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Club Equipment

The club owns equipment for the use of its club members at scheduled events throughout the membership year and meant for use during the early phases of paddle sport development.

The club acknowledges it has a “Duty of Care” to ensure equipment is maintained in a serviceable condition (Reference Consumer Protection Act 2008 and Health and Safety Act).

Note: It is expected that members use their own equipment at intermediate and advanced level due to the general risk associated with the anticipated water condition and the associated importance of equipment fitment to those individual members. It is strongly advised that the member ensure correct fitment to avoid injury.

Equipment Access

Access to using club equipment is only made via the Quartermaster whose contact details can be found on the club website or by emailing If the quartermaster is not available the coaching officer or trip organiser may be contacted. 

Bookings and Equipment Returns

The following guidelines are provided for the use of club equipment:

  • Equipment can only be issued to fully paid-up members of PCC for their personal use.
  • Only the Quartermaster, or in His absence the Coach Officer or Club Chairman, may issue equipment
  • All equipment will be booked in and out as identified in the ‘Maintenance & Inspection’ section.
  • Pre-booked Club courses have equipment priority over other requirements.
  • Buoyancy aids, cagoules, spray deck and helmets must be returned clean and dry. Salty or extremely dirty boats should be rinsed out before being returned.
  • Any damaged equipment must be reported to the Quartermaster, including loss of footrest nuts or bungs.
  • Club members will be liable for any damage or loss which the Committee considers has been caused by negligence on their part.
  • Any Club member who fails to comply with the rules will be reported to the Committee and may be banned from using club equipment in the future.

Maintenance & Inspection

Routine checks will help to identify defective equipment but may not pick up on recently damaged items. Conversely, checking items when they are taken out and again on return may not be thorough enough.

Defective items noticed during a session can easily get put away without being recorded.

All Club equipment shall be inspected for wear and tear, damage and condition. The date of the last inspection shall be recorded in the Master Equipment Register.

The Quartermaster will schedule thorough checks and carry out routine maintenance as part of the regular inventory at least once a year. Also, equipment is to be checked when it is taken out and again when it is returned. Defective equipment is to be isolated until it has been repaired. Records of checks, maintenance and isolated equipment are to be maintained in the Master Equipment Register.

If you see any Club equipment that needs attention or repair, advise the Quartermaster using SLACK. If you think that any item is dangerous ensure that the person running that particular session is aware and removes the item so it cannot be used.

To prevent defective items from inadvertently mixing back into the system any defective equipment shall be marked (with brightly coloured adhesive tape) so that it is not used. Any dangerous equipment will be physically removed from use by the person managing the session.

The Quartermaster shall ensure that equipment recorded as defective, is not used, and is reported to the committee where disposal or repair will be authorised. Equipment that is not to be repaired shall be either sold or made unusable, for example by cutting in half, before disposal.

All Club equipment shall be permanently marked so that it can be easily identified against the Equipment Register which is kept up to date for audit and insurance purposes.

The Master Equipment Register will be maintained by the Quartermaster and held on a database on the club website with committee members having access to it.

The Master Equipment Register will contain the inventory of all the equipment and full details of all equipment, maintenance, repairs and overall condition.

Checking Issued Equipment.

Where equipment and boat checklists are available they should be used to ensure all relevant checks are made.

Single day outings and sessions: where equipment is issued to individuals, the member running the session is responsible for:

  1. Checking equipment for wear and damage when issued and returned.
  2. Removing or marking any faulty equipment and informing the quartermaster.

Where equipment is issued for longer periods this whole process should be managed by the quartermaster, who will check and record all items issued and returned. The member receiving the items is responsible for caring and maintaining them as indicated by the quartermaster. If a fault or damage occurs during this period the quartermaster must be informed and the items not used if there is any risk to the user or further damage to the equipment is likely. If the quartermaster is not available for the issue or return, the process can be managed by a committee member or the senior instructor for the event. All relevant checks and recording will be carried out by that person and the quartermaster informed by email so that a written record exists which is available to the quartermaster.

Canoes and Kayaks

Use of all boats is to conform to the manufacturer’s guidelines and to current BC guidelines on buoyancy, footrests and grab handles and toggles.

