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BOC sets summer paddling schedule, guidelines for healthy and safe pandemic paddling

BRATTLEBORO—The Brattleboro Outing Club had planned to host 13 paddle trips, from April to October. Since the COVID-19 pandemic interfered with the first few trips, the remaining 10 are included here, and posted on at “Summer Paddling.”

“Paddling is good for both body and soul,” wrote Larry McIntosh, organizer of the BOC’s padding programs. “It allows us to exercise, as well as getting into nature, away from the four walls, into a clean, safe, and open environment.”

McIntosh wrote that what call he calls Pandemic Paddling “requires us to be more conscious of our surroundings and actions,” and offered these guidelines:

• Follow all CDC guidelines, as well as state and local requirements regarding masks, physical distancing and group sizes.

• No car-pooling, unless it’s with someone you live with. Avoid congested parking areas.

• Do not congregate around launch and landing sites, or rest stops; spread out.

• Be totally self-sufficient; able to load, unload and move your own boat/board. In the event you have to ask for help, or offer help, be conscious of distancing. If you help carry a long, or heavy boat, remember to use the same handle, or carry strap, each time you move that boat. Use hand sanitizer often, or gloves, if you have them.

• When paddling, remember to keep apart. A good rule on the water is to stay at least two boat lengths from each other. Try not to follow closely behind another boat, since the virus could be shedding, or particles from the boater ahead may drift back on you. It’s best to paddle in a line abreast, rather in a file, one behind the other. Be conscious of the wind direction. Use it to stay healthy, and not down-wind from another paddler.

• If you are not able (or don’t know how) to rescue yourself in the event of a tip-over, and the water is deeper than your waist, paddle near the shore, where you can swim or walk your boat to safety. Requiring rescue endangers both you, and the person coming to your aid, since physical distancing parameters will be compromised.

• No sharing of gear, food, water bottles, sun screen, bug repellent, cameras, cell phones, binoculars, etc. Be self-sufficient, and responsible. Keep track of your own trash and recycle.

BOC hosted paddle trips are free, and open to the public. Just show up with your own boat/board, and required safety gear. No reservations are required, except for the overnight camping in September. Trips are as follows:

• Sunday, May 31: Somerset Reservoir.

• Wednesday, June 3: Hubbard Pond, Rindge, N.H.

• Wednesday, June 17: Grafton Pond, Grafton, N.H.

• Saturday, June 20: Harriman Reservoir, Wilmington. (First Day of Summer sunrise paddle and potluck island breakfast).

• Saturday, Sept. 12: Connecticut River, Sumner Falls to Wilgus State Park, Ascutney. (this is an overnight camping trip, if desired).

• Sunday, Sept. 13: North Hartland Lake, Hartland and Hartford, Vt. (second day of the two-day camping trip, if desired).

• Saturday, Sept. 26: Connecticut River, Brattleboro to Vernon, (part of the Connecticut River Conservancy’s 25th annual Source to Sea Clean-up).

• Wednesday, Sept. 30 and Oct. 7: Leader’s Choice; wherever the colors are peak.

• Saturday, Oct. 3: Somerset Reservoir.

Details about where and when to meet for each trip are posted on the BOC website. There’s also a list of recommended items to bring along on every paddle trip. Everyone is welcome to join BOC Masked Paddlers, or, just go out on your own.

The annual BOC Consignment Sale & Swap of people and wind powered watercraft has been moved to Saturday, June 27 at a location to be announced. More information can be found on the BOC website.

If there are any questions, contact McIntosh at 802-254-3666, or

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Originally published in The Commons issue #562 (Wednesday, May 20, 2020).

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