Hackensack River Canoe & Kayak Club

paddling for over a third of a century

Requirements For Trip Participants

Following are some trip requirements and recommendations that will go a long way to ensure a pleasant, rewarding, and safe paddling experience.


1. All trip participants MUST have read and signed the current year insurance company Liability Waiver. Members who have not signed this waiver in the current year, and all guests, must sign this waiver before the trip starts. Signed waivers must be returned to the membership scribe at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The membership directory indicates the date members have most recently signed the waiver.

2. Register with the trip coordinator at least several days in advance, even if your plans for attending are tentative. The coordinator will discuss the level of difficulty, paddling plan, what to expect, gear and clothing required, meeting place and time, travel directions, etc. Be honest about your paddling experience and ability. Make sure to exchange cell phone numbers. NEVER plan to attend a trip without advance registration. If you must cancel, notify the trip coordinator as soon as possible.

3. Bring necessary equipment - make a checklist. The following is REQUIRED:

  • A properly fitted, whistle equipped, Coast Guard approved Type III PFD (personal flotation device, life jacket, life preserver) is required on all club trips. The PFD MUST be worn and secured at all times while on or in the water.
  • Appropriate dress for both the air and water conditions. If there is a potential for hypothermia, bring a complete change of clothes in a waterproof bag fastened in your boat.
  • Sufficient drinking water, especially on hot days.

4. Be on time -- normally, trip coordinators will wait only 10 minutes. Call if there is a problem.

5. Expected conditions should be discussed by trip coordinators before or at the start of the trip. If you are not comfortable paddling in these conditions, do not participate. Trip coordinators may use their discretion to decline participation to any member or guest who may not have suitable skills and/or equipment for the event conditions. Make sure the trip coordinator knows if you can’t swim or have medical problems.

6. No alcohol or substance abuse is permitted.

7. During the trip - all participants must stay with the group. If leaving the group let the trip leader know.
Trip coordinators may designate a “lead” and a “sweep” boat. Do not pass the lead boat or fall behind the sweep. Keep the next boat ahead or behind you in sight. Hold up if necessary, and signal that you are doing so. If you can, assist, wait for, and indicate the best passage through tricky spots for the boat behind you.
Don’t crowd the boat ahead of you in fast water. Allow room for back-paddling or ferrying to avoid collision when boats stop or slow to scout or negotiate rapids or obstructions.

8. Emergency action plan– all participants must be familiar with this plan

  • Call attention to an emergency by 3 whistle blasts and hand gestures.
  • Render assistance prioritizing water rescue of people or pets in the water before recovering property.
  • Assess scene as appropriate to determine further action needed.
  • If appropriate care for injured parties.
  • Be aware of hypothermia risk to rescued swimmers.
  • If appropriate contact 911 for assistance by police, rescue and medical authorities. 


1. The following equipment is recommended:

  • Carry a spare paddle in your boat.
  • Equip your boat with painters (bow & stern lines).
  • Bring hat, sunglasses, rain gear, gloves, sunscreen, bug repellent, first aid kit.
  • Secure your car keys/keyless entry device in a water-proof container. Try to keep them with you (in pocket of PFD, in zipped-up pocket of clothing, etc.)
  • Clothing - dress in layers, according to the weather. Jeans, cotton clothing, and sweats are a bad idea when the air or water is cold because they dry very slowly and get heavy when wet. Poly-pro, fleece, other synthetics, or wool are the best materials for paddling clothing.
  • Footwear should be sturdy and should have closed toes. There may be broken glass in river and lake beds. A bad cut could ruin your day.
  • Provide a lunch or snacks for yourself.
  • Carry a rescue throw-bag in moving water conditions.

2. Cooperation is essential for shuttles, portaging, loading & unloading, etc. Volunteer to help to the best of your ability.

3. Respect property owners’ rights. Don’t litter. Don’t block driveways. Ask permission to park. Use common sense and courtesy. Steer clear of fisherpersons and their lines.

4. Practice with your boat. The better your skills are, the more fun you will have. Be comfortable getting in and out of your boat. Practice “wet exits” and self-rescue. Learn skills to assist with rescue of others.