Self Assessment

Sea Kayaking with the VSKC is always done with the greatest emphasis on safety. At times, this can mean choosing NOT to go on a paddle. We always encourage all of our members to self-assess each time they prepare to go on the water.

To assist with this process, we provide the guidelines below which are reproduced with gracious permission from the West Australian Sea Kayak club who produced the advice for their members:

When making their self-assessment participants need to consider the following factors. What are my current limitations?

  • Can I cope with the current and forecast weather and sea conditions.
  • Can I cope if weather or sea conditions deteriorate and are different or worse than forecast.
  • What speed can I maintain in the expected conditions, compared to the rest of the group.
  • Am I able to paddle the distance necessary to complete the trip in a reasonable time.
  • Can I paddle the distances necessary to get out of difficulty in worsening conditions.
  • What is the maximum time I will have to stay in my boat without landing, can I do this.
  • Can I cope mentally and physically with all foreseeable hazards.
  • Am I capable of carrying out self and assisted rescues if required.
  • Do I have all of the items of equipment necessary for the trip, are they in good condition.

Club members must be aware that paddling on the ocean is more physically and mentally demanding than it is on sheltered waters, and that a reasonable fitness level will be required to paddle even moderate distances. Participants must be able and prepared to honestly assess their own abilities and not expect others to do this for them. Paddlers may have 'formal skill' qualifications, but are unfit for the trip on the day due to lack of fitness, ill health lack of competence or insufficient experience in the prevailing conditions. If in doubt paddlers should adopt the precautionary principle and not attempt the trip.
All paddlers must be prepared and ready to care for themselves and others in the event of complications. Decisions will often be made according to a consensus arrived at through group discussion. All participants must be prepared to contribute. Non-participation in the decision making process will be taken as acceptance of any consensus arrived at by other trip participants.