Our July 11 post Open Water Swim Set One Month Before USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships Return to Cleveland discussed some of the challenges swimmers faced at last year’s USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships. Ahead of the return of the USATAGNC to Cleveland August 9-10, our Blazing Paddles Paddlefest Safety Partner, PHASTAR Corp, is organizing both a River Ambassador program and a safety plan for the swim leg of both the USATAGNC’s Olympic distance (1500m) and Sprint distance (750m). The below is from PHASTAR’s press release:
PHASTAR is currently looking for kayakers and stand-up paddleboarders interested in becoming River Ambassadors. If you are experienced in these watersports, want to spend more time doing what you love, and want to help keep our local Northeast Ohio rivers safe, then this is the perfect opportunity. PHASTAR’s new River Ambassador pilot program is designed to utilize volunteer American Canoe Association accredited paddleboarders and kayakers in concert with the River Communications Office and PHASTAR 2543 safety boat to promote safety, education, and goodwill on our rivers and tributaries during the recreational boating season here in Northeast Ohio.
The River Ambassador program is an extension of our current Marine Safety program and will launch a knowledgeable volunteer paddle corps on the river and waterfront during the busiest times; weekends and holidays, during adaptive paddling and similar program functions and other special events. These River Ambassadors are a part of the larger Cuyahoga River Safety Task Force plan, and work directly with PHASTAR Marine Safety and other public safety resources.
To become a River Ambassador, you must become certified by the ACA for paddleboarding or kayaking. These certification courses will provide participants with instruction on basic and advanced paddling techniques. The kayak and SUP courses will meet on July 24th and 25th, and are available for a nominal $50 fee. Sign up for the kayak course here: http://bit.ly/KayakSafetyFacilitator and the SUP class here: https://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/parks/programs-events/2019/or/july/american-canoe-association-aca-paddlesports-safety
First Aid, CPR, and AED Certification is also required. PHASTAR is offering a *FREE* First Aid/CPR/AED certification course on July 23rd at our 1776 Columbus Rd. Facility, which will run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. You can sign up for this class here: https://forms.gle/eZerNdqoauLf6dwW8
If you have already obtained this certification, you will be asked to provide proof. Lastly, all River Ambassadors are required to attend the River Ambassador Indoctrination Training, which will cover rules of the road, a basic navigation refresher and proper radio technique. This will be held on July 27th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 1776 Columbus Rd. Registration for the First Aid/CPR/AED and Indoctrination Training is here (select one or both): https://forms.gle/eZerNdqoauLf6dwW8
Please note: paddlers who already have ACA Instructor Level 1 or 2 need only attend the First Aid/CPR/AED and Indoctrination Training.
PHASTAR is also putting together a Paddle Safety Team for the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships to be held in Cleveland next month. We will need about 25 experienced paddlers from Thursday, August 8th to Sunday, August 11th. This is a really fun event to be a part of. Register to be on the Paddle Safety Team here: http://usatriathlon.volunteerlocal.com/volunteer/?id=33109
All the registration links (in case you missed them the first time):
Registration for SUP (7/24-25): https://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/parks/programs-events/2019/or/july/american-canoe-association-aca-paddlesports-safety
Registration for Kayaks (7/24-25): http://bit.ly/KayakSafetyFacilitator
Registration for First Aid/CPR/AED Course (7/23) and/or River Ambassador Indoctrination Training (7/27): https://forms.gle/eZerNdqoauLf6dwW8
Registration for USA Triathlon Paddle Safety Team (8/8-11): http://usatriathlon.volunteerlocal.com/volunteer/?id=33109