◊ Day Trip Etiquette

Etiquette is not a macho term. At best, it provides a protocol that lets people work together efficiently with respect for one another. At worst, it's a set of arbitrary rules used to impose needless conformity on members of a group. It's used here (hopefully) in its best sense. So here goes:
  • If you plan to join the group for a trip, notify the trip contact person the day before the trip.
  • The contact person can inform you if the trip plan has changed, either when you make the initial contact or the next day.
  • Show up at the meeting place on time; the group should not be required to wait on your arrival.
  • Help others, if you are able, in unloading/loading kayaks from/onto vehicles - but don't sacrifice your already bad back or an easily dislocated shoulder.
  • Bring all required gear or arrange ahead of time for equipment loans from others in the group.
  • While paddling, either stay in the proximity (within hearing range) of the group or inform the group that you are leaving.
  • Don't leave trash behind. Some paddlers take a trash bag and gather others' trash, leaving a site cleaner than before.
  • Follow any rules/protocols established by the group.

Note: The bulleted items above apply to day trips. Etiquette for multi-day trips is a much broader subject and one where I have limited experience. A methodical approach to learning more would be to

  • First, participate in a multi-day trip offered through a reputable professional outfitter and take notes.
  • Second, participate in a multi-day trip organized by a well established paddling club and take notes.
Additionally, scour the Internet, books and magazines for useful information e.g. see "Groups and Goals" by Michael Pardy (Wavelength Magazine - Spring 2009) for just one facet of this topic.
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