South Wind Safety Plan

Safety Plan For the South Wind Canoe Brigade

June 24 to July 1, 2017



2017  March 14



Ø   The purpose of this plan is to ensure that the South Wind Brigade on the Rideau Canal is prepared for as many eventualities as possible.  We must do everything in our power to ensure that there are no incidents, and if these do occur, we must be prepared to deal with them.

Ø   In the event of an incident where legal action is taken, our best defence is to demonstrate that we have exercised “due diligence”.

Due diligence is “…the level of judgement, care, prudence, determination, and activity that a person would reasonably be expected to do under particular circumstances.”  A judge or jury would consider whether the incident was foreseeable (could a reasonable person have foreseen that something could go wrong?); preventable (was there an opportunity to prevent the incident?); and controllable (who was the responsible person and what could they have done to prevent the incident or successfully recover without injury or death?).

Event Overview

Ø   The South Wind Brigade will take place over the course of 9 days, June 23 –July 1, 2017.  The brigade will consist of 12-15  replica fur trade north canoes (7.5 – 12 m), each paddled by 6-16 paddlers, that will travel the length (approximately 202  km) of the Rideau Canal from Rideau Acres Campsite, about 7 km north of Kingston to Victoria island on the Ottawa River in Ottawa.   This event is expected to take 9 days to complete.  In addition there will be opportunities for smaller craft to informally participate in the event for limited distances and times.

 Persons Responsible

Official Title Individual Assigned – Source Overall Responsibility
Brigade organizer Max Finkelstein  alll communication with press and family in the event of an incident, accident or emergency; ensure that canoes meet Paddle Canada and Canadian Coast Guard safety requirements
Brigade Leaders Will be assigned daily from the various experienced crew leaders for each group of canoes The brigade travels in groups of 3-6 . Each morning the Brigade organizer or his/her delegate leads a daily Brigade Meeting, leads decision on when a planned paddle should be cancelled in advance, and when a day’s paddle should be abandoned on route, assigns a group leader for each group
Route Planner Max Finkelstein Planning of the basic route, and assist in pre-event safety plan implementation.
Safety Chair TBA Implementation of the Safety Plan
Sweep Marshall(s) will be assigned for each day at the preceding Brigade  Leaders meeting All canoes complete each day’s paddle, or appropriate arrangements are made for the pick-up of canoes departing the route part way along on any day.
Canoe captains 1/canoe Ensure that each canoe is properly equipped to Coast Guard regulations, and Safety and First Aid equipment f or his/her canoe.  Responsible for navigation!
Canoe Crew First Aid persons (at least 1 per canoe crew) who  ensures that the canoe he/she is assigned to has required First Aid equipment for  its crew. provided by each canoe crew On Site First Aid, & victim supervision until EMT arrival

Location of the Safety Plan during the Event

Ø   Each of the following are to retain a copy of the Safety Plan, and must have their copy accessible in camp each day.

  • Safety Chair
  • Brigade organizer
  • Brigade group Leaders
  • Canoe Crew Captains
  • Crew Captains must ensure that each of their paddlers has initialed the copy of the safety plan

Contact Information

General Information on Contacts

We have a Chief Medical officer,  Rosemary Lay, (613-200-7373; , who has extensive medical experience as an emergency room nurse.  When something goes wrong medically, who you gonna call..Rosemary! Rosemary is your first point of contact in a medical emergency. Make sure you have her cell phone number and know who she is and what canoe she is paddling in.  If any members of your crew have medical conditions, please give this information to Rosemary and Max, and your crew members (if that is OK with the person with the condition)    It will be kept confidential. You can use the following form:


Canoe Crew:

Medical Condition:  (medications)

Insurance number:

Family Doctor:

Emergency contacts: 1. name: phone #  email:                       2. Name:                        phone #:                      email:

Ø   It is important that all people involved in the safety plan, know their roles ahead of time.

Emergency Response Contacts: 9-1-1 is the emergency phone number for the region!

