As well as the planned club trips shown on the calendar there are a number of Whats App groups to organise short notice peer trips:

1 group for Sea/Loch Paddles,

1 for Open Canoes and

1 for River trips & Pinkston.

There is also a Special WHATSAPP Group for people who are working to becoming Sea Kayak Trip Leaders in the Club (called the “4 Star Sea Kayak Peer Group”). It is mainly falling in, practicing leadership, rescues and skills.

Important Points are:

1. These are not normally “club trips” and will not normally have a specific coach/trip leader.
2. Each paddler is responsible for making sure they are up to the planned activity. Having said that some may just be a midweek relaxing social paddle on Loch Lomond!
3. Trips that are informal trips are called “Peer Trips” and are not covered by club insurance etc. When posting a proposed trip please clearly mention it is “PEER TRIP”.
4. The person who first mentions the plan/idea should make sure they are happy with the skills/experience of anyone who asks to come along. They should also be happy to say “no” if they feel someone is not appropriate for the planned trip and this should respected. You can ask other people attending the trip for guidance on potential attendees or ask one of the club coaches for help.
5. Note that because WhatsApp trips are mainly peer trips then attendees/whats app group members are likely to be current or lapsed club members but some people on the WhatsAPP group may have no link the club

Additional COVID Issues

6. In the COVID environment, for an informal trip you must follow the standard household and group size rules. (e.g. on 2/10/20 the limit was 6 people/2 households)

7. Only where a Whatsapp trip achieves a level of formal organistion can the Scottish Government rules on organized sport apply with “field of play” rules applying and larger groups/more households being permitted. At the time of writing some of the WHATSAPP groups have

a) a nominated and trained COVID officer for the (WHATSAPP) group (e.g. SportScotland online course),

b) a nominated COVID coordinator for any trip who has a number of duties including taking a registration and enforcing COVID protocols, including checking no attendee has symptoms.

c) Paperwork. It is recommended that the COVID coordinator for a trip brings enough paperwork to reduce the risk of issues with the police and potentially a fine! This could include:

i) Attendance register,

ii) Activity Guide (a list of COVID Controls/procedures)

iii) Course Completion Certificate,

iv)Copy of the current SCA/Government Rules Infographic (to help the police)

v) Knowing where the risk assessment can be found.

IMPORTANT: Even during COVID where a WHATSAPP group has some formal COVID controls to meet the standard of an “Organized Activity” it IS NOT a DCKC Club Trip and Items 1 to 5 above apply.

To Join a Whatsapp Group

Visit What’s App Website / App Store on your phone and download it.

The WHATS APP contact numbers to set you up are in the Club Private Page : Contact (If you are a club members and don’t have the password please use get in touch on our Contact Us Page). After contacting the admin please give them a while and the feed should appear in your Whats App. It may take a wee while to get added if people are on holiday etc.


Sometimes once a “peer trip” has gained momentum and one of the clubs trip leaders or coaches is going on the trip, it may make sense to add it it the club calendar as a “club trip” or “coached session”. (For it to be a Club trip then the coach/trip leader has to be prepared to take this responsibility, they can always just go as a peer). The main benefits of this is that more people have the opportunity to attend, the club calendar becomes more active and the opportunity for some additional coaching sessions is created.

Things to consider are:
– Peer trips are often a chance for people to gain experience of group management/responsibilities. Having a formal leader can limit or remove this opportunity.
– The nature of the trip can change when it has a coaching element (e.g. more static practice sites, less of a journey, etc).
– A peer trip has no charge, whereas a club trip is nominally £2 and a “coached trip  is “£5 (half day) or £10 (full day) (note money goes to the club, not the coach).
– On any trip, even a peer trip, the most experienced person/people will have an element of additional duty of care.

In this situation the club suggests;
1. The potential coach/trip leader asks the paddlers who have already said they are attending the peer trip if they are ok with it being made into a club trip / coached trip.
2. If it converts to a club trip then, post to the whats app group message board with this change and add the trip to the club website (also indicate the Grade A/B/C or I/II/III/IV).
3. It is suggested that there is no club trip fees for the original peer group paddlers.
4. For subsequent club members then club trip/coached trip fees would normally apply.
5. Once it becomes a “club trip” then paddlers who are not-club members who were either part of the original group or sign up after the change are considered to be attending on a “taster session” basis (SCA Club insurance allows up to 6 taster sessions per year provided, you note the attendee’s name and address).

Hopefully this guidance provides a framework to help deal with this situation and avoid conflict. Please remember club trip leaders and club coaches enjoy paddling, it is just that their roles can vary between being another peer paddler, a trip leader or a coach!

An extract from the Clubs Standard Operating Procedures on Peer Trips is shown below:

13.3 Peer Paddling
13.3.1 Peer Paddling is defined as a peer group activity: any paddle-sport activity which is promoted by members via Social Media (i.e. Facebook, WhatsApp etc.) or other means of communication. The activity does not offer coaching or leadership on the water beyond that found within the given peer group.
13.3.2 DCKC recognises the Peer Paddling activity as being distinct from a Club Activity. Suitability of club group members for Peer Paddling is the responsibility of the individual arranging the activity, and any other participants in the planned Peer Paddle.
13.3.3 SCA advises the most senior/qualified paddler by default becomes group leader.
13.3.4 To assist members to act in accordance with good practice documents listed below have been adopted by DCKC and placed on the DCKC website for reference/use.

To help keep people aware of these items the club Coach Co-ordinator will undertake to regularly draw members’ attention to the existence of these documents.
• Club Rules and Guidelines
• Club Risk Assessment
• Guidance Notes for Lochs and Rivers, Open Canoeing and Kayaking
• Sea kayaking Trips – Guidance Notes

The club’s documents are on Club Documents