GMPE Safety and OMCKRA Safety rules will be posted on the wall of the stage area. All paddlers are required to wear their life jacket or PFD at all times during the race. Inflatable life jackets and belts are not acceptable. Spotters on the safety boats and on land will remind paddlers to wear their PFD. Paddlers not complying will be disqualified and asked to leave the race course. All paddlers will be asked to confirm at time of registration that they have the required equipment on board: a signaling device, a throw rope and bailer. A paddler outfitter will be on site and has been advised to bring this type of equipment to sell to anyone missing these items. All paddlers and passengers will be asked to confirm that they can swim or tread water at time of registration. If they cannot, they will not be allowed in the races. Racers in the 20 km race will be asked if they feel they are experienced enough to handle the longer distance. All racers under the age of 18 must have their waiver signed by a parent or guardian. Racers under 13 will must be accompanied by a responsible adult. There will be a mandatory safety talk, going over the race course, rules and special considerations such as boat traffic, current strength and water level. A large laminated copy of the river will be used as needed and will then be posted on the wall of the stage area for reference. Signs will be posted at the boat launches at Shaw Street and George Street advising boaters that there will be a canoe and kayak race that day. The safety boat furthest out downstream will have a sign for passing boaters to advise them. All safety boats have been asked to remind boaters that pass them as needed. Weather and Conditions: Participants must be aware of the added risks of extreme weather and take reasonable precautions. The decision that weather conditions are not favourable, when made by a GMPE director, is binding on all participants. Anyone going on the water against such decisions does so at his/her own risk and will be subject to disqualification from the event.Paddlers and boats will not go on the water in high winds, waves or possible thunderstorms.If weather conditions change for the worse during the event, paddlers will stay close to shore and take refuge as soon as possible. Do not try to outrun a storm. In the event of lightning and thunder, the 30/30 rule will be followed. If you count 30 seconds or fewer between lightning and thunder, go immediately to shore and seek appropriate refuge. Remain at least 30 minutes after the last thunder. This will be monitored by race officials and those not following the 30/30 rule can be disqualified. Heat and humidity can increase risk of heat stroke, sunburn, dehydration and fatigue. Cold weather increases risk of hypothermia.
The Lady Muskoka has been consulted about the race and its timing. The starts have been staggered to allow the Lady Muskoka to cruise downstream without encountering paddlers. Paddlers have been advised that there are several sharp and blind bends on the race courses and more so on the 20km South Muskoka River section. In the interests of avoiding collisions between boats meeting each other at the bends please follow these guidelines: Going downstream – stick to the middle of the river or slightly wide. The current is generally strongest in the deeper channel. Going upstream - move closer to the river bank but not too close to shallow waters. At the completion of their race, paddlers will be asked to come a little further upstream to the dock area where they will be offered water or juice. This will also avoid congestion at the finish line.
(Revised 2019 – open to further revision prior to event)