About Us

Chelmsford Canoe Club was established in 1946 and is one of the oldest in England, unsurprisingly it is also one of the top Canoe Clubs in the country and caters for the needs of over 300 members of all levels: from beginner to international level canoeists representing Great Britain. All our members paddle in flat-water conditions – “Placid Water” – using a wide range of canoes and kayaks built specifically for flat-water racing and suited perfectly for the conditions of the river Chelmer and Can.  

The Club is committed to ensuring that equity is incorporated across all aspects of its development.

     The Club has received Sport England Club Mark Accreditation and Paddle UK’s Quality Club status one of the first in country to achieve this momentous accolade. We also have