With summer temperatures continuing to soar and people eagerly seek to be by the waterside to stay cool, the space we share with other water users gets even busier, British Canoeing’s policy officer, Richard Atkinson writes.
When it is hot and sunny, there are few things better to do than go for a paddle. It is now when disputes and frustrations over people’s rights of access are more likely to spill over into conflict on the riverbank. It is currently the height of fishing season and, due to the hot weather, many rivers are starting to run low. Paddlers are encouraged to enjoy water responsibly in ways that are compatible with the conservation of the environment and wildlife. If challenged then it is vital that you remain calm and act appropriately.
British Canoeing has been made aware that some other parties are actively going out to capture pictures and videos of canoeists, swimmers and other river users. This is obviously a concern for us, not least from a safeguarding perspective when youngsters are out on the water.
The law on trespass is an extremely complicated subject, and these five points aim to provide some guidance to paddlers, not legal advice.
We would like to remind everyone to keep calm and #sharethespace.
1. Always remain polite and calm – If you feel you are not trespassing, communicate that view in a friendly and positive manner.
2. #ShareTheSpace – Ensure you always paddle with respect for all other users. For example, check with any anglers the best way to pass them. Please refer to You, Your Canoe and the Environment
3. Don’t disclose your details – You are under no obligation to pass on your details unless asked to do so by a police officer.
4. Seek a positive resolution – To defuse the situation, simply continuing your journey is often the best option. Advice to those accused of trespass is usually to leave the land in question by the quickest and safest means possible. Usually for a boat on the river this would mean continuing downstream.
5. Let us know – Whether it is a positive example we can share, or a negative issue we can help follow up, please inform us of any situations that occur by using our incident reporting form.
For British Canoeing’s full Trespass Briefing Note, please click the trespass drop down box here.