Re-Opening: Tours, Rentals and Lessons, and the New Normal

A guided sea kayak tour

Now that we are open we have had to re-evaluate everything we do here at East Coast Outfitters to ensure that we are able to conduct tours, lessons and rentals as safely as possible around the new guidelines for businesses operating during a global pandemic.

Outdoor programming operates on the assumption that a degree of acceptable risk is always present for our staff and participants. Within the context of COVID-19, the following guidelines have been put together based on the best available evidence of how to reopen outdoor programs with an acceptable level of risk. As best practices and polices change and emerge so too will this document.

East Coast Outfitters has been a leader in the outdoor community and a valued member of the Nova Scotia tourism industry since 2001. We have been training individuals through Paddle Canada programing and have helped to create a group of professional guides and instructors that are dedicating to the safety and enjoyment of paddling while mitigating all risk involved for maximum participant satisfaction. In these times of concern about the spread of COVID-19 we believe that the guidelines highlight our unwavering commitment to the health and safety of our paddlers and that kayak tours, rentals, and courses can operate within the context of provincial guidelines in a way that is safe and fun for everyone.

We are only operating our Guided daily tours, Lessons, and Rentals. We are not operating our daily specials just yet. Those include ladies night, after-work paddle and yoga/paddle, etc.

Group Safety: to promote cleanliness and physical distancing.


Pre-trip:

RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED FOR ALL TOURS, RENTALS AND LESSONS. We are only open by appointment only. This is necessary so that we can stagger groups and help promote social distancing and less contact with other groups


 Limiting group sizes to 2 to 8 people (plus 2 guides); private household or “bubble family” group preferable
 All participants will verbally be screened for COVID-19 before the tour.
 Day tours only: 2, 2.5, 4 or 6-hour tours
 One tour per person per day
 Only households from Nova Scotia (until border restrictions are eased)
 Everyone will be in double kayaks as much as possible to limit the risk of capsizes unless participants have previous kayaking experience. This applies to rentals as well.
 Numbering or assigning kayaks to specific guides and clients. This will make it easier to quarantine kayaks and contact trace if client or guide present with symptoms
 Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty gear and discard after each use. Wash hands immediately after gloves are removed.
 If reusable gloves are worn, gloves should be dedicated to handling dirty gear and should not be used for other purposes. Wash hands immediately after gloves are removed.
 Instruct guests to bring their own individual bathroom bags with hand sanitizer, hand soap, toilet paper and gloves
 Payment online or by e-transfer only
 Digital waiver
 Regularly clean and disinfect equipment used for handling payments.
 No snacks, lunches or any food will be supplied before, during or after the tour. Paddlers will be asked to bring food and drink adequate for the amount of time on the water
 Tours will occur only on days with fair weather as per normal operating procedure
 Encourage social distancing at all times before, during, and after the tour.
o all instruction will be given at a distance of 2m from all paddlers
o Guides will verbally instruct participants on how to help each other with their gear and boat to get ready for the tour
o Kayakers will adjust their own foot pedals (or help from a family member)
o If anyone at any time needs to be within 2m of another person they will
wear a face covering

 Increased verbal instruction: foot pedals adjustment and spray skirt
 Moving kayak: each person will lift the kayaks from the same position to limit contact
 Participants will lift and carry their own kayak and equipment. Disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer will be available in every boat so that guest may sanitize at any time. At no time during the tour will the guide touch the client’s boat. If a guide needs to touch a boat, they will wear a mask.

During the tour


 Maintaining social distance on the water
 No rafting up
 Route plan will take paddles only to calm protected areas of the ocean
 There will be Lysol wipes and hand sanitizer available in each boat throughout the tour and the guide will carry extra hand sanitizer, masks and gloves.
 If a kayaker capsizes their boat the guide will use a Catamaran Rescue (a no contact rescue) when possible: With 2 paddles for stability Guide and double with stirrups can use other double with stirrups to create steps for guests to climb back into cock pit. If client still feels uncomfortable guide can stay connected for stability.
o If this rescue is not feasible the guide will wear a mask and gloves and will proceed with a typicalassisted re-entry

 If first aid is needed, (cuts, injuries) during the tour everyone involved will wear gloves and a mask. If possible, the guide will talk one person through the process allowing only those family members on tour to help each other in close proximity. If the injuries are more serious, EMS will be contacted, and the guide will use all necessary precautions to help the injured person.


After the tour


 Extensive cleaning procedures for gear and equipment.
 After the tour, the kayaker will be asked to remove all equipment and leave it in the kayak. The guide will then proceed to wipe down all equipment with products recommended by Health Canada before hanging to dry and/or storing

Please stay tuned to our website and all our social media for updates.

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