Official Title Name Location on Site Cell Phone


Safety Chair TBA
Brigade organiser Max Finkelstein With canoes 613-8098-2189
Brigade Chief various With canoes
Event/ Site Managers Parks Canada

Don MacKay

Annie Laurie

Various parks Canada lock stations Tel : 613-283-5170
  National Capital commission Ottawa
 Kingston Police Emergency: 911 | Non Emergency: 613-549-4660
  Kingston General Hospital 613-548-2333
Smith Falls Police 613-283-6266Ambulance)
Ontario Provincial Police water rescue 613 283-6911
Smith falls hospital 60 Cornelia Street West
Smiths Falls, ON
K7A 2H9
Tel: (613)
Tel: (613) 267-1500283-2330
Perth hospital 33 Drummond Street West
Perth, ON
K7H 2K1
Tel: (613) 267-1500
Kemptville Hospital 2675 Concession Road, Kemptville, Ontario 613-258-6133

Ø   The Brigade organizer or Safety Chair must contact each of the above well prior to the event to notify them of the event, number of people expected, safety procedures employed at the event (i.e., a copy of this plan), map of route, camp site, map/directions to camp site, and any other information that they require.

On Route:  Prior to, During, and Following the Event

Potential Hazards and Control Measures:

Potential Hazard Control Measure Person Responsible
Weather conditions: rain, hail, wind, severe winds (tornadoes), lightening § Proper clothing, food, water.

§ Daily access to appropriate weather forecasts

§ Lightening protocol: get off the water (preferably under shelter) after first lightening seen; wait 30 minutes after last lightening seen.

§ Route or Safety Chair – to confirm arrange for appropriate weather forecasts (best available)

§ , responsibility of brigade group leaders and crew captains

Injury: sprained ankle, blisters, overuse injuries § Clothing, first aid supplies, whistle.  There must also be a communications device (e.g., radio or cell phone) or system (e.g., call-in system before and after going to site). § Route and/or Safety Chair

§ , responsibility of brigade group leaders and crew captains

Risks from other boaters:  collisions, swamping § following the “rules of the road”, advising other users of Brigade Plans § Brigade organizer, Canoe Crew Leaders
Lake Hazards: wind, big waves, , in particular Big and Little Rideau lakes have been identified as known wind hazards at times. § Postponement, or leg cancellation

§ Appropriate route selection

§ Route or Safety Chair – to confirm arrange for appropriate weather forecasts

§ Brigade group leaders

§ Canoe Crew Leaders

River Hazards: dams Rocks, shoals, rapids, , low water, waterfalls, § Planning and route selection

§ Knowledge of navigation markers


§ Route & Safety Chair

§ Canoe Crew Leader

Hypothermia § Appropriate clothing, rain gear § Canoe Crew Leaders

§ Individual Paddlers

Drowning: § During this Brigade all paddlers will wear an approved PFD § Individual Paddlers,

§ Crew Leaders

Locks: turbulent water, upsetting, collision with other boats in locks, person overboard in steep sided locks § Paddler must follow Lock master instructions, canoes should raft up, cables maybe present to hold onto, gloves maybe an asset § Canoe Crew Leaders, Individual Paddlers
Wild Animals:  raccoons, etc. § Proper food management: no food in tents or left outside! § Individual paddlers, Crew Leaders

Canoe and Rescue

The Big Canoes

Ø   Big Canoes for this event are to be of the 22-25’ North Canoe, and larger,  up to 36’ Montreal Canoes.  These canoes will include five, six or more seating benches.  Canoes deviating from this standard must be approved by the Safety Chair.

Ø   These canoes should be rendered unsinkable in calm water.  AND, it must be the   practice of all paddlers to load day, and/or overnight trip gear into the boats in waterproof packs  (garbage bags and other innovative waterproofing techniques are acceptable) and these packs should be secured to the canoe in such a way as to add to the overall floatation of the canoe and gear in the case of upset.  Such gear must be secured such that it cannot come loose and hinder rescue (i.e. tied in tightly or  stuffed under seats).  It is recommended that a swamped big canoe have enough flotation so that its gunwales are 5” above the water surface. Many older models do not have this much floatation, but if you are unsure, test your canoe before the brigade. It must have positive buoyancy when swamped.

