New Member Information


Welcome to Ipswich Canoe Club. This document is a compilation of details about the Ipswich Canoe Club that are not included in the Constitution of the Club. It also gives other details about canoeing in general.

  19.  SAFETY


Ipswich Canoe Club was formed in 1979 by canoeists to promote the sport in the Ipswich area and to provide the organisation necessary for paddlers of all abilities. We are firmly established, with a membership of over 150, and affiliated to the British Canoe Union (BCU).

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The Club provides a year-long programme of events with meetings on most weekends. A wide range of activities are on offer including gentle paddles on local rivers, paddling on moving water, races, sea canoeing, kayak surfing, open canoeing and white water trips to, Wales, Yorkshire, Devon and Scotland as well as other away trips throughout the year.

During the spring and summer months meetings also take place locally on Thursday evenings. At these meetings there are introductory courses for beginners, formal training for recognised qualifications available, and more informal events going on.

The Club also runs regular pool sessions during the winter months.

In the past Club members have taken part in regional and national racing and slalom competitions and some have reached high standards at national events.

The Club holds its annual race on the River Gipping. More recently members have taken part in Freestyle competitions.

There are social functions which family and friends are encouraged to join in.


The ‘Web Award’ is awarded annually for the most humorous capsize or swim of the year, if there is a deserving case!

The ‘Bishop Shield’ is awarded annually, if appropriate, to the best under 18.

Both the Web Award and Bishop Shield are awarded at the AGM, entirely at the discretion of the Committee.

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The Club can provide training for the following awards:

  • BCU Paddlepower Awards and BCU Star Awards – Kayak and Open Canoe
  • BCU Coaching Award Training
  • BCU Canoe Lifeguard Awards
  • Foundation Safety & Rescue (FSR) Training
  • Aquatic First Aid

Syllabuses for BCU awards can be obtained from the BCU website, Instructors or the Club Secretary.

The Club provides ‘Eskimo rolling’ and Safety & Rescue courses in a swimming pool.

If you are interested in any of these activities or any training please contact the Club Secretary or the Programme Organiser.

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Members should be aware that canoeing is an “assumed risk” sport, and whilst every effort is made to ensure the safety of its members, the Club cannot accept liability for any accidents or damages that occur to yourself, or to third parties or to any property owned by yourself or third parties.

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Categories are:

Adult – Over 18‟s.

Junior – Ages 11 to 18 years on 1st May.

Family – related or ‘involved’ people of any age living at the same address.

Membership is renewable on the 1st May of each year, current rates are advertised on the renewal form with the Spring/Summer edition of the club magazine, and on the ICC Website at . Renewal fees must be paid to the Membership Secretary within two weeks, otherwise (for insurance reasons) you will not be permitted to paddle in club sessions.

Those who join after the 1st January will receive membership until the 1st May of the following year.

Current members who become unemployed are not required to pay their fees until they have regained employment and they will only be liable for the current year’s fee and not for any previous years. They must, however, complete and return the Membership Renewal form annually stating their position.

Current members who leave to become students in full-time education away from the Ipswich area, will receive up to 3 years free membership. They must, however, complete and return the Membership Renewal form annually stating their position.

Paddlers under the age of 11 who are family members may paddle on some event but permission must be obtained from the coach in charge of the event and the young paddler must be accompanied on the water by a parent at all times (maximum of two under 11s to one parent).

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The ICC website can be found at:

As well as the public pages, there is a members lounge which is restricted to members of the club. This contains lots of useful information and can be accessed using the following:-

Username:- iccmember
Password:- thr0wline (that’s a zero in place of the ‘o’)

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For the purposes of the Data Protection Act 1984, all members are reminded that the membership information they have provided is held on computer.

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People are encouraged to tell your Instructor or trip leader of any health issues or allergies which may affect you whilst canoeing. This should be done before you go afloat.

Instructors have a duty to ask about your fitness.

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A membership list is published in the secure „members area‟ of the club website and is available for members to download. Please note this needs to be treated with confidentiality and should not be circulated outside the Club. You can opt out of this on your membership application form, or at any time after joining.

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You are provided with a Club sticker when you join, which must be displayed on your canoe. Please remove the sticker if you sell your boat to someone outside of the Club. Additional stickers can be purchased from the Membership Secretary.

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A club magazine containing news, event write-ups and other items of general interest is published four times a year along with a programme of events. These are accessible via the members area of the website. Please feel free to submit relevant articles for publication to the Magazine Editor.

