Safety Standards

Canoe Society Safety Standards


Kla-okwa-gee-la (Jerry Jack) Inter-tribal Canoe Society Safety Committee 


View page for Basic Safety Tips and First Aid Kit page CLICK HERE


This is a tribute to our beloved Kla-okwa-gee-la (Jerry Jack) that our children and our children’s children will know they are safe on the annual Canoe Journey.


Below is a list of suggestions concerning safety issues and ideas to help ensure safer conditions for our canoe families. At this time these are all ideas, that as a committee we can discuss and implement by consensus. I would like to thank all those who took the time and care enough to share your concerns, ideas and suggestions.


1)      Trainings:

a.      CPR training for each canoe family. See if the Red Cross or other agencies can come to central communities to provide training.


b.      Mandatory water-safety training (that is more realistic) for each canoe family. Practice water safety training earlier in the year. See if the Coast Guard can help in water safety training.


c.   Skipper training: how to use maps, compass, know about regional waters and tides, how to switch pullers, know what supplies are needed, and responsibilities –e.g. Feed pullers first, make sure everyone knows what to do in the event of an emergency, making sure someone is in charge of water, food, life vests, first-aid kit, safety first – know when to trailer, leave or not to leave, communicate with support boat and ground crew. Have skippers sign a form stating safety is met. Know health concerns of crew such as diabetics or those with other health concerns.


2)      Our own inter-tribal safety check point at each stop that will be responsible to make sure each canoe and their support boat has a first-aid kit, VHS, GPS, compass, water, food, life vests, bailer, proper clothing, etc. This is to avoid outside regulations, we will be responsible to monitoring ourselves.


3)      Life vests:

a.      Life vest contest have a contest to have canoe families paint Coastal designs (or other designs) on their vest. Provide prizes and posting on websites of winners. Hopefully this will appeal to the youth and give an incentive for them to wear their life vests.


b.      Provide larger life vests.


c.      Provide higher quality vests.  To receive a vest pullers must complete water-safety training and CPR training. Skippers perhaps will be required to do Skipper training. Charge a small fee for higher quality vests so people may have more ownership and take care of them.


d.      Vest will be kept with the canoe and not individually so they are not lost.


4)      Provide more seat pads or materials for canoe families to attach a pad to seats so pullers will wear their life vests instead of sitting on them.


5)      Support boats:

a.      Each canoe will have a support boat to travel with. If a canoe does not have one, then they must travel with another canoe family that does.


b.      Boat should be sea worthy, safe and large enough to hold extra pullers, food, and supplies.


c.      Have one central support boat that is equipped to deal with any problem and emergency situations. Equipped with VHF, GPS, wet suits, diver, person(s) trained in CPR or EMC, maps, etc.


6)      Recognition of safety group at the final destination protocol. Honor them and present them with gifts. E.g. – Best over-all safety that has a safe ground crew, support boat, and canoe; Safest Canoe; Safest ground crew; and Safest support boat. Have a point system in which to measure how safe each category is.


7)      Picture in guidebook of what safety equipment should look like in a clear bag.


8)      Regional representatives from each location that participates in the Canoe Journey. They may have supplies to sell if needed, be a check point to check each canoe family at arrival to ensure everyone is ok and prior to departure, make sure every boat, ground crew, and canoe have everything they need, provide a video of water-safety training. Develop safety rules for the Canoe Journey everyone is agreement of following.


9)      Make sure every participant signs registration form and agrees to follow Canoe Journey rules and safety rules developed by the Inter-tribal Canoe Society, otherwise be forbidden to leave.


10)  Hosts need to consider weather and other conditions to determine arrival of canoes. Don’t rush them if weather is not agreeing or make demands of on time arrivals.


11)  Better communication of nearby tribes that will be traveling the same route, to leave and arrive at destinations together. Have one local plan.


12)  Stress on-time departure and arrival times according to weather, tides and other pertinent conditions. Travel as one, if there are difficulties agree to disagree, but once on the water leave problems on the shore. Have talking circles to resolve any differences.


13)  Provide children’s books and/or coloring books about water-safety to teach young children about water safety.


One Response

  1. A lot of thought went into the rules I see listed
    I like them thanks for sharing


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