Safety Information for Small Craft Hire
An essential read prior to hiring canoes, kayaks, paddle-boards or dinghies.
Buoyancy aids MUST be worn at all times. Failure to do so will result in the termination of your hire. If you are stand-up paddle-boarding, you should also wear a tether.
What to wear
Wear comfortable clothing that you are prepared to get wet in! You are also advised to wear light-weight, flat footwear to prevent injuries. Conditions can change quickly so ensure that you have packed additional clothing for all weathers. It is also easy to get sunburn so remember to pack a hat and sunscreen.
We appreciate that you may have a strong attachment to your phone or cameras and want to take them with you. Dry bags and other lockers exist to help protect your belongings. However, in our experience they are not 100% waterproof. Should you decide to take such items with you, you do so at your own risk.
Stick to the right hand side of the river unless it is unsafe to do so. If you are being overtaken on the left, stay on the right hand side until the vessel has passed. Note that sailing craft may tack (zig-zag) across the river. Please given them room to do so.
Both Public (free of charge) and Private Moorings (chargeable) moorings exist on the River Ant. These will be signposted. Please see our map for mooring locations. Where possible, slide your craft out of the water rather than tying them up. This ensures that you leave sufficient mooring available for larger craft, plus they will not float away! If you leave the boats (e.g. for lunch or to explore), please take your belongings and your issued buoyancy aids with you.
Look out for hazards
Low hanging branches indicate shallow tree roots. Never canoe under or hang on to low lying branches. Avoid yellow posts, these indicate underwater hazards. Keep clear of bridge embankments and be weary that the water will flow more quickly beneath the bridge.
Look after your group
When hiring more than one boat, look after the slowest paddlers and do not leave them behind. If under 18’s are in a separate craft, ensure they are in front of a craft of a responsible adult so they can be seen at all times.
No alcohol is to be consumed. Anyone appearing to be intoxicated will have their hire terminated immediately.
In the event of capsize or falling overboard
In normal circumstances, capsizing your small boat is not an emergency. Avoid putting your feet down and trying to stand up. Weed and mud on the river bed can entangle you. Hold on to your craft and swim towards the bank. Once you have reached the bank, only then put your feet down and climb the bank with the mooring line. Ensure all participants are safely out of the water and take a moment to recover before setting off again.
In case of a serious incident
Telephone 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
Author: StayGB Marine Ltd