Maximum buoyancy (air bags) should be fitted where boats are used on open water or rivers. A visual inspection must be carried out before each use/ issue.

All club members are to be briefed on correct manual handling techniques regarding the lifting and carrying of equipment.

Annual inspection

All Club boats and equipment will undergo annual inspections. These inspections will be logged in the Master Equipment Register and reported back to the committee by the quartermaster. The register will be made available to others at the discretion of the committee.

Inspection of boats

Boats are to be checked for overall soundness of the hull, condition of associated equipment (air bags etc.) and correct fitments. Inspections are to ensure that a person would not be placed in any danger, due to faulty or missing items on the boat when in use.

Any temporary repairs during a trip or session will not be acceptable as part of an inspection and should be removed in order to carry out a thorough examination.

Rough edges or damaged wood creating splinters, frayed ropes, delamination of ply, sharp glass fibres or gel coat blips, rusted fittings, insecure fixings and illegal foot rests are not acceptable.

All tests (1 to 3) should be completed at the discretion of the Quartermaster or appointed boat inspector. Note: K – Refers to Kayaks, OC – Refers to Open Canoes

(1) Saturation Test – Boat to be completely swamped to ensure buoyancy is sufficient to keep it floating at the surface.

(2) Internal Inspection – Buoyancy must be secure and not hinder exit from the craft. Foam buoyancy must be inspected for signs of deterioration.

Where air bags are fitted, and not already inflated, these must be inflated a minimum of thirty minutes to test their integrity.

All internal surfaces of boats must be free from sharp edges and splinters.

  • K: There must be nothing within the cockpit area which prevents an easy exit from the craft in the event of a capsize. 
    • Seats must be secure and free from cracks and splinters.
    • Thigh braces must be secure and free from cracks and splinters.
    • Footrests (where present) must not be able to entrap a foot. Where a foot can pass beyond a footrest, a “fail safe” release system should be in place.
  • OC: Seats and thwarts must be secure and free from cracks and splinters. Individuals using open boats must ensure that the seat is at a height which will allow a kneeling paddler to remove their feet without hindrance.

Any internal fittings not mentioned above must be in good condition and must not hinder a capsized paddler exiting their upturned craft.

(3) External Inspection – Hull to be inspected to ensure there are no cracks and splinters. Where doubts as to the integrity of the hull exist, the craft should be subjected to a Water Leak Test to ensure that no holes are present. This involves pouring a minimum of four litres of water into the boat, and then tilting the craft on its sides and ends to see if any water escapes. Any repairs which have been made to the craft should not adversely affect its structural integrity.

Manufacturers grab handles and/ or toggles must be fitted at both the bow and the stern of the boat. If insufficient grab handles are present suitable painters are to be provided, care is to be taken as to ensure that painters don’t cause entrapment or potential snagging.

  • K: The cockpit rim must be free from any splinters and sharp edges which could cause damage to the paddler’s spray decks, buoyancy aids and clothing. Deck lines are only recommended where boats are being used on the sea or open water or for the purpose of touring. Where these are fitted they must be secure and tight to the main deck so as to cause minimal risk of entanglement to a paddler who has exited their capsized craft.
  • OC: If a painter is fitted it should ideally consist of a minimum of 3 metres of 10mm diameter floating rope and should adhere to a “clean line” principle i.e. no knots along its length.

Buoyancy Aids/ Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs)

All Club PFDs will have the date purchased, supplier, type, colour, size, Serial number and the Newton weight recorded in the Master Equipment Register.

All lifejackets and buoyancy aids issued by the Club must conform to current CE standards and be appropriate to the requirements of the activity that it is issued for. A visual inspection must occur at each issue.

CE and ISO standards explained

The CE and ISO standards use Newtons as the form of measurement. The N symbol equates to the minimum number of Newton’s for the average adult. A Newton is a measurement of force, and can be determined by applying a measured load. In effect a 50N buoyancy aid will support a weight of 5.5 kg. This minimum stated buoyancy should be available in the device for the duration of its life.

Frequency of use, abuse, and conditions of use and storage will all affect the buoyancy of the equipment over the course of its life. Typically the average life expectancy for a buoyancy aid is between 3-5 years. It is recommended that buoyancy aids are checked to ensure that sufficient buoyancy remains.

