Try a boat, get afloat

I’m a member of Colwyn Canoe Club and each year volunteers from the club host a ‘Try a boat, get afloat’ day on Eirias Park boating lake in Colwyn bay. The event is open to anyone who fancies a go in the club’s canoes or kayaks, on their own or with friends and family. This year, the weather was perfect and we all had a fantastic day!

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Nick helping a little paddler. Most of us start by going round in circles before we get the hang of it!

We try and make it easy for anyone to have a go in a boat. Anyone wishing to join in just needs to understand the health and safety rules and sign a consent form, or have one signed on their behalf by a responsible adult. The adult doesn’t have to get on the water, and simply needs to be present while their young person paddles.

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Adele making sure everyone signs in and has read the health and safety rules

Once the formalities are done, the fun begins. Inside the boathouse, club members kit people out in waterproof tops, helmets and buoyancy aids.

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John kitting everyone out in waterproofs, helmets and buoyancy aids in the club boathouse

After that, other club volunteers find suitable boats, adjust them to fit the paddler, and slide them onto the water… and off again once the paddlers have had enough!

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These guys worked hard all day helping people in and out of boats

At the event, we have club members in boats on the water and standing on the bank with throw ropes to make sure everyone paddling is as safe as possible, and to offer advice and support.

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Darren watching from the bank to make sure the paddlers are safe, and offering some tips

This year it was lovely to see so many people of all ages enjoying paddling, in both canoes and kayaks.

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People of all ages trying out kayaks

Some people had come along to have a go at paddling after many years away from the sport.

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Jon giving some advice to a paddler. Or has he just forgotten his boat?!

While for others, it was their first time.

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Lovely to see families having fun on the water

There were lots of smiling faces and, of about 110 people who came along, only a few had a swim, and those who did didn’t seem to mind. Maybe they just fancied cooling off!

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Paddling is great fun for girls as well as boys!

There was a steady flow of people all day, with the numbers on the water at any one time only being limited by the amount of helmets and buoyancy aids that the club has.

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Lots of people in canoes at this time

We also saw the club’s new dragon boat on the water for the first time. Unfortunately, I’d left by the time it was paddled, so I only saw it resting peacefully at the far end of the lake, protecting the birds nesting in the reeds from the noisy paddlers having fun on the lake.

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Isn’t he handsome?!

The day went really well and both club volunteers and try a boaters enjoyed it. Hopefully some of the paddlers have found a new hobby to enjoy, and maybe some of them will join the club. For anyone interested, details about joining are available on our Membermojo site.


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