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The club encourages its members to join the BCU/UKCC Coaching Scheme so that we can increase the number of volunteer instructors in our club. The club can contribute some part of the expenses incurred on the road to becoming an instructor, as well as advising the candidate on coaching grant applications. See the relevant club policy document for full details.

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The Club has a non-binding agreement with the following companies who are willing to offer Club members discounts on a range of goods. (You may need to show your membership card).

Nucleus Watersports 17, Hamilton Road, Felixstowe, 01394 272334 (up to 10%)

Nucleus Watersports, 204, Frinton Road. Holland on Sea, Clacton 01255 812146 (up to 10%)

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The Club has a range of canoes and kayaks with associated paddles, buoyancy aids and spraydecks which club members can borrow, both for club events and for private use, but are not for permanent loan.

There are several general purpose plastic kayaks all of which are suitable for flat water touring. Most are also suitable for water up to and including Grade III.

There are a number of small kayaks particularly suitable for juniors.

There are also a number of open Canadian canoes which are particularly suitable for family touring.

There are a fleet of polo Revenge polo boats which are swimming pool training kayaks.

The club also has some more specialised craft. There is a Topolino Duo, a modern plastic double kayak; a surf ski and a surf kayak; a white water racer; a closed deck slalom-type C1; and a closed deck old slalom-type C2. There is even a coracle.

There are a number of boats acquired by the Lifeguard unit including two sea kayaks and two sit-on kayaks which are also available for hire.

Please note that the club‟s general purpose boats are intended primarily for training beginners and we would expect members to be in possession of their own equipment once they have reached 2-Star standard. If you wish to borrow equipment, please book it beforehand by contacting the Equipment Officer, whose contact details can be found on the website or occasionally in the club magazine.

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All members who wish to use Ipswich Canoe Club equipment at any time, either for club events or private use, please read the following conditions of loan.

Membership of the club includes an agreement to abide by these rules before club equipment may be loaned.

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The ‘Club’ or ‘ICC’ is Ipswich Canoe Club.

The ‘Borrower’ is the person to whom the equipment is loaned by the Club.

The ‘User’ is the person using the equipment.

‘Equipment’ is Kayaks, Canoes, and associated Paddles, Spraydecks, Buoyancy aids, Helmets etc.

The ‘person in whose care the equipment is’ is the last person to either use, store or transport the equipment, whichever is the latter.

Terms and Conditions of Equipment Loans

  1. The borrower must be a currently paid-up member of the Club.
  2. If the borrower allows club equipment to be used by a non-member, the borrower is also, in the terms below, the user and the person in whose care the equipment is.
  3. Members may not borrow club equipment for commercial purposes or for use by other organisations without prior agreement with the ICC Committee.
  4. Equipment is loaned at the borrower‟s own risk.
  5. The borrower must ensure the equipment borrowed is in suitable order for the use to which it is to be put.
  6. Loan of equipment does not imply that the Club acknowledges the borrower is competent to use the equipment to its maximum specification.
  7. When collecting and returning equipment, the borrower must ensure the boat store is secure upon his/her departure from the store.
  8. The borrower must ensure the club equipment is adequately secured at all times. The Club may be able to provide security cables and padlocks for this purpose if requested by the borrower.
  9. If the equipment is adequately secured and is stolen, the Club will bear the loss.
  10. If the equipment is stolen when not adequately secured, the person in whose care the equipment is shall be liable for the cost of replacement.
  11. If equipment is lost, the person in whose care the equipment is shall be liable for the cost of replacement.
  12. If the equipment is damaged whilst being used within its specification (as detailed in the current club equipment list) by a suitably capable paddler or under the instruction and supervision of a suitably qualified coach, the Club will bear the cost.
  13. If the equipment is damaged whilst being used beyond its specification (as detailed in the current club equipment list) and outside the instruction and supervision of a suitably qualified coach, the user will bear the cost of repair or replacement.
  14. If the equipment is damaged whilst not in its intended use (such as in transit), the person in whose care the equipment is will bear the cost of repair or replacement.
  15. The borrower must report to the equipment to the Equipment Officer any damage and/or defects to the equipment promptly on its return
  16. When the equipment is borrowed for multi-member use at a club event the borrower is deemed to be the Club.
  17. When club equipment is borrowed by non-members at beginners‟ classes or „come and try it‟ sessions, the borrower is deemed to be the Club.
  18. Each member may borrow up to two Open Canoes or four Kayaks at any one time. Permission to borrow more will be considered by the ICC Committee upon request.
  19. Club Trailers are not available for use by members without prior agreement from the ICC Committee.
  20. Charges for the loan of equipment will be made according to the rates stated on the ICC Website. . Some of the more specialised and older canoes and kayaks can be borrowed free of charge. (Consult the equipment officer)
  21. In all matters relating to equipment loan, the committee decision is final.

