- Hold a Senior First Aid and Resuscitation qualification
- Be more highly skilled and experienced than the group being led. Preferably an accredited instructor
- Be familiar with the stretch of water to be paddled and be aware of any potential hazards
- Make sure prospective participants are aware of the water conditions prior to the trip
- Ensure that the group members can swim confidently and are fit enough for the planned trip
- Ensure that the group members wear a PFD and other appropriate canoeing gear, and that spectacles/sun glasses are secure
- Make sure participants have sufficient skills to tackle the stretch of water being paddled, and have suitable equipment for the prevailing water and weather conditions
- Make sure that the ratio between competent to less competent paddlers is satisfactory
- Paddle in the best possible position to perform responsibilities of a leader or instructor.
- Be skilful at assessing and responding to emergency and rescue situations. Basic First Aid knowledge and a comprehensive First Aid kit is essential, as is the equipment to carry out emergency procedures.
- Be aware of the condition of the paddlers at all times e.g. anyone showing signs of tiredness, early symptoms of hypothermia, or having difficulty coping with the water conditions
- Know where the nearest telephone, ranger stations and exit and entry points are along the route.
- Always consider the impact that the group will have on the environment. For example, ensure no rubbish is left behind, as large groups camping in a new area can easily destroy and scar the environment.