Ø   Canoes are to have on board at all times:

o   Spare paddles – minimum 2

o   Approved PFD for each paddler.  Paddlers are required to wear their PFDs at all times when on the water.

o   A sound making device, commercial air horn preferred

o   A minimum of two manual bailing devices – buckets or hand pumps.  Two 10-20 litre buckets and a hand pump are recommended.

o   A first aid kit

o   GMRS radio with a minimum capability of 16 km, or a working cell phone. Not all canoes need radios, cell phones are adequeate for communication, but radios are more reliable.

o   A minimum of two 15 m Throw Bags of floating 10 mm line.  Normally one bag shall be secured at one end to a grab loop, and the second shall be immediately available mid-canoe for rescue work.

o   4 (four) locking carabineers, two with each throw-bag

o   A repair kit of materials appropriate to the construction of the canoe.  Duct Tape, wire, spare nuts & bolts of sizes similar to those in the canoe, silicone repair caulk/adhesive, appropriate resin and materials for significant hull repairs. For those with rental canoes, repair materials willbe provided.

o   Flashlight and spare batteries

o   “grab loops” near each end of the canoe for attaching rescue linesare strongly recommended.  These grab loops must be strongly secured and capable of taking the full weight of the canoe when swamped. (up to the individual crew captain).

o   At least One “rentry”  (grab loop) strap per canoe (decision of the individual crew captain)

General Paddling Practices

 Each morning crew captain submit completed Crew Sign-out forms (see Appendix B) , so we know who is paddling with whom, when, in what canoe.

Each morning crew captains should review the route. Crew captains are responsible for having a map of the route for each day. (can print out from

 At all times during the brigade canoes are to paddle in groups of  three to six or more canoes.   At NO times should a canoe be traveling alone, if one canoe stops, all canoes in the group sub-unit stop!  Canoe crews should find other crews of similar capability (speed, motivation, etc.) to travel with.  At no time should canoes be ahead of the designated ‘lead’ canoe, or behind the designated ‘sweep’ canoe.

At times of greater risk or difficulty paddlers MUST follow the instructions of the group leader, who at times:
will attempt to balance canoes for physical ability and experience.

may direct the order of canoes for approaching landings and portages.

may direct rescue attempts

Canoe – Flat water Rescue
Flat water rescue is problematic, the conditions (wind and waves usually) that necessitate rescue also make it difficult to effect a safe rescue.  The victims from a swamped canoe must attempt to remain with their boat.  The canoe is the most visible item for rescuers to locate.
Under most mild condition the quickest rescue is for the rescue canoe or boat to help stabilize the upset canoe, and one or two paddlers clamber in an begin to bail the canoe dry.  As the gunwales lift additional paddlers can climb in to help with the bailing.  Canoe captains must be familiar with this rescue technique and should be able to rescue a swamped canoe within 5 minutes.
First priority is to identify the most vulnerable paddlers and get them out of the water. This is the responsibility of the crew captains. In a rescue, the captain should be the first to board the swamped canoe and then directs the rescue from inside the canoe. The second person in should be strong enough to help less capable persons into the canoe.

Leg/Day Cancellation

Conditions Leading to Cancellation

o      It is difficult to state specifically what circumstances could lead to delay or the cancellation of a days paddle.  The most likely is weather:

o      Extremely bad weather: high winds that result in considerable risk to paddlers or  even make paddling impossible (lakes), or very high winds with risk of windfall (portages); severe rain or hail, lightning storms, tornadoes, Forest fire, flooding, or other natural disasters

Who Makes Decision to Cancel

Ø   Making the decision to cancel should be done by the Brigade Organizer, Safety Chair, Brigade group leaders, and the Canoe Crew Leaders.  The Brigade organizer, safety chair  and  Canoe Crew leaders will be responsible for cancelling a days paddle on route.

