Safety

All crew enter at their own risk and are recommended to take out their own insurance cover for any injury, loss of income etc.
We draw your attention particularly to the requirements for participants and the safety information set out below.

All entrants must

  • Be 18 or over on the day of the race.
  • Be physically fit and free of any medical condition which would place them or others at risk during the event
  • Be able to swim 200 metres and be confident in cold and fast flowing water
  • Wear a buoyancy aid or life jacket – this must not be of the automatic self-inflating type.
  • Wear suitable footwear and clothing. A wet or dry suit and a safety helmet of lightweight cycle or canoe type are recommended. Stout shoes/boots are also recommended as you may have to walk on the rocky river bed to help move your raft in low water.
  • Please note the following

    We need to emphasise that whilst every effort will be made to make the race as safe as possible, navigating a fast flowing river can be dangerous and you must be prepared to take responsibility for your own safety and that of the other members of your team.

    • The river water and air temperature are likely to be cold - ensure that you are appropriately dressed throughout the event.
    • The safety equipment listed above is for your own protection – emergency situations can develop suddenly. Your buoyancy aid or life jacket is your main safety device, always make sure it’s worn when on the water and that it is properly fastened and adjusted..
    • The river contains many natural hazards; weirs, rocks, trees etc. Where hazards have been marked keep clear of them. In places a compulsory route will be marked or indicated by marshals. You must follow this route.
    • Alcohol and sport do not mix! No alcohol is allowed at any time during the event.
    • River water can carry the risk of disease. Minimise the risk by covering any cuts and grazes and avoid drinking the water! If you should feel ill after the event, seek medical advice and tell your doctor yuou have been in the river
    •  Because of the risk of exhaustion and hypothermia there will a maximum time to complete the event. Any rafts which have not reached the feeding station at Staverton 4 hours after they have started or any raft which has not reached Totnes Weir by 1600 will be removed from the river.
    • Getting tangled up in loose ropes and straps can be very dangerous. Keep them properly secured and out of the way. Never tie yourself into the raft or tie a line around yourself.
    • At no time should you enter onto the railway line which runs along the river bank for much of the course.
    • Weirs and obstructions

    • There are three weirs on the course and several other potential obstructions. There will be canoeists and divers stationed at known hazard points. For your safety you must follow any instructions which they give.
    • When you reach a weir, the marshal will advise whether it is safe to ride with the raft over the weir or whether you should get off to let the raft go down on its own. If you are advised to get off, do not walk down the weir but follow the marked walking route where assistance will be provided
    • Falling in the water

    • If you should fall into the river note the following:-
    • Don’t get in front of the raft – there is a risk of being crushed between the raft and a rock. Behind the raft and slightly to one side is the safest position.
    • If the water is shallow enough to stand be careful where you put your feet. There can be sharp objects on the river bottom and feet can get trapped in rocks.
    • If the water is more than shin deep or fast flowing, you should NOT try to stand. There is a strong risk of a foot being trapped and you can be pushed over by the force of water – instead float to the shore before trying to stand
    • If the water is too deep or flowing too fast to safely stand, lay on your back (your buoyancy aid will keep you afloat), nose and toes to the sky with your head up so you can see where you are going. Feet down stream with your knees slightly bent. This way if you come in contact with a rock you can use your feet and legs as shock absorbers and push off the rock. Arms should be out to your side to help keep yourself in control. Keep your butt up, if you sit with your butt low in the water, you will find a rock and bring home some interesting bruises.
    • Do not attempt to swim against the flow but float yourself to the nearest bank.
    • If it is safe to do so your raft can then stop to pick you up. If you are unable to re-join your raft, make your way along the bank to the nearest marshal who will arrange transport to the finish.
    • First aid is available. If you require assistance contact one of the canoe marshals or the marshals at the checkpoints.
    • Follow the instructions of the marshals at all times. They are there for the safety of you and other participants.
    • Be aware
      The organisers reserve the right to remove you and your raft from the event at any time if it is believed that you are not complying with the rules or that you are a danger to yourself or others.