Coordinator Tips

Here are a few tips that may make your first or your fiftieth cruise coordination smooth, safe, and fun.

  1. Plan your trip in advance, make sure it’s published in The Paddler and online.
  2. Keep track of people as they sign up so that no one gets left behind and the trip doesn’t become too large
  3. Find out WHO is wishing to go and what their experience level is. Find out what they have run and at what levels. Make sure they belong there, and if in doubt, ASK. Keep everyone’s trip enjoyable by screening those who sign up to identify who your strong and weak boaters may be. Don’t be afraid to tell people that this particular trip may not be the best option at a particular time. See example template below for an easy screening template.
  4. Find out who’s driving what so you can make shuttle provisions and find your group at the put-in.
  5. Find out who has what safety and first aid training.
  6. Make sure to get first and last names, and personal and emergency contact info. If anyone gets hurt or decides not to show up unexpectedly, this will be good to have.
  7. Recruit safety boaters if size, skill, and water levels require. Better safe than sorry.
  8. The week of the trip, touch base with those wishing to attend. Provide them information on the run, the current and predicted water levels, the rendezvous point, and any accommodations that they may need to know, ECT. A first timer would love to carpool and camp with the group instead of alone. They also may not know what to do about food, whether to plan to eat out or cook. The more info you offer as a trip coordinator, the better prepared everyone can be. Names/phone #s/websites of where you or some of the group may be camping is always helpful.
  9. It’s recommended to allow everyone to make their own camping accommodations based on individual needs, and to prevent the coordinator from getting stuck paying for unused sites when people bail out.
  10. Provide directions. Don’t assume everyone knows where the putins and takeouts are.
  11. Offer up a mass mail and keep everyone on one distribution list. This allows carpooling and group camping to formulate itself. Riders, it’s always nice to offer up some gas $$ for the rideshare.
  12. The trip coordinator should remind everyone participating in the trip that they are doing so as common adventurers and that each individual is responsible for making their own decisions while on the river.
  13. The day of the trip, the coordinator should review common signals with the group. Also review evacuation routes, or lack of routes should anyone need to get off the river quickly. Make sure you have a strong sweep boater, and first timers are paired closely with experienced boaters.
  14. Find out who has extra gear, like first aid kits, break down paddles, etc. If you have extra gear like float bags, they may come in handy. You’re the coordinator who’ll be chasing the boat with no bags, so they’re good to have on-hand.

Below is an example of how a trip coordinator may respond to interested parties who sign up for a trip.

“Thanks for signing up for the NC/TN Creeking Trip on April 1-2. Please reply back and provide the requested information in order to be signed up for this trip. Please be honest in your skill assessment. Once this information is provided, you’ll then be added to the trip roster, and given more details and specifics.”

NAME:
CONTACT INFO:
EMERGENCY CONTACT INFO:
BOAT YOU’LL BE PADDLING:
FAVORITE RIVER
NUMBER OF YEARS PADDLING:
ROLL RELIABILITY:
WHAT WERE THE LAST 3 RIVERS PADDLED AND THEIR WATER LEVELS?
IS THIS YOUR FIRST TIME ON THIS RIVER? IF NOT WHAT LEVEL WAS IT:
LIST ANY FIRST AID, SWR, OR SAFETY TRAINING YOU’VE HAD: