Guidelines for Trip Leaders

  • PaCO Trip Leader Guidelines

    PaCO relies on its members to organize our monthly outings. The trip leader is responsible for researching, planning, organizing, and communicating information about the outing. Trip information, including campground info, cost, projected paddling trips (level of difficulty and length of trips) and pot luck theme (if applicable) should be sent to the webmaster ( six weeks or more prior to the outing. The trip leader should notify the group of any changes from the published information via the club's email (

  • Trip leader responsibilities include:

  • On Water

    Scout the river prior to the trip (on the web, on the ground, talk with liveries, members of other groups, etc.)
    Have a map and a float plan.
    Determine put-in and take-out locations (it's best to view these in-person shortly before the trip)
    Determine a lunch break location on the river.
    Consider filing the float plan with a non-paddling participant or at the campground office.
    Have knowledge of the expected Classification (I, II, III, IV) of the river at the time of the trip and inform participants in advance.
    Organize shuttles.
    Anticipate river conditions (hazards, portages, etc.) in advance, as possible.
    Be aware of weather conditions leading up to and the day of paddling trips.
    Have a short pre-launch meeting to determine departure time, shuttles, number of boats
    Designate a lead and sweep paddler.
    Ensure that the sweep paddler can signal trouble to the group (by whistle or cell phone)
    Trip leader or assistant is expected to be on the water with the group.
    If going outside of Ohio, know the requirements for boat registration, safety equipment requirements, launch sites and applicable fees for the state or province you will be paddling in.

  • At the Campground

  • Make a reservation or provide information for participants making their own reservations.
    Provide a link to the campground with trip information.
    If making a reservation for the group, provide cut-off dates for participants to commit or cancel.
    Provide information regarding campground facilities (water, showers, fire pits, restrooms, etc.)
    When possible, visit the campground in advance.
    Have a plan for shelter in case of inclement weather for the community meal (tarps, dining fly, club canopy etc.)
    Know firewood regulations for out of state camping.
    Be aware of the campground rules (pets, quiet hours, alcohol, etc.)

  • Safety

  • Have a copy of the Liability Waiver and Emergency Contact Information for participants. This is required for all participants, whether paddling or only camping. Have extra copies of these forms for people who have not completed them.
    Offer participants the opportunity to provide emergency medical information (allergies, etc.). This is optional, not required.
    Ensure there is at least one first aid kit, cell phone and spare paddle on the water.
    Have emergency contact numbers: camp office, ranger, sheriff and share them.
    Know the location of an emergency key for shuttle vehicle(s)

  • Other

    Trip leaders or assistants always have the final say on the river and at the campground.
    The trip leader (or a designee) will write a trip report after the outing, to be submitted within one month of the trip. Submit the trip report and any photos to the group's webmaster ( When possible, please submit a Word doc; a PDF will also work, but is more time consuming for the webmaster.
    When using a phone, please format as much as possible.
    Members who commit to a trip but don't attend are responsible for paying their share. (See Participant Guidelines).
    Consider designating an assistant leader to help facilitate during the outing.

  • Click here for Liability Waviers for Trip Leaders