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American Canoe Association Best Practices Brochure

Document Date: November 14, 2006
Document Source: American Canoe Association
American Canoe Association
Posted:  November 13, 2006

According to Dr. Robin Pope, Vice Chair, American Canoe Association (ACanoeA) Safety Education and Instruction Council, the ACanoeA’s approach is education, not regulation and the organization seeks for its instructor cadre to be so superb in every aspect of paddling instruction that paddlers seek them out, rather than the ACanoeA pursuing them.

Many regulatory agencies require some nationally recognized certification before allowing an instructor to teach at a regulated site
For paddling programs, ACanoeA certification is generally preferred.
Many programs require ACanoeA certification as a prerequisite for a paddling related job. 


The ACanoeA offers low cost liability insurance to their certified instructors.
In some cases, this may be the only way for an instructor to obtain insurance at a reasonable cost.
Access to the ACanoeA’s insurance program can determine whether or not a class can be held.
In other situations, regulatory agencies require some type of insurance before allowing use of a regulated site. 


The ACanoeA works with a number of regulatory bodies to develop their programs, including the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).
Both organizations support the ACanoeA’s approach to paddling instruction and see the ACanoeA as one of the best possible sources of paddling-related information.
USCG also has a representative on the ACanoeA committee that oversees curriculum development.

Incident Data:

The paddling community supports a comprehensive collection and analysis of whitewater accidents and close calls (near misses) in American Whitewaters (AWs) Accident Database.
The reports are public information which can be accessed from the Safety section of AWs Website at www.americanwhitewater.org.
The analysis provides the foundation for the AW Safety Code which outlines whitewater safety guidelines applicable to all skill levels.
Charlie Walbridge, AW Board member and former Safety Chair of both ACanoeA and AW, is still heavily involved with this reporting system. 

Additional Resources:    www.americancanoe.org/instruction/more_resources.lasso