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Membership Myth Buster

There are a lot of misconceptions about the work British Canoeing does and what our membership fees are used for. In this article we take a look at some common  ‘fake news’ and dispel some of those myths to give you an accurate account of  British Canoeing membership supports... 

Top three Myths Busted!

  • Myth 1: Membership money only supports Olympic programs (NOT TRUE): No membership money supports the Olympic and Paralympic programmes, membership income is ring fenced for projects that support the whole paddling community. From grassroot participation to environmental work. 

  • Myth 2: Waterway licences are a tax (NOT TRUE): Waterway licence fees supports vital work which protects and maintains waterways for paddlers and future generations to enjoy  

  • Myth 3: If you rejoin after having lapsed, you’ll be forced to backpay (NOT TRUE): We welcome paddlers back at any point and no back payment is required

To help give you a better understanding and how membership supports you as a paddler we’ve tackled these hot potatoes in more detail below.

Myth 1: Membership money only supports Olympic programs (not true)

Busted… This couldn’t be further from the truth. Membership income does not contribute in any way to the funding of the Olympic and Paralympic sprint and slalom teams. These programmes are funded through national grants received from UK Sport. Click here to learn more about our funded programmes.  

Membership income is however used to support the elite level national teams in the other non-Olympic disciplines. Each year a competition grant funded from membership is issued to support non-Olympic elite paddling and grass roots development within the non-Olympic disciplines of freestyle, polo, marathon, rafting, & wildwater racing circa £150k each year.

We are incredibly proud of all our athletes across every discipline and the huge success they have. Did you know as a sport last year we achieved 90 medals across nine disciplines. I think we can all agree this is an awe-inspiring feat. 

Many of these athletes would not have been able to achieve their shot at gold without the structure of the organisation and the support British Canoeing provides grassroots communities. It is at this fundamental stage where your membership makes a difference. As a community we are incredibly lucky to have very dedicated coaches (both paid and voluntary ones) working passionately to support paddlers up and down the country.

What else does membership income support…

Income generated by membership fees is reinvested back into paddlesport in a variety of ways. Including the development of projects and resources that support the whole paddling community and benefit all paddlers, such as;

  • Clear Access, Clear Waters: A campaign for fair, shared and sustainable access to waterways 

  • Go Paddling a grassroot participation project to help people find information on where and how to go paddling. 

  • The development of high quality training and coaching schemes 

  • Event development; from international competitions to local recreational activities

  • Working with partners to improve environmental and conservation of waterways

  • Guidance and support for paddlers, volunteers, clubs and coaches across all disciplines

For more information on specific projects and work that we do for paddlers please click here


Myth 2: Waterway licences are a tax (not true)

Busted…whilst it is true that you need a waterways licence to access a vast number of inland waterways, this is by no means a tax. The money generated by the waterways licence does not contribute to state revenue levied by the Government nor does the Government add to the cost of licences as it does with other products and services. 

Instead the money generated from licences goes to the waterway authorities that manage them, such as the Canal and Rivers Trust (charity number 114692), Environmental Agency and Broads Authority. 

The waterway authorities carry out a whole host of vital work which contributes towards the protection and maintenance of the waterways, allowing you and future generations to continue enjoying them!  

Our blue corridors simply wouldn’t be the same without the dazzling array of wildlife we see while out paddling. From the birds, to fish, amphibians to insects. The waterways authorities and many of their dedicated volunteers carry out vital ecological work helping keep rivers healthy and improving those that are struggling.

Waterway authorities also protect against bank erosion, remove invasive non-native species, install check, clean, dry points (to protect against those invasive non-native species), inspect and repair towpaths for access, and much, much more. 

Surely you want to play your part in helping protect the waterways you enjoy paddling on? 

A British Canoeing On the Water membership is the most cost effective and easiest way to get a waterway licence and make your annual contribution to the upkeep of over 4,500km of waterways! Plus members receive a range of other fantastic benefits. 

Myth 3: If you rejoin after having lapsed, you’ll be forced to backpay (not true)

Busted…this is no longer true! This was the case for coaches that lapsed over 10 years ago, but now if you have lapsed, your membership will commence from the date you renew and you will find no additional fees at the checkout. You will simply be charged the standard cost for the annual membership you choose to take out with us.

We often see paddlers start back after they have taken time out to build their careers or have a family, sometimes injuries occur or life becomes too busy to allow you to pursue your paddling passions. But the water never goes away and there’s always some form of paddlesport for everyone, regardless of age or time of year.

We hope that busting this myth will reassure individuals taking a break away from paddling for whatever reason you will be welcomed back into the community, as if they never went away. Make sure you take a look at the best membership options for you

Please note the route back into leading and delivering coaching activities might require some additional steps to ensure you are up to date with the latest best practises. There are often quick steps and easy options back in. Please click here to learn more about how to get your coaching/leading status reactivated after letting your coaching qualifications and membership lapse. 

On September (30th) our update scheme will change with CPD options as well as incorporating leadership qualifications needing safeguarding and CPD. This will link to our new website PaddlesUP due to be launched later this year. In the meantime if you have any enquiries around returning back to coaching, our coaching advisors would be more than happy to help you chat through your requirements Tel: 0300 0119 500

Want to know more?

If you’d like to find out more about what we do as an organisation to support the development of paddlesport we’d suggest you take a look at our Stronger Together strategic plan. It outlines the details and objectives that were set for British Canoeing to achieve over a four year period and was developed in consultation and from feedback of our members.