CORONAVIRUS SAFE PADDLING PROCEDURES

At Kayak Summer Isles, we take the Coronavirus pandemic extremely seriously. Working with advice from the Scottish Canoe Union we have worked extremely hard through the last few months to ensure that our trips can run safely to you, our staff and our community. All we ask is if you can please take the time to familiarise yourself with our new operating procedures before your trip.


WHAT HAS CHANGED

Reduced Capacity: For the time being we are not running at the same capacity that we normally do. Although we are allowed up to two groups at a time, we have decided to maintain our group sizes to one social or household bubble per trip. We at Kayak Summer Isles feel this is safer and easier for us to maintain proper physical distancing throughout our activity. The good news for you…you’ll get a private trip!

No Shared Equipment: We will no longer be able to share equipment between our guide and guests when on the water, instead we will provide you with a pre-packed bag with everything you need to stay safe and comfortable during the day. You will be asked to look after this during the trip. We are still proudly providing the same high quality of equipment that we always have, our only exception is that we cannot currently provide shoes. All we ask is you bring your own shoes/old trainers/neoprene boots with you.

Masks, Gloves and Hand Sanitiser: During our meetings, brief, handing out and moving of equipment, our guides will be wearing a mask and gloves. This is to protect you and them. We will provide in all of our kayaks a bottle of hand sanitiser for the day, which we encourage you to use between handling of equipment. Good hand hygiene is one of the best suppressants to the virus.

Physical distancing: We like the term physical distancing, as we believe even from 2m+ kayaking is one of the most wonderfully social sports. To conform to distancing guidelines we will ask you to remain a minimum of 2m from our guides and any other guests out-with your social bubble during our time together. It’s wonderfully easy in a kayak, thats about the length of a paddle. If we do need to come within the 2m limit our staff will endeavour to wear masks and gloves. We also ask your understanding that in the unlikely event it is required for our guide to assist you for your own personal and immediate safety they may be required to come into closer contact, this only as a last resort should no other option be possible.

No More Provided Hot Drinks: It is deeply regrettable to us that for the time being we cannot offer our world renowned Kelly Kettle Cuppa’s. We hope this won’t be for too long, our hot chocolates, teas and coffees will be back. For the time being you are most welcome to bring your own flask.

Toned Back Approach: We have and always will endeavour to choose the safest and most appropriate venue for our trips. However, we are encouraging our guests to manage their expectations during the effort to suppress the pandemic. This means we may choose to stay in more sheltered waters and closer to the coast than we might normally do during our trips. But don’t worry this doesn’t come a compromise to what there is to explore, we are still here to make your day a memory to last a lifetime. It is our hope that you leave with new skills, confidence and aspirations to paddle more in the future as we manage our day to suit your needs. As always, cancellations for wind will be offered the chance to postpone or refund your trip.

Greater Independence: We will be giving you, the paddler a greater independence when it comes to equipping and securing yourself into your kayak. Don’t worry if you’ve never done it before, we will help guide you through it. The big difference is we won’t be handling your kayak to do it for you, you’ll become your own master of your boat.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Prior to your activity day:

  • We will ask you to complete our detailed registration form prior to your trip. This allows us to appropriately reserve the right size of equipment and best manage the day to your needs.
  • Our new form includes more medical questions relating Covid-19 and whether individuals or anyone in their household or extended social bubble have had Covid 19 in the last 14 days. This is for your, our and our communities safety. If you have declared to have shown symptoms or have been in contact, you will not be allowed to participate in said activity.
  • All your equipment provided by us will be loaded and packed by our instructor whilst wearing protective gloves and face mask.

Meeting Our Guides:

First Meet and Greet:
  • Our guides will arrange a meeting point suitable to equip and brief you in an open, outdoor environment. This will be done outdoors at a venue of our choice to suit the conditions and your ability.
  • Our instructors will be wearing mask and gloves when first meeting you.
  • To keep physical distancing, we will not be giving hand-shakes/hugs/fist bumps when we meet you. We know it’s strange to meet from afar and it feels a little awkward for us too so we might encourage a friendly bow or wave, spok-salute instead… of you can go 110% and say hello with the biggest, highest star jump you’ve ever done! The choice is yours.
  • All equipment will be loaded and packed by the instructor wearing protective gloves and face mask.
Briefing:
  • Our briefing will be held in an open outdoor area which allows for physical distancing measures.
  • Our guide will be wearing a mask and gloves during the briefing.
Handing Out Equipment:
  • When equipment is being handed out our guide will be wearing face mask and gloves.
  • We will hand the equipment by placing it for you and allowing you to collect your bag yourself.
  • Once the equipment has been handed to you, it is yours to look after throughout the day, no sharing or exchanging of equipment will be permitted.
  • Our guide will give a demonstration on how to correctly and comfortably don your equipment, this might involve us coaching you how to help each other if you are within the same house-hold bubble.
  • Our guide will directly assist you in donning equipment as a last resort only, should this be required the guide shall be wearing protective gloves and a face mask during the intervention.
  • Our guide will visually check all our guests equipment to ensure it is safely and correctly fitted before we begin our activity.
  • Any equipment that is not being used for the activity will be moved by the guide into an isolated box in our staff vehicle or trailer. This will remain separate from any equipment used during the activity.
  • Our guide will demonstrate correct sitting posture from a distance outside his boat for ease of visuals, we have developed a special demonstration device to show how our footrests work, so you can gain the independence to adjust them yourself, its super neat and we’re quite proud of it!

