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About Paddling

Experience adventures on the water with like-minded paddlers. Paddlers of all levels are welcome. This is a sea kayak and recreational kayak friendly club, however, due to safety concerns, inflatable kayaks are not permitted. For more information regarding the recreational kayak program, please read The Halton Outdoor Rec Kayaking Program.pdf 

From the first- time paddler to the more experienced paddler, the Club offers opportunities to learn and to practise throughout the season. The Club begins the season with a focus on safety, offering a variety of introductory and refresher safety and rescue options for both sea kayak and recreational kayak paddlers. When offered, Paddle Canada Instructors provide the courses to help paddlers learn and improve at any skill level for both sea kayak and recreational kayak paddlers. Then we go have some fun on the water.

We offer paddles for both sea kayaks and recreational kayaks throughout the season. We travel for our day trips to interior lakes and rivers such as the Grand River, Rockwood, Welland Canal, Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. Weekend and extended trips take paddlers to such locations as Franklin Islands, Whales Back, Benjamin Islands, Lake Superior and North Channel to name a few. Some of our day and weekend trips utilize the resources of outfitters who provide rental kayaks and equipment so you don't always need to own a kayak to get involved. Any surplus funds which may be generated from the running of our paddling trips or events, will go towards the Sports Development Fund to improve our club paddling, for example, the purchase of VHF radios for trips.

We also have workshops where we learn from each other. Workshop topics may include water safety guidelines, paddle strokes, rescues, backcountry trip packing, navigation and much more.

Don't paddle alone.  Share your paddle in the safe and friendly group environment the Club provides.

Paddling is Magic, Come join us

  • We are all here to have fun, be safe and learn from each other.
  • We are all volunteer trip leaders who enjoy organizing and sharing our experiences.
  • We ask that you have the proper kayak, safety equipment, training, skill level required for the various trips and courses.

Lessons and Practice Opportunities

The Halton Outdoor Club welcomes all levels of paddling for both sea and recreational kayaking; we really like helping beginners. Our goal is to make it easy for a new paddler to get started.  We offer practice opportunities in both the pool (April) and lake (June) with all the equipment included, depending on our arrangement with our chosen paddling company.

In addition, we offer dryland and water opportunities (May-June) to share and to practise with other club members. Whatever your level of experience, we are happy to have you join us. Check the events calendar for more details and to register.

Kinds of Trips

Day Trips

Throughout the paddling season, we offer day trips that are within 2 hours drive time of the Halton Region. Every outing has a volunteer trip leader and a detailed paddling plan. Check the events calendar for the schedule and to register.

Car Camping Trips

We offer weekend car camping trips through-out Ontario during the season. We book a campsite on an inland lake, paddle for the weekend and enjoy each other’s company. Check the events calendar for the schedule and to register.

Backcountry Camping Trips

We offer backcountry paddling trips throughout the season. This is usually on open water, waves and wind conditions are considered. Paddle up to 20 kms per day based on conditions. Certified Outfitters may be used to guides. Check the events calendar for more details and to register.

Guided Trips

The Halton Outdoor Club will sometimes offer guided trips by a certified outfitter for paddles which are more of a challenge with our highest trip rating, Grade D, Comfortable Intermediate. They typically have a longer duration and take place in the backcountry or coastal areas. Please check the events calendar for more details and to register.


The Importance of Safety

Safety is the overarching principle of The Halton Outdoor Club Paddling. It is our priority. HOC provides several trip formats based the skill level of the participants involved, always keeping safety in mind.

Pre Launch Shoreline Safety Meeting - NEW for 2024!

Before we launch, we will conduct a safety meeting to go over safety and safety procedures. This is done on the shoreline with all our equipment and kayaks in place, ready to launch, before we get in our kayaks.

We will go over the required skills, the anticipated trip conditions, the individual role as a participant, and our collective role as a group. In the event that the conditions exceed the skill level of the participants, the volunteer trip leader has the final call to cancel the trip for some or all of the paddlers, before or on the day of the paddle.