General purpose kayaks, open canoes and associated gear will be charged as follows:- Club Session/ Daily Hire Weekly Hire Kayak or Open Canoe Kayak Open Canoe Adults £3 £15 £20 U18 £2 Note – In the event of changes, up to date prices will be shown on the website.

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Contacts for club events are listed in the programme of events.

Other contacts such as the Committee and Emergency contacts are listed on the website at and periodically in the club magazine.

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The BCU is the governing body of canoeing in England. Their address is:-

British Canoe Union HQ
18 Market Place
NG13 8AP

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  1. Buoyancy Aid: Always wear a buoyancy aid. No matter how well you can swim, when canoeing you should always wear a correctly fitting buoyancy aid.
  2. Helmets: A safety helmet must be worn when on surf or moving water, or as told to by an Instructor.
  3. Boat Buoyancy: All canoes and kayaks should contain built in buoyancy. This must be fixed into the boat and be sufficient to keep a swamped boat afloat.
  4. Footrests: Kayaks must be fitted with footrests
  5. Boat ends: All Kayaks used at Club meetings must conform to the BCU slalom rule that bow and stern ends have a 2 cm diameter to avoid injury to others. Boats should also be fitted with end loops or toggles.
  6. Weirs and Sluices: Keep away from sluices, weirs and fast flowing currents – they can be dangerous.
  7. Safety in Numbers: Never paddle alone – Less than three there should never be.
  8. Weather: Be aware of local conditions and forecasted weather changes.

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Rivers access is restricted to less than 5% of navigable waterways in this country. There is an ongoing campaign to change the law to give access to our waterways. Please go to the BCU website or to to find out more.

In nearly all cases you can paddle legally on tidal waters, though you may need to pay harbour dues. You can paddle on common law navigations such as parts of the Wye and Severn. You can paddle on many statutory navigations such as the Thames and on some private waterways such as the British Waterways canals provided that you have the necessary licence. When there is no public launching point it is necessary to get permission to cross private land to access the water from the public highway.

Whilst there may be a right of navigation on some rivers, it does not mean you have the right to play about on weirs or explore mill pools. Riparian owners do not usually mind to your passing, or for a short period of “well behaved activity”, but use some common sense and consideration where people live beside the river.

Many other inland waters, especially the smaller and upland rivers, are privately owned and to canoe them without permission constitutes an act of trespass. However, there are negotiated access agreements on some of the rivers in this category.

To provide information on these access agreements and on access in general, the BCU have a network of „Local Access Officers‟. Their names and addresses can be found in the BCU Members Yearbook which is available from the Club Secretary, and if you are at all unsure of the access situation on a particular stretch of water then they should be consulted before you venture out. They will tell you where, when or if you can paddle.


The club has licences for its own boats which are used for beginner courses on the river Stour, but when you purchase your own boat it is your responsibility to ensure you have a river licence to paddle on the water used. This can either be via purchasing one from the relevant authorities (Environment Agency, British Waterways, Broads Authority etc) or by becoming an individual member of the BCU. (see

Local Waters

River Stour (fresh water section): If you are a member of the BCU, your membership allows you to paddle this river below Brundon, Sudbury. If you are passing Boxted Mill the owner appreciates being asked in advance for permission to portage. You are requested to keep to the marked portage route, and not to play in the mill pool. The owner of the land at Henny Regulator should also be asked for permission to portage before you start your trip. To paddle this river, you must display your BCU boat sticker or licence, and carry your membership card with you. Failure to do so may leave you open to prosecution.

River Gipping: If you are a member of the BCU you can paddle from Yarmouth Road bridge in Ipswich down river to the first sluice, you may also use a couple of other sections: i) the stretch from Bushman’s Bridge in Bramford up-river to the B113 road bridge in Claydon; ii) the stretch from Yarmouth Road bridge up river to the second railway bridge on Thursday evenings only using the side away from the anglers during the fishing season. You must display your club boat sticker to paddle these two sections.

Alton Water and Suffolk Water Park: Canoeing is available on these waters with payment of a local fee.

River Orwell: There is a public hard at Pin Mill which allows for public access to this river. To paddle any of the section between Stoke Bridge in Ipswich and Fox‟s Marina, you must first contact the Ipswich Port Authority.

River Stour (tidal section): There is public access from the slip with boat rollers at Cattawade.