Packing / Launching / Landing

Packing and Moving Kayaks to Launch/Land:
  • We will encourage our guest to store their equipment in their kayaks front or day hatch for the day, these hatches are easier to operate than the back hatch.
  • Our guides will do a visual inspection of the hatches once packed to ensure they are correctly fitted. Instructing our guests to adjust if needed.
  • Should our guest be unable to re-seal the hatch by themselves, our guide will assist at a social distance while wearing mask and gloves.
  • We will endeavour to select our venues where our guests can safely launch and land their kayaks by themselves with appropriate guidance.
  • Our guides will correctly demonstrate safe lifting and moving from a distance before lifting.
  • Our guide will assist in the lifting of your kayak/canoe from the front , asking you to assist from the back of the craft. This ensures safe social distancing and allows the guide to safely handle your kayak in the event of a rescue. The front handled by the guide will be wiped after lifting with disinfectant gel, however contact is to be avoided by the guest, there is no reason you will need to handle the bow during the activity.
  • When Launching, if social distancing cannot be maintained the guide will do a staggered launch while asking those on the water to wait close to shore. Our guide will assess whether it is necessary for them to be on the water before or after our guests are launched.
  • Spray skirts may not be worn if the conditions allow, this makes the entry process smoother and easier.
  • If spray skirts are required, guests will be encouraged to help each other within household bubbles when donning the skirt. If still unable to do so, our guide will assist while wearing mask and gloves.

On the Water:

  • Our guide will maintain physical distancing of a minimum of 2m during our time on the water. This includes during stops for lunch, launching and landing.
  • Our guide is not required to wear gloves or a mask during this stage of the activity and may choose not to, this is in compliance with working in a safe outdoor space.

Rescues

  • We will endeavour, in the first instance, to select venues where self-rescue is easily achieved.
  • As part of our introductory brief, our guide will give instructions to the participants on self-rescue and how to achieve this.
  •  All rescues will first be attempted via self-rescue and group assistance.
  • If a rescue is required by the guide, they will first attempt a socially distant assisted rescue. The distance from our shortest kayaks bow to the cockpit is 2.3m, our guide will assist your re-entry by stabilising your boat from the bow, he may ask for help from other members of your group to make your re-entry easier.
  • If self-rescue and group assistance is not working or there seems to be an imminent risk to life, then the instructor will provide direct assistance. The instructor will make every effort to wear a face mask and protective gloves during said rescue but this cannot be guaranteed and a dynamic risk assessment and the level of risk to life will determine whether the instructor has time to equip themselves with said items.
  • If possible, any first aid treatment shall be administered by the individual in question or by the group to the individual under the guidance of the guide.
  • If the instructor has to administer first aid directly then this will be done wearing a face mask and protective gloves. However, this cannot be guaranteed and a dynamic risk assessment and the level of risk to life will determine whether the instructor has time to equip with said items.

Handing Back Equipment Post Trip

  • At the end of the session participants shall be asked to return the sea kayaks to an area near to the trailer, as the same way our guide will carry from the bow.
  • Our guide will use our soap sprayer to coat the contact points of the kayak in a layer of disinfectant solution before loading onto the trailer.
  • Our guide will load the sea kayaks wearing protective gloves to further minimise contact
  • All paddling equipment worn by the participants will be removed by yourself, with distanced guidance from our instructor. If working in teams between the group is required they must be within the same household.
  • If group assistance cannot help with the removal of said equipment the instructor will render assistance whilst wearing protective gloves and a face mask.
  • You will be asked to leave your equipment in a sealed box which our guide will ask you to fix a lid to, once full and closed they will spray the box with disinfectant solution before loading to an external trailer cage wearing gloves.
  • If you develop any symptoms or test positive for Coronavirus up to 14 days after our trip together, we ask you to please inform us to help us aid in possible contact tracing efforts.

Back at Base

  • During the cleaning, handling and packing procedures our staff will be wearing masks and gloves.
  • All hard surface (kayaks/canoes & Paddles) equipment that has been used will be sprayed down with a disinfectant solution, with particular care to contact points. This will air dry naturally.
  • •All equipment that cannot be wiped down with anti-bacterial wipes will be thoroughly rinsed in fresh water or a soap solution if necessary and allowed to dry in an isolated containment for 72 hours between group use. This is in accordance with the government guidelines for virus suppression.

HOW YOU CAN HELP US

Respect our Distancing Measures and Hygiene:

Maintaining physical distancing is a team effort. Please co-operate with our guides instructions to maintain a minimum of 2m between other household bubbles during your activity. We know it feels a little awkward at times, but let’s embrace it and make the best of a bizarre situation. Please do use the hand sanitiser we provide you between contacting equipment and avoid unnecessary contact if possible and If you do need to cough or sneeze, cover your mouth with your elbow. Good Teamwork makes dreams work.

If You Have Your Own Equipment, Bring it.

We can, and will provide everything part from shoes to keep you safe and well on our kayak trips. However please understand with our new measures of 72 hour isolation periods and smaller groups, that we are struggling as a small business with a low stock of available equipment. If you have your own safe paddling clothing, kayak, canoe or paddle we’d love it if you bring it. If you are unsure what is appropriate we are always happy to answer any questions on this.

If You Develop Symptoms

If you develop symptoms during our trip our afterward please do let us know. Whilst unlikely to be contracted through out trip, any symptoms you may have within 14 days of our trip is essential to let us know so we can help in contact tracing efforts. This is to protect us, our guests and our community.

Have Fun!

Ok…to finish, this one’s pretty easy. You join our trips to have an adventure of a lifetime where you come away with new skills and amazing memories. While respecting the guidelines we offer it’s also ok to have a laugh about it, our aim is that we all look back on these times with as much of a smile as our future will bring.

Stay safe. See you on the water soon.
Team KSI.