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 http://canoeracing.org.uk/marathon/index.php/disciplinarymatters/.)
  • 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.

MRC