Skip to content

Liverpool Canoe Club Standard Operating Procedures

1. Liverpool Canoe Club

Liverpool Canoe Club is one of the largest canoeing and kayaking clubs in the UK and is affiliated to British Canoeing / Paddle UK.  The club is open to all.

Liverpool Canoe Club is an open club which welcomes new members of all abilities. We are a voluntary club that is run by its members` to promote paddling opportunities and share knowledge and skills with other paddlers. We arrange paddling, coaching and trips regularly in the hope that those who benefit will, in time,organise similar paddling for all.

Membership fees cover the minimal costs of the club. LCC is run for its members by its members. The club specialises in Sea and Whitewater Kayaking, Open Canoeing, Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP), Sit on Tops (SOT), Canoe Polo, Kayak and Ski Surfing, Racing, Slalom and Paddleability.

2. Aim

The aim of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) is to outline how Liverpool Canoe Club is operated and managed. It provides a description of how the club runs on a day-to-day basis, covering who is responsible for carrying out certain tasks within the club as well as the general responsibilities of club members.

3. Affiliation

British Canoeing / Paddle UK Affiliation Type: Senior Club with Junior Section

Affiliation Number: 100598

4. Contact Details


5. Health and Safety

5.1. Approach to health & safety

Liverpool Canoe Club wishes to ensure the safety and well-being of its members and promote a safety culture that runs through all our activities and is a normal part of everyday thinking and practice. To embed a culture in the way we operate, we have adopted key aspects of the British Canoeing Paddlersafer (V7) 8th January 2024 guidance and incorporated key elements within this SOP that members are to follow.

5.2. Use of Buoyancy Aids (BAs) / Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs)

BA`s (or PFDs) are to be worn at all times whilst on the water.

For stand up paddle boarding, members should also wear a suitable leash to be attached to the board whilst on open or exposed water.  This MUST be a waist releasable type if on any kind of moving water.

5.3. Use of Helmets

It is not always necessary to wear a helmet for paddlesport activities. Members are expected to wear a helmet for specific activities or environments where there is the risk of a head injury including:

• Paddling water grade 2 (in closed cockpit boats and subject to local risk assessment)

• For all paddling activity above grade 2

• Surfing

• Paddling among rocks or in sea caves

• During rescue practice

• Playing games including canoe polo where accidental contact may be made.

Coaches will consider a range of risk factors when coaching juniors and may insist helmets are worn in their groups.

5.4. Water borne diseases and infections

All rivers, however clean they might appear contain a level of natural contamination from things such as rotting vegetation, insects and animal activity. In addition to this there may be other types of contamination including algal blooms (blue green algae), sewerage or chemical contamination. Illnesses are normally caused by bacterial infection, viruses or toxins in the water.

Weils Disease or Leptospirosis. All water users should be aware of this potentially fatal infection. This is a bacterial infection normally believed to be spread by rat urine, though it can also be transmitted by cat, fox and rabbit urine. Transmission is usually through an open wound or abrasion but can also be caused by ingestion of contaminated water. Symptoms are lethargy, diarrhoea, headaches, vomiting and muscle pain; sometimes referred to as flu like symptoms, if untreated can be fatal.

Prevention measures against water borne infection are largely common sense:

• Cover all cuts and abrasions with waterproof plasters

• Always wear footwear to avoid cutting the feet

• Avoid capsize or rolling practice in suspected waters

• Where possible shower soon after the activity

• As a minimum always wash your hands as soon as possible after paddling and wash your face too before eating or drinking (top tip – carry a small amount of hand sanitiser with you where possible)

• Wash all boats with fresh clean water if bringing them to any of the pool sessions.

5.5. Lone Paddling / Paddling in Groups

Paddling on your own significantly increases the risks when compared to paddling in a group. This type of paddling is outside the remit of the club and is NOT part of any club activity.

5.6. First Aid & Accidents

All updated coaches are trained in first aid and will generally have their own first aid kits with them. First aid kits are located at all pools and in the yellow plastic box at the rear of our compound at the docks. An Automated External Defibrillator is located outside the Liverpool Marina building and at various locations around the docks.

British Canoeing provides access to a free first-aid e-learning package. While this does not provide a formal qualification, it offers a useful introduction for members.

5.7. Emergency contact details

All members have emergency contact details available electronically via the member’s details list on the club website. Leaders and coordinators of club sessions either use the bookwhen booking system or manually collate details of attendees via email/communication before any club activity and submit an attendance record and details of any incident during the activity.

5.8. Accident Reporting

Accidents must be reported using the British Canoeing online reporting system. This is used to report all canoeing incidents, whether you are a member of British Canoeing or not. Note that you should also report near misses using this system, as well as actual incidents.

Any incident must ALSO be sent to the club Safety Officer as soon as practicable after they occur and ideally, before they are reported online.

In the event of a major incident, please follow the guide below to the incident response plan.

5.9. Incident Response Plan

Liverpool Canoe Club has adopted the British Canoeing guidance that outlines the steps that need to be taken in the event of a major incident. A Major Incident is defined by British Canoeing as “either a very serious single incident or combination of incidents which could lead to loss of life, a serious injury or where there is substantial damage” [to buildings or equipment] examples are provided in Paddlesafer (para 3.8) 8th January 2024.