Annual Checks

All Personal Flotation Devices will be checked annually for signs of wear and tear particularly to stitching and zips. These inspections will be logged in the Master Equipment Register which will be made available for inspection.

Weight Test

An appropriate metal weight is attached to the buoyancy aid. The buoyancy aid and weight are placed into a sufficiently deep tank of water making sure to remove any air and other extraneous buoyancy from the buoyancy Aid.

If the buoyancy aid continues to float on the surface with the weight attached it meets the required buoyancy. If it fails to float it must be immediately discarded.

Note: Due to the varying density of metals, different dry weights are required for different metals.

Weights for Buoyancy Aid Testing – 50N Standard

Minimum buoyancy Lead weight Iron or steel weight Cast iron weight

  • 50N 5.5kg 5.7kg 5.8kg
  • 45N 4.9kg 5.2kg 5.2kg
  • 40N 4.4kg 4.6kg 4.6kg
  • 35N 3.8kg 4.0kg 4.1kg


All Club helmets will have the date purchased, size and unique reference number marked on them.

All Club owned Helmets must conform to current CE/ISO standards.

Helmets must be strong and lightweight, and must provide protection for all of the head including, the back of head, forehead and temple and have enough buoyancy to float. The helmet must also have a strap/ buckle to hold it securely on the head, have a lining to protect from impacts and to provide a separation distance between head and shell in case of puncture of the helmet.

Inspections must check for wear/damage and results recorded in the Master Equipment Register.

Manufacturers recommended lifespan will be adhered to.

Spray decks.

All spray-decks should be fit for purpose and must have a good strap for removing the deck quickly from the kayak.

Spray deck inspections must check for wear and damage and results recorded in the Master Equipment Register. A visual inspection by the issuer must occur at each issue


Paddles should be securely fitted to the shaft and be free of sharp edges, splinters and cracks. Shafts must not be bent or corroded which may lead to failure during use.

Paddle inspections must check for damage and results recorded in the Master Equipment Register. A visual inspection by the issuer must occur at each issue.


Clothing must be checked for wear and damage and results recorded in the Master Equipment Register. A visual inspection must occur at each issue.

Issue/Booking out of Club Equipment

The club will provide each club member with access to the following equipment:

  • A buoyancy aid of correct size and capacity for the paddler
  • A helmet of suitable size.
  • A spray deck of sufficient size and fit for the boat being paddled.
  • A kayak of suitable size and model for the water grade being paddled. Correct sized and handed paddles

Sufficient safety equipment will also be provided for specific events as follows:

  • First Aid Kit (fully stocked)
  • Spare Paddles
  • Throw lines of suitable length and number for the activity. Throw lines are carried by the group leader/ coach in charge.

Club organised paddles take precedent over individual members wants when issuing club equipment.

Access to club equipment is to be with the consent of the Quartermaster. Committee members may issue equipment but should consult with the quartermaster and always record and inform the quartermaster of the situation. Individuals borrowing equipment must provide proof of membership and of identity. The equipment issue sheet is to be completed in full and in all circumstances.

When borrowing club equipment the Participants shall visually inspect all Club equipment before use. If the Participant does not have sufficient experience, either the coach running the session or Quartermaster shall assist them with the inspection.

Liability of Members using Club Equipment

Members borrowing Club equipment shall exercise due care to avoid loss or damage. Members borrowing Club equipment shall be liable for making good any damage or loss beyond fair wear and tear. The Quartermaster shall agree any liability for loss or damage with the Member. In the event that agreement is not possible the matter shall be referred to the Committee.

Members borrowing club equipment shall prove to the issuing officer that adequate security devices such as cable locks will be used whenever the equipment is unattended in line with the Club’s current insurance policy.

Returning Equipment


When returning equipment all boats should be empty of water and returned to the correct location.

Equipment borrowed for extended periods of time is to be checked for damage/ wear and tear more thoroughly as detailed in the sections above.


Placed in appropriate marked wheelie bin/ stacking area.


All Club PFS should be zipped up and hung up on the Clothes rail in the appropriate space for its size.

All equipment will then be placed back into Store Room by senior paddlers.

