Paddle Trip FAQ

In addition the these FAQs, the American Canoe Association provides extensive resources regarding paddling safety and procedures, including their “Top 10 Safety Tips“.

Paddling Trips “Frequently Asked Questions” – by Ed & Carol Deery
(and some slightly crabby answers)



What happens if it rains or the forecast calls for rain?

If it rains, we get wet. This is Western Oregon; it is going to rain. Trips are not cancelled because of rain. Come prepared for anything Mother Nature might throw at us.

If your interest in the trip depends on the weather, wait until you’re sure about the weather before you sign up.

Very rarely, a leader may cancel a trip if the forecast indicates conditions that could make it dangerous (as opposed to merely uncomfortable) to be on the road or on the water.

Can I bring a friend?

You can tell a friend about the trip, but the friend must contact the leader separately.

What time will we be back?

We will get back when we get back. There is no guaranteed time to return. The length of the trip, the skill of the paddlers, the rate the current runs and many unexpected things can all affect the time you can expect to be back. We try very hard to have all the vehicles loaded and people headed back home before dark. If you have other commitments for the day or evening, this trip is not for you.

I can’t load or unload my boat by myself, will someone be available to help?

Yes, a group trip isn’t just about carpooling, it is about synergy. We will help you load and unload your boat at the put-in and takeout, and we expect you to help others as well. Loading and unloading your boat at home is your responsibility.

Can I meet you at some location other than the designated meeting place?

The leader may be willing to arrange this, but only if you live much closer to the trip venue than to the designated meeting place.

How do we get boats, gear, and vehicles all to the takeout?

This is called a shuttle. Each shuttle is different because of the many variables. Typically, we leave some cars at the takeout and put all the boats and gear and people in the other cars, then drive to the put-in. At the end of the trip, some people stay with the boats while everyone else piles into the cars that were left at the take-out and goes back to get the cars that were used to get to the put-in.

The leader will take a look at the boats, vehicles and the number of drivers and will figure out a shuttle to make the trip work. It is the leader’s responsibility to figure out the shuttle. It is everyone’s responsibility to participate in it.

You can assist with the shuttle by bringing a vehicle that can seat additional people, by having canoe/kayak racks that can handle additional boats, by bringing extra rigging (straps and ropes) to assist with shuffling boats. You can also assist by having your gear organized so that it can be quickly and easily transferred to another vehicle if necessary. A big mesh duffle or an action packer can be very handy for this.

Do you supply boats or other gear?

We do not supply boats, paddles, paddling gear, or a shuttle van. We do not supply boat racks or a trailer.

Can I bring a pet?

No. Don’t ask. Don’t whine or beg, either, unless you want to get barked at.

Do I have to wear a life jacket?

Absolutely. Put it on and fasten it securely before you launch, and don’t take it off until you’re on dry land.

What’s for lunch?

Whatever you bring. If everyone brings extra, it turns into a potluck.

When and where do we meet?

Individual leaders select meeting places and times. We’ll give you the specifics for our trip after you commit to coming. Until then you don’t need to know.

I don’t know the way to the put-in or take-out. Can I follow you?

We usually try to convoy, but you still need to be self-reliant. Following someone else usually works until the first traffic light. Once you learn where the put-in and take-out are, you should study the route in advance of the trip. A Delorme topo atlas is a great resource for this. [Note: Google Maps and a GPS work, too.]

I’m not sure yet if I can come.

Make up your mind, THEN call about the trip.

How long will you wait for me at the meeting place if I’m running a little late?

We won’t.

I need to stop somewhere along the way to get gas and pick up something to eat.

We want to spend our time boating, not waiting for you to get your act together. Buy your provisions in advance.

I have a bunch of questions I want to ask you.

Give us a call and we’ll try to answer them. That will be a lot quicker and easier for all of us than exchanging a million e-mails. [Note: This preference may vary by organizer.]