Procedures to Follow in the Event of Cancellation

Ø    Each evening, or morning, at least 90 minutes prior to scheduled departure, the Brigade organizer, brigade group leaders, safety chair, and canoe crew captains shall meet and determine if weather conditions are conducive to safe paddling. This group shall have the best available weather reports and route maps.  If an evening meeting is held a morning meeting will be necessary when conditions are marginal or worse.  Canoe Crew captains will be responsible for notifying their crews of any cancellation.



Ø   For reliable contact the following shall carry a cell phone:

o   Brigade Organizer – on the water

o   Sweep and lead canoes– on the water

  • If additional phones are available then they should be spread out within the paddling groups

o   Safety Chair

o   Each participating canoe

Cellular Phones

With a cellular phone, you may contact Rescue Coordination Centers directly. Or, by dialing *16, you will contact the nearest Canadian Coast Guard Marine Communications and Traffic Services Center. Remember that a cellular phone is not a good substitute for a marine radio and it is not an approved means of issuing a distress call. Making a call does not alert other boaters close to you – those other boats could be the ones to help you first if they could hear you. Unlike VHF transmissions, cellular phone signals cannot be followed back to your location by rescuers. Contact your cellular provider to find out if you have access to the *16 service.

Ø   For reliable on the water contact, it is recommended that the following shall carry GMRS Radios:

o   Safety Chair

o   Brigade Organizer

o   Sweep and Lead canoes

o   Each canoe

Marine VHF Radio

VHF Radio
Marine VHF radio is the recommended means of issuing a distress alert. If you have a marine VHF radio, keep it tuned to channel 16.

Know where you are at all times and be prepared to describe your location accurately. In case of grave and imminent danger (for example, your boat is taking on water and you are in danger of sinking or capsizing) use channel 16 and repeat “MAYDAY” three times. Then give the name of your vessel and its position, the nature of your problem and the type of assistance needed.


Channel 16 is used for EMERGENCY and CALLING purposes only. If possible, take your conversation to a working frequency once you have called another vessel on channel 16.

Anyone who uses a VHF radio must follow the procedures described in the VHF Radiotelephone Practices and Procedures Regulations. Currently, all VHF radio operators are required to have a Restricted Operator’s Certificate (ROC) with maritime qualifications. Canada recognizes the American Certificate.

For more information on the ROC, contact the Canadian Power & Sail Squadrons (CPS) toll-free at: 1-888-277-2628.

Ø   All of the above must be familiar with their cell phone and GMRS radio operation.

Ø   A test of the appropriate radios and phones shall be done each morning before, or as part of the brigade departure.

Ø   (in conjunction with other personnel, and within government regulations).

Overdue Canoes/Crews

Prevention & Preparation

Ø   Ideally, the need for a search should not arise.  We must do everything we can to prevent people staying out past leg closing times, and to prevent crews from getting lost. There may, however, be occasions where our best efforts to prevent an overdue crew may fail (e.g. due to injury, medical emergency, or weather conditions).

Identifying Overdue Crew

  • The Brigade Organizer or designate will be responsible for maintaining a record of all departing and arriving crews each day.

Prior to Conducting Search – Determining if a Search is Necessary

Ø   The Safety Chair or Brigade organiser will attempt contact by radio or phone any/all missing crew(s).

Ø   The Safety Chair or Brigade Organiser will contact by radio or phone all other marshals, and canoe crews still on the water, and attempt to determine location and status of missing crew.

Ø   The Brigade Organizer will deal with friends and relatives, informing them of the situation and the procedures being undertaken.  The purpose is to reassure them and prevent them from rushing out to search for the overdue participant.

The Safety Chair will check Brigade Records to see if the overdue crew or participants with the crew are on the list of people who have provided information on pre-existing medical conditions.

Decision to Initiate Search

Ø   The decision to initiate a search, after the above attempts to find the person, should be made by the Brigade organizer, Safety Chair, and a local authority, in this case the Ontario Provincial Police Marine unit (911; or for non-emergency 613-283-6911). Such decision should be first considered 2 hours after the estimated arrival (eta) time of the missing person or crew.