Borrowing of club equipment by other groups or non-members

As a norm the club does not advocate the loaning of club equipment to third party groups. However there have been occasions where consideration has been given. The following provides guidelines for such cases.

The following considerations should be made when loaning Club equipment:

  • By using Pirates Canoe Club equipment, users should accept the following liability disclaimers:
    • All persons using club equipment do so at their own risk.
    • Neither the club nor its officers can accept liability for any loss or injury of any kind sustained as a result of defective equipment.
  • The club is a non-profit organisation and thus does not hire equipment. It does, however, lend equipment by mutual formal agreement.
  • It is recognised that without compensation for general wear, maintenance and/or service, the standard and availability of equipment will diminish. Thus where equipment is borrowed a donation to club funds and/or a service fee may be considered. As an indication to costs for flat water non-abrasive conditions:
    • The replacement of a boat and associated equipment is estimated at £1000 including a paddle, buoyancy aid, helmet and deck.
    • Equipment should be replenished every five years
    • Based on the assumption that it’s used once a week over that five years, gives a usage rate of 260 sessions.
    • The residual value of equipment after year five is £100
    • Calculated cost of use per session = £1000-£100/260, which gives an estimated cost of wear and tear per session of £3.46 per boat. (A suggested contribution for the loan of 10 boats and equipment for a flat water session is therefore £34.60)
    • Inflation and depreciation may be considered where appropriate refer to the below inflation guide:
      • Wear& tear per session (No inflation) £3.46
      • Wear& tear per session (5 years at 4%) £4.21
      • Wear& tear per session (5 years at 3%) £4.01
      • Wear& tear per session (5 years at 2%) £3.60
      • Equipment in 5 years (no inflation) £1,000.00
      • Equipment in 5 year (4%) £1,216.65
      • Equipment in 5 year (3%) £1,159.27
      • Equipment in 5 years (2%) £1,104.08

Note: The club white water specification boats are not considered appropriate for external use.

However, where such boats are borrowed for white water trips (and subject to prior authorisation by the committee) the applied wear and tear factor shall be five times that of the flat water calculations. Thus for the same calculation in (e) a contribution in the order of £173 should be considered.

  • Donations, service fees and/or contributions should be made payable the Club Treasurer by cheque or account transfer.
  • Agreements shall have a start and end date. Prior to the end date, and in consideration of renewal, any donations, revisions to agreement and/or change on requirements shall be mutually agreed in writing.
  • Agreements shall be signed by the Quartermaster, Coaching Officer and Chairman of the club. The agreement should also be signed by a third party representative with the appropriate authority to uphold the terms of agreement.
  • The agreement may be terminated at any time by prior to written agreement. Club equipment shall not be used following formal receipt of the written termination
  • Club equipment may only be used by authorised personnel by prior written agreement, the details of which shall be sanctioned by the committee before use.
  • Equipment should only be booked out by BC/UKCC accredited coaches. The coaches shall adhere to all BC/UKCC guidelines and maintain their qualifications (including first aid etc).
  • Equipment shall be booked out through the Quartermaster or as agreed in writing over a scheduled period.
  • Equipment should be inspected by a competent UKCC coach prior to use. All defects will be reported by email to the club Quartermaster. Where defects may result in risk to paddlers the equipment should be removed from service immediately until it’s been repaired. Defective equipment that cannot be repaired must only be destroyed by the Quartermaster.
  • Where coaches are working with people under eighteen years of age and/or vulnerable people they shall adhere to club guidelines. In particular, coaches will have been successfully screened by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) or its successor the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). For advice on this please discuss with the club welfare officer
  • Where equipment s specifically marked for pool use only it shall not be used on open river or seas (specifically not for external activities)
  • Aging or defective buoyancy marked for pool use has been down rated for impact protection only.
  • Users of pool equipment will have sufficient skills to exit a capsized boat safely and swim to the pool side unaided or be directly supervised until such time as this is achieved.
  • There should be two alternative points of contact with recorded email and phone numbers. Contacts details should be updated at the earliest convenience where these are changed.
  • The following:
    • I have read and agree to abide by this agreement between Pirate’s Canoe Club and [Name] and agree to pay any agreed fees and/or donations. I understand that kayaking is a risk sport and that [name] use the Pirates Canoe Club equipment entirely at our own risk

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