SAPC Trip Policy Statement

The Southern Arizona Paddlers Club is a small organization with low dues and few resources. We regard ourselves as a networking club – we do not have official “events”; we provide our members the opportunity to meet and interact with like-minded paddlers so they may share time on the water together. The following thoughts on personal responsibility were shamelessly plagiarized from the Bay Area Sea Kayakers organization, with their permission, as these guidelines express our position admirably. See you on the water.

Personal Responsibility
On any SAPC trip, each and every participant is responsible for his/her own safety:
Use your own judgment. Never blindly follow anyone into a situation you are unsure about.
Be prepared to take care of yourself:
This does not mean that the other members of the group won't assist anyone who needs it; but such assistance should never be taken for granted, especially in difficult conditions. Be aware that, despite all good intentions, there is always a possibility of being separated from the group.
Be sure your skills are adequate for any given trip:
There is nothing wrong with bailing out at the put-in; everyone has done it.
It is up to each and every participant to know the trip agenda:
Use a map, carry a compass, and consult with the trip initiator if you are not familiar with the area. Approach the trip as if you were planning it. Trip initiators have been known to screw up or bail at the put-in; don't be over-reliant on them.
Assume that benign conditions will deteriorate and be prepared for the worst possible scenario:
Also be prepared to take advantage of conditions that turn out to be better than expected.
Make sure you have the appropriate equipment for the trip:
Check to be sure your boat and other equipment is fully functional and in good repair. In cold water, wear appropriate clothing. Wear a helmet if conditions warrant. Any chance you'll need a spare paddle? If unsure, consult others on the trip.
The trip initiator is the trip organizer, not a tour guide:
Commercial outfitters get paid to be responsible for their customer's safety. SAPC is a club, not an outfitter, and does cooperative, not guided, trips. Trip initiators are no more responsible for the safety of others than anyone else in the group. Everyone has to paddle their own craft; a "leader" can't do it for them.
Trip initiators are not responsible for evaluating participants' boating abilities:
However, they have the right to eliminate anyone who is not prepared. Participants should evaluate their own skills. Try to be realistic; it might save embarrassment later when you become the subject of a safety talk.
The trip initiator can organize (or not organize) the trip in any way he or she wants:
Feel free to talk to the initiator beforehand to find out how the trip is to be structured. If you don't like the way a trip is organized, initiate your own trip and do it your way.