaches and spectators who are blatant in trying to encourage their paddlers to ignore your instructions and ‘push’ the start. Do not be afraid to do so.


Handicap Score Calculator

The Elmbridge Handicap system is an extremely well-established way of benchmarking an individual’s performance level using one distance, and using it to predict their performance (and those of others) over other distances. The GB marathon team training group is using Handicap scores this winter as a way of helping athletes measure their current performance and set targets, but it can be applied to paddlers at all levels.

Click here for an Excel-based calculator, with instructions, that you can use to apply handicap scores to your own races or time trials.

Frank Luzmore – results and promotions

Results of last weekend’s Frank Luzmore race can be found here. Participants should note that several promotions have been made from these results.


The committee have continued to receive comments and concerns over promotions from the Frank Luzmore race.  The racing rules do allow promotions at this race. The race organisers are not responsible however for promotions. Any paddler who believes that their promotion is incorrect can, as has already been stated, appeal through the normal process.  The MRC will next meet on 28th February and will discuss some of the issues raised at that meeting.

Please note again, that the Race Organiser does not have control over promotions within their event

Ensuring fair starts

We will endeavour during the 2015 season to make starts, at all races, more fair and more consistent.  New guidelines have been issued in the Year book for ALL starters.   The aim is to provide consistency of application of the current rules that exist and particularly make competitors, who constantly ‘push the line’ and disobey Starters orders, aware of the penalties that they WILL suffer if they do not comply with instructions given.  Please refer to the Handbook and the Race organisers letter for full details.

New rules on Marathon number boards!

During the past few seasons we have witnessed more and more complaints about poor numbering of boats in races. This produces many problems including incorrect results and sometimes safety concerns.  Whilst we are endeavouring to find a long term better  and cost effective solution, 2015 will see some minor changes that start to address the problem of poorly written numbers and the start of the 2016 season will see more fundamental changes –  ALL competitors will be required to comply with these changes which will be reflected in the racing rules. ( except where the race organiser provides pre-printed boards to their specification for their specific race )

From 1st Jan 2015 ALL numbering of vertical boards will be in digital style format numbering, created from small strips of BLACK insulating tape, no less than 12mm wide.  Hand written crayon and felt tip pen numbering will no longer be acceptable.  The digits should be formed from small strips of tape in 50mm and 100mm lengths to make up the numbers on both sides of the board.

From 1st Jan 2016 ALL numbering will take place in the manner prescribed above and IN ADDITION the number MUST BE presented on a OPAQUE WHITE NUMBER BOARD measuring 150mm in height and 280mm in length, with rounded top corners  – the number clearly marked on both sides of the board.  The board MUST be secured to the board holder on the craft in a secure way, with clip or pin.  Race organisers will be able to refuse entry to a race where these rules are not complied with. The new boards will be of this length to be able to accept FOUR digit racing numbers in the future.

From 1st Jan 2016 YELLOW number board will no longer be acceptable to use.  ALL numbering from 1st Jan 2015 will be created with small strips of insulating tape and numbers written by pen of any type will not be acceptable.

Suppliers will have time to introduce the new ‘White Boards’ – its is recommended that you have two boards, one to act as a ‘store’ to stick the small lengths of tape to and the other ‘clean board’ to assemble your race number on to.

Stan Missen, MRC Chair

Amended anti-doping rules

Athletes should note the newly revised Anti Doping rules published on the British Canoeing website

As an athlete, it is vital that you understand the 2015 Code and its implications. Strict liability always applies.

The 2015 Code is targeted at those who choose to deliberately cheat. From 1 Jan 2015, four‐year bans will be the minimum sanction for a positive test on the first offence.

However, the 2015 Code also has less sympathy for carelessness. The penalty for inadvertent doping is likely to be a two‐year ban or more.

Lizzie Broughton tops ICF World Rankings 2014

Richmond CC’s Lizzie Broughton has finished 2014 top of the ICF Canoe Marathon Rankings, after her silver medal at the World Championships and her win at the Waterlands Marathon (part of the ICF Classic Series) in April.

Tom Sharpe (also of Richmond) and Keith Moule (Chelmsford CC) were ranked joint 12th in the men’s list.

The ICF newsletter announcing the final tables also contains details of the ICF championships in the years ahead, and the 2015 series of classics. You can download it here.