Ø   The actual decision as to how and when to start a search will depend upon circumstances.  It is difficult to give precise directions, since there are many factors, such as the age, health and experience of the participant(s); weather conditions; length of time the participants are overdue; etc.

Ø   Examples of factors to be considered include:

  • age, health, experience of the participants/crew
  • weather conditions
  • length of time the participant is overdue
  • what part of the course they were last seen (e.g. water stations, exchange sites, other participants)
  • amount of daylight left
  • nature of the terrain and water conditions

A decision to call in other agencies (e.g. the police) for assistance, will be made once again by the above three officials.

Participants with Identified Medical Conditions  – this information will be treated as confidential and will only appear in the copy of the plan that resides with the Route & Safety Chair.

Ø   This refers to the participants who provide information to the organizers that they have a medical condition that the organisers should be aware of.

Ø   This information is provided voluntarily by some participants.  It is important that this information is kept confidential.  It must be recorded on a separate form, the only copy of which will be kept in the first aid files.  This information will be available to the Route & Safety Chair, and first aid or medical personnel only.

Ø   The information sheet should clearly indicate the person’s name, brigade crew/Crew, names and phone numbers of next-of-kin, and the particulars of the condition using the exact wording provided by the participant.

Sample medical information form:

We have a Chief Medical officer,  Rosemary Lay, (613-200-7373; , who has extensive medical experience as an emergency room nurse.  When something goes wrong medically, who you gonna call..Rosemary! Rosemary is your first point of contact in a medical emergency. Make sure you have her cell phone number and know who she is and what canoe she is paddling in.  Please fill out this information for your crew members, and email to Max (  It will be kept confidential, but shared with Rosemary.


Participants Who Identify Themselves as Medical Professionals – Registrar to provide

Ø   Contact Canadian participants prior to the event and ask if they wish to be identified as medical professionals and will help out in the event of an emergency (e.g., EMT, nurse, physician, physiotherapist, etc.)

Ø   The registrar will provide this information to the Route & Safety Chair and Brigade Organizer.

Ø   Ontario like most Canadian provinces has a “Good Samaritan Act” that protects medical personnel who respond to an emergency as a volunteer.  For further information see:



Appendix A

 Incident Report Form

1 –  Incident: ______________________________________  Time/ Date: ______________________

2 – Reported by: ____________________________________ Time/Date: _______________________

3 – Initial Response by: __________________________________ Time/Date: ___________________

4 – Nature/Type of Incident: ___________________________________________________________

5 – Action(s) taken: __________________________________________________________________

6 – Location / Site of Incident and responses: ______________________________________________

7 – Name(s): of  victims/patients (Age, Gender, Condition, Contact info’):     Total # involved: ____________

8 – Further Response by / and Actions taken: _____________________________________________

9 – Incident Details:

Description  (What happened): ___________________________________________________



Presumed Cause: ______________________________________________________________



Other Factors/Details: __________________________________________________________


10 – Witnesses (Name, address, phone #, how involved)

1 – _________________________________________________________________________


2 – _________________________________________________________________________


3 – _________________________________________________________________________


11 – Incident Report Form Completed by:

Name _______________________________________________________________________

Address _____________________________________________________________________

Phone # ________________________________ e-mail _______________________________

Role at WMOC _______________________________________________________________

Appendix B:

2017 Rideau Canal Canoe Brigade

Daily Crew Sign-out

For each day the evening prior ideally, but certainly prior to departure, crews are to resubmit or update IN WRITING their paddling crew shift assignments.  Both each paddling crew and the Brigade organizers must be aware of who is in each canoe at all times.

Crew __________________________________________________ Date(s) _____________________

Morning Reach ______________________________________________________________________

Afternoon Reach ____________________________________________________________________

Other _____________________________________________________________________________

Crew Leader 1_________________________________ Cell Phone # __________________________

Crew Leader 2_________________________________ Cell Phone # __________________________

Crew Members Paddling:  (please print legibly!)

Morning Shift Afternoon Shift Other