5.10. Emergency Services

If there is a need to call the emergency services, be prepared to provide the following information (remember the acronym LIONEL):

• __L__ocation of the accident/incident (eg Our Base at Coburg Dock (Liverpool Marina) L3 4EB)

• __I__ncident, what is the accident

• __O__ther blue light services required (Fire, Police, or Ambulance)

• __N__umber of casualties

• __E__xtent of the injuries if known

• __L__ocation of the accident/incident (repeated)

5.11. Risk Assessment

All members are advised to assess risks before setting out on the water, consider environmental factors, their skill level relative to the water and other conditions, equipment needs, clothing and the capability of those they are paddling with. Hazards and associated mitigating actions for paddling from the Club Compound in Coburg Dock are captured in the club Risk Assessment and it does not remove the need for members to assess risks for themselves. The Risk Assessment also covers off-the-water activities. It is recognised risk assessments are based on a specific set of circumstances at a particular moment in time, i.e. static. Therefore, members should undertake their own informal and dynamic risk assessments, continually identifying hazards throughout the duration of their activities, assessing risks and taking appropriate mitigating actions.

“A dynamic approach to decision making is recommended which considers the diverse nature of the environment, individual abilities and the group. The recording of decisions made is encouraged and seen as good practice.”  Source  Page 1 BCAB/Environmental Definitions and Deployment Guidance for Instructors, Coaches and Leaders/V2-4Jan23

6. Discipline

The club code of conduct outlines the behaviour expected of coaches, members, and their families. Disciplinary procedures for those who fail to uphold this are outlined in the club constitution.
Club Rules and Guidelines (Code of Conduct)

7. Club Safeguarding

Canoeing and kayaking should be safe and fun. Everyone should be treated with respect and should give respect to others. You should feel safe to enjoy your sport. If you are worried about how you or someone else is being treated by another young person or adult (whether it is something you have observed/witnessed or it has been disclosed to you by someone else). Always report the concern to our club Safeguarding officers:


NSPCC (24hr helpline) 0808 800 5000

Childline (24hr helpline) 0800 1111

British Canoeing Safeguarding Lead 0115 8655354

8. Club Activities

8.1. Membership, guests and use of equipment

The club and its members have liability insurance through the club affiliation to British Canoeing / Paddle UK during club activities as defined in this SOP as well as a Dock’s waterways license. Liverpool Canoe Club is responsible for ensuring members are given appropriate training and that they meet the minimum standards through the Paddle Start / Discover and Explore Awards or demonstrating equivalent skills.   Therefore, club equipment and the site facilities can only be used by members of Liverpool Canoe Club. If a member has a friend or a family member who would like to have a go and is considering joining, please contact the session coach/leader directly to gain their permission for a one-off trial session. The friend or family member MUST be present and hold any emergency contact details as these will not be available through the members list on the club website.

8.2. Scope of Club Activities

In accordance with British Canoeing guidance, our Club Activities are shown on the club calendar and will therefore be covered by British Canoeing liability insurance.  If it is not on the calendar it is NOT a club activity.

Supervised Club Activity

This applies to our regular Docks sessions that are in the club calendar, where there is coach or leader supervision.  It also applies to led coaching or trips away from our home waters such as a river or sea kayaking trip or expedition where a leader of coach is supervising a group.

Orchestrated Club Activity

This applies to specific events run by the club either alongside supervised club activities or in addition to them, for example: the club race event, organised litter pick, specific advertised safety/rescue training sessions during normal club sessions, Start/Discover/Explore Award training, or similar type of activity.

8.6. Juniors

Junior members must be supervised at all times by parents/guardians who are members of the club. The exception to this rule is where juniors have been handed to the charge of a club coach for a prearranged coaching session. Junior Club……..

8.7. Club Coaches and Paddlesport Leaders

The club maintains a list of authorised members who have been approved by the Stewardship Group / Club Safety Officer to undertake coaching and leading on Supervised Club Sessions and courses (See 8.2).  The club uses a variety of information to make this approval but generally relies on three out of the five sources of evidence detailed below:

  1. Observation and assessment from a senior coach.
  2. BC or Paddle UK Qualifications.
  3. Prior Experience of running similar trips
  4. Professional Reference
  5. Logbook (Self-evidence)

This is reviewed and updated regularly. Full details are on the coaching and leaders pages of the website…….

The club uses ratios and general guidance on classification of water taken from British Canoeing Awarding Body Source  Page 1 BCAB/Environmental Definitions and Deployment Guidance for Instructors, Coaches and Leaders/V2-4Jan23

We are also adopting key aspects of the Paddle UK Standards For Deployment Policy April 21, 2024 into our SOP.

8.8. Club Equipment

Club equipment is available for use by all members. Kayaks and canoes belonging to the club will generally be numbered and display a Liverpool Canoe Club label with boat numbers.

• Members are responsible for checking the suitability and serviceability of club equipment before taking it out. If unsure about the use of club equipment, then they must seek advice from a coach or the session leader.

• If there are any problems with equipment or any damage is sustained while in use, members must record details via an email to

• Those wishing to remove club equipment from the site must have pre-booked the boat online and a small fee may be payable.

9.1. Access

Access to the main site at Coburg Dock is managed through a small number of key holders. The club compound is controlled by PIN access, and only authorised parties are allow to have access. A named organiser, coach or leader will in charge of the session and ensure that the compound is left secure during and after the activity.

10. Paddling and the Environment

Please following this British Canoeing guidance to help you be a considerate, respectful and environmentally-friendly paddler. Key points are listed below:

• Find out about the area before you go, noting its sensitive places, species and breeding seasons

• Leave no trace of your visit and take your litter home with you

• When clearing litter left by others, handle it with care

• Leave the environment as you find it

• Keep noise to a minimum

• Avoid ‘seal’ launching or dragging boats on natural banks to reduce erosion

• Constantly assess wildlife. If you see signs of disturbance then move away

• Check, clean and dry wet equipment after use. Always take these bio-security measures to minimise the risk or prevent the spread and environmental damage from invasive non-native aquatic species and diseases