River Deben: There is a public hard at Felixstowe Ferry, a beach at Waldringfield, and a Council landing stage at Woodbridge which allow for public access to this river.

Other local(ish) rivers: BCU membership also allows you to paddle the Little Ouse, Wissey, Lark, and Cam below Bottisham lock, and the Norfolk Broads. You must clearly display your BCU boat sticker, and carry your BCU membership card with you. Failure to do so may leave you open to prosecution. All access details provided are liable to change. Please contact the relevant Local Access Officer (LAO) for confirmation.

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The risk of contracting illness is small, however, you should take sensible precautions such as covering any cuts before exposure to water; not swallowing water; avoiding full immersion and washing with clean water after any contact. You should be aware of Weil’s Disease, as although extremely rare, it can kill Avoid contact with the scum of blue green algae, which may be present in reservoirs, particularly during periods of long hot weather. Should you become ill within two weeks of exposure to canal, river or reservoir water, let you doctor know and tell him you have been in contact with untreated water. (Extracted from the British Waterways Code)


0800 80 70 60

The Environment Agency Free 24 hour emergency hotline number. You can help the EA to prevent pollution and protect the environment.

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Leptospirosis is a disease that can be passed from animals to humans. Leptospirosis is caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira, (referred to as Leptospires) which infect a variety of wild and domestic animals. The animals can then spread the Leptospires in their urine. Common animal reservoirs (maintenance hosts) include rodents, cattle and pigs. Human infection occurs through expose to water or an environment contaminated by infected animal urine, and has been associated with a variety of occupations such as farming which can involve direct or indirect contact with infected urine or recreational pursuits. In the UK, such activities include canoeing, windsurfing, swimming in lakes and rivers, pot holing and fishing.

How do animals carry Leptospirosis?

Infected animals carry the bacteria in their kidneys. They can excrete Leptospires in their urine for some time, and spread infection to other animals or humans coming into contact with the urine. Often the infected animal does not become ill. For example, both rats, which carry the type known as Leptospira lcterohaemorrhagiae, and cattle, which carry another strain (L.hardjo), appear ill.

How do humans become infected?

Humans are considered to be a dead-end or accidental host of Leptospires. Infection may be acquired by direct or indirect contact with affected urine, tissues, or secretions. Leptospires enter the body through cut or damaged skin, but may also pass across damaged or intact mucous membranes, and the eyes.

What are the symptoms?

Leptospirosis can be used to describe infections in both man and animals caused by any pathogenic strain of Leptospire. In humans it causes a wide range of symptoms, although some infected people appear healthy. All forms of Leptospirosis start in a similar way. Leptospirosis is an acute biphasic illness. Some cases may be asymptomatic or may present in the first phase with onset of a flu-like illness, with a severe headache, chills, muscle aches and vomiting. This is known as the bacteraemic phase, when the Leptospires spread through the blood to many tissues, including the brain. This phase may resolve without treatment. In some cases, an immune phase may return with a return of fever, jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or a rash. In more severe cases there may be failure of some organs, e.g. the kidneys, or meningitis. Generally, cases will recover within two to six weeks but some may take up to three months. After infection, immunity develops against the infecting strain, but this may not fully protect against infection with unrelated strains.


As many of these symptoms are the same as for other diseases, diagnosis of Leptospirosis is based on clinical suspicion confirmed by laboratory testing of a blood sample. There is a specialist reference laboratory for Leptospirosis in the UK, which can be consulted by doctors.

How soon after the exposure do symptoms occur?

Typically, symptoms develop seven to fourteen days after infection, though rarely the incubation period can be as short as two to three days or as long as thirty days.

How is Leptospirosis treated?

Leptospirosis is treated with antibiotics such as penicillin or doxycycline, which should be given early in the course of the disease. Intravenous antibiotics may be needed for people with more severe symptoms.

Can Leptospirosis be prevented?

There is no human vaccine available in the UK that is effective against Leptospirosis. For people who may be at high risk for short periods, especially through their occupation, taking doxycycline (200mg weekly) may be effective. Ways to avoid contracting Weil‟s disease are very simple:-

  • Avoid capsize drill or “rolling” in stagnant or slow moving water, particularly where rat infestation is obvious.
  • Wash or shower after canoeing.
  • Cover minor cuts and scratches with waterproof plasters before getting in your boat.
  • Wear trainers or wetsuit boots to avoid cutting your feet.
  • If you have flu-like symptoms after canoeing go to your GP and tell him you are a canoeist.

More information can be found at (Extracted from the BCU Members Yearbook 2008)

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