Trip Policies


CPA Trips are organized by members of the club for members of the club. When you participate in them, please remember a few things: Trip organizers are “hosts”, not professional guides. They are not necessarily trained in first aid nor CPR, and do not always carry first aid equipment nor safety devices for your use.

You, and you alone, are responsible for your personal safety.

Trip organizers will pre-screen all participants for

If you wish to join a trip, please RSVP to the trip announcement on CPA’s meetup or contact the trip organizer in advance. While on the water, all paddlers must wear PFDs, spray skirts, and clothes appropriate to the water temperature. Boats must have watertight bulkheads or flotation to prevent the kayak from swamping when capsized. All paddlers must have, and know how to use, a pump and paddle float. On the day of the trip, organizers may refuse to admit participants for non-compliance with any of these, so if you are not sure, discuss it with the organizer in advance!

All paddlers must sign a CPA waiver of liability. For the safety of the group as a whole, trip participants must agree to abide by club policies and rules and to follow instructions of the trip leader.

Trip Ratings

Trip ratings depend on the judgment of the organizer. This information is designed to provide guidelines that will help the organizers make an accurate assessment of the level of difficulty of the paddle and the skills required by participants. In addition to conditions (table below), organizes should take distance, pace, and special conditions such as open water crossings into account in setting the trip rating. Whenever a trip organizer decides that there are circumstances that may increase the level of difficulty of a paddle, higher trip ratings may be appropriate.

The following table represents conditions (combinations of sea condition, wind, waves, current and surf) that are appropriate for each trip level beyond First Timers (those who have never paddled before):

See Trip Ratings page for detailed discussion of how these criteria are to be applied in practice.

Minimum Required Safety Equipment for CPA Trips

CPA is primarily a sea kayaking club. We are not an outfitter and as such we do not sell, rent, or otherwise supply boats or equipment.  All trips and events are run by volunteers and are either free or run at cost (for space rental, launch fees, campsites, etc.).

The minimum safety gear for participating in a club trip and other official events are as follows:

  1. sea kayak with watertight bulkheads or other flotation devices (like air bags). Sit-on-Tops are considered to have watertight bulkheads.
  2. personal flotation device (PFD) and sound producing device, such as whistle (USCG requirements). PFD must be properly worn.
  3. paddle float
  4. bilge pump (except sit-on-tops)
  5. spray skirt on boats designed to accommodate them- must be worn (check with trip leader for exceptions)
  6. light that can be shown to prevent a collision (USCG requirement, night paddle only).
  7. if the trip announcement specifies cold water gear is required, cold water gear appropriate for the expected conditions

Trip Participant Sign Up and Screening

Trip organizers post trips to the CPA Meetup calendar. To participate in a trip, participants “RSVP” to the trip announcement via Meetup. Alternatively, prospective trip participants may RSVP directly to the trip organizer.

In order to RSVP through Meetup, trip participants must register for the CPA Meetup and provide accurate answers to the Meetup registration questionnaire.

Trip organizers are responsible for reviewing the information participants have provided on the Meetup questionnaire to satisfy themselves that each participant is qualified to make the trip. Trip organizers shall contact any prospective trip participant to discuss areas of concern or notify the participant they are not qualified for the trip, or both.

Prior to paddling on the trip, trip participants should ensure the trip organizer has the following information:

  • Participant’s actual name, in addition to Meetup user name
  • Participant’s email, cell phone number and the name and phone number of an emergency contact
  • The type of boat participant will be paddling on the trip
  • Any medical conditions that may impact them during the trip
  • Participant’s swimming ability
  • If required for the trip, type of cold water gear

CPA Policy Regarding Trip Waivers

It is CPA’s policy to require that all participants in CPA sponsored trips and events sign legal release forms before setting out on the water. Trip leaders and “event organizers” are responsible for obtaining blank release forms, for securing signatures from participants, and for returning the signed forms to the Club Secretary for safekeeping for a period of at least 3 years. A fresh signature must be obtained for each separate trip or event, except that only one release per season is required for regularly-scheduled events such as the weekly activities of the “pirates” at Pirates of Arundell and other venues. The legal release absolves all participating CPA members from legal liability for the injury or death of a fellow participant, and allows us to continue to organize and participate in group activities without undue fear of incurring personal legal liability. Failure to collect, save, and forward these waivers by trip leaders may invalidate their coverage under our liability policy. Waivers may be required for events other than on-water activities, such as workshops involving power tools or other sharp tools.

Start paddling sooner! Print out and sign this Waiver of Liability form and bring it with you to the launch location. If the waiver is modified or sections are crossed out it will be rejected and you will not be allowed to participate in the activity. The form is available as an Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) file. Download the PDF Reader here:

Adobe Acrobat

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