Group Control & On-Water Patterns

If paddlers are journeying in groups, what are the requirements, options, advantages and dangers of each?

In a group, the issue of leadership must be addressed before launching. Responsibility should be shared as agreed. Four paddlers each 100’ apart is a 400’ boat to big boat captains.

What shape do you want the group to take on the water? What is the safety and psychological effect of the various structures? What other patterns can you think of, other than the overused lead/sweep configuration?

Are you at the front, in the middle of, or behind?
Are you up wind so they can hear you?
Or down current so you can catch them floating past?
How might you incorporate other competent members?

What about running a surf or rock garden session?
Where do you station the rescuers?
The starters?
What is the return course?

What do you do when approaching a danger area?
Shallows or ledges?
Anchored boats?
Between 2 structures?

What about as you approach a landing zone?
Are you first or last?

How do you best get the group on the water?
What are your program’s goals?

Destination disease, decisions to abort or modify journeys.
Signals to be relied upon, especially if noisy or low visibility.
Stopping or meeting places.
How/who is going to respond to which type of incident?

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