HOC Pre Launch Shoreline Safety Meeting(2024-02-29).pdf

Required Equipment

  • Kayak with sealed fore and aft bulkhead compartments unless the paddle has been specified to permit recreational boats
  • Inflatable boats are not permitted. 
  • A minimum of one spare paddle per 2 participants.
  • A spray skirt is required unless you are in a recreational boat (a boat which lacks either a fore or aft sealed bulkhead) or on a Grade A trip
  • One (1) buoyant heaving line at least 15 m (49’3”) long
  • A properly fitting PFD or lifejacket must be worn at all times while in your kayak
  • Inflatable PFDs are not permitted by HOC
  • One (1) bailer OR One manual bilge pump; One (1) pealess whistle
  • If paddling before sunrise or after sunset or in periods of restricted visibility like fog, one (1) all-round light (A light showing an unbroken light over an arc of the horizon of 360 degrees)
  • For multi day trips, one (1) magnetic compass (handheld or deck)
  • For kayaks over 6m (19’8”): One (1) watertight flashlight with working batteries AND Six (6) flares of Type A (Rocket parachute flare), Type B (Multi Star flare) Type C (Hand flare) Type D (Smoke Signal), however, only two (2) can be Type D

Additional Safety Considerations

  • Trips follow the HOC Paddling Trip Rating Tool(2024-02-29).pdf
  • Kayaks must suit the conditions of a trip. Recreational kayaks are more suited for flat water conditions and shorter distances; while sea kayaks can meet more challenging conditions and longer distances. We will specify recreational kayak friendly trips. 
  • Recreational kayak: 12 feet long or less, with one or no water tight compartments. Fold up or Sit on top acceptable. Air bags for floatation is strongly recommended.  Due to safety concerns, inflatable kayaks are not permitted. 
  • Proper clothing must be worn to suit the air and water temperature. Never wear cotton on the water. Wet suit and dry suit based on water temperature recommended. 
  • In order to paddle with us, a mandatory wet exit must have been completed within the past 12 months.

Suggested Practices for Participants

  • Familiarize yourself with both the HOC Paddling Trip Rating Tool and the HOC Shoreline Safety meeting as found above.

  • Check HOC Trip Rating on the club’s website event description. It outlines the anticipated conditions and required skills for today’s paddle. Decide for yourself if you are capable enough to attend today’s paddle.

  • Develop and practice your paddling skills and recovery skills by taking lessons offered through the club, or a certified third part instructor; and by attending paddles which will allow you to grow in your skills. Our club also offers pool sessions in the winter, and Practice and Play sessions in the summer.

  • Make sure that you have practiced doing a wet exit (in the last 12 months prior to a paddle); and for Grades B paddles and above, be able to perform both an assisted rescue and self rescue.

  • Ensure that you have all the required equipment for a paddle as found above under Required Equipment.

  • Dress appropriately for the weather and water temperature.

  • Bring enough food and water to meet the energy demands of a trip, as well as the hydration demands as dictated by the weather.

  • Show up on time so as to get your equipment in place; and to fully participate in the Shoreline Safety Meeting prior to a paddle. This is our checklist to ensure that everyone is safe.

    Paddling Committee

    As part of the Halton Outdoor Club (HOC) paddling community, we formed a Paddling Committee consisting of volunteers who want to make an impactful contribution to the HOC.

    • Our mission is to create a positive, safe, respectful, inclusive paddling community for novice, beginner and intermediate paddlers.
    • Our vision is to grow the Halton Outdoor Paddling Community by providing a respectful and encouraging environment where we develop our paddling skills, respect the environment and nurture each other resulting in a positive paddling experience.
    • Our values are safety, respect, inclusiveness which enable us to offer the best member experience while paddling with HOC.

    The paddling committee consists of 2 co-directors, Paul Leppik and Ed Brunato, who are backed up by a team of hard working, dedicated individuals to bring HOC a fantastic paddling program. They are Anne Marchildon, Bob Annis, Lise Sorensen, Gabriela Sebestyen, Katrina Blom, Ken Besser and Virginia Martin.

    We meet once a month for the purpose of coordinating and planning meaningful paddling experiences for our Halton Outdoor Club members. Contact the paddling directors if you wish to join us. 

    To Contact The Paddling Co-Directors

    To reach out to the paddling directors, please send and email to

    Trip Leading Resources

    Items To Bring With You

    HOC Pre Launch Shoreline Safety Meeting(2024-02-29)(PDF) New for 2024 - This is a meeting to discuss safety prior to getting in our kayaks. We are in the process of finalizing the shoreline safety meeting.  A finalized laminated copy will be given to our given to our voluntary trip leaders before the season begins, or you may refer to it by clicking on the above link.
    Procedures Regarding Incident Reports: describes the procedures to follow if an incident occurs. 
    Incident Report Form (PDF) - Please print and have with you prior to any trip. To be filled out by the Volunteer Trip Leader in the event of a medical incident and submitted to the Club Manager. 
    Emergency Procedures (PDF) - Outlines what to do in case of an emergency.
    WAIVER(PDF) - Please note that Club Waivers are now a part of the sign up process on the club's website.
    HOC Float Plan(2024-05-03)(PDF) - This is a copy of what the float plan looks like, however, it will be filled out electronically. 

    Suggested Practices for Volunteer Trip Leaders

    Suggested Practices for Paddling Volunteer Trip Leaders(2024-05-03)(PDF)

    Volunteer Trip Leader Development Program

    Transitioning from a participant to a volunteer trip leader doesn’t have to done alone. You will have the support of our caring and collegial paddling community.

    As a volunteer organization we rely on people who are willing to help out in all capacities, from organizing paddling excursions behind the scenes to volunteer trip leaders who lead them. Our goal is to grow as an organization and to continue our robust paddling program. Here are some resources to guide you along this journey.

    Please refer to the Trip Leading in the Member section of the club website.

    HOC Insurance Summary

    Paddling and Camping Resources

    Tentative Paddling Planning Calendar

    DISCLAIMER: The sole purpose of this calendar is for planning and organizing paddling trips for the season. It is a tool which helps to avoid having mulitiple backcountry trips at the same time, or car camping, or day trips; although we may choose to run simultaneous backcountry, car camping and day trips on the same weekend, as they are different kinds of offerings.  We are a volunteer organization and we rely on the kindness of individuals who put forth trips for our enjoyment.  However, a volunteer(s) who proposes a trip, may not be able to follow through for any number of valid reasons.  A paddling trip only becomes official when it is active on the club's Events Calendar.  We have a cureated list of paddling lessons and trips listed below and on the Upcoming Paddling Events webpage for your convenience.  Therefore, we ask that you use the official club Events Calendar for active and official trips to plan your leisure time with us.

    If you have a trip in mind and you wish to become a volunteer trip leader for said trip, be sure to contact our paddling co-directors. 

    The HOC Trip Rating System

    How we grade our trips for expected conditions and skills required:

    We endeavor to have everyone remain safe on our paddling excursions and to have participants make informed decisions regarding the suitability of such trips. Therefore, we have adopted a trip rating system based on the typical conditions that one may face on any trip and the skills needed to meet such conditions. It is the discretion of the volunteer trip leader to increase a trip grade depending on changing conditions on the day of the paddle.

    Special thanks goes to Jeff Arbing (O.S.K.C.) whose input and paddling experience was instrumental in its creation.

    HOC Paddling Trip Rating Tool(2024-02-29).pdf

    Grade A - Beginner
    Grade B - Comfortable Beginner
    Grade C - Intermediate
    Grade D - Comfortable Intermediate

    HOC Paddling Launch and Parking Locations Map

    DISCLAIMER: We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the locations of the HOC Paddling Launch and Parking Locations Map

    Official Scheduled Trips

    Upcoming Paddling Events - List Form

    Active paddling events are listed below, on the club's Events Calendar, or on the Upcoming Paddling Events webpage, which you can bookmark for your convienience.

    By clicking on an event you will find all trip information and the opportunity to register for our paddling events!

    Day Trips

    Lessons, Workshops, Pool Sessions

    Car Camping

    Backcountry Camping

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    P.O. Box 91565
    Burlington, ON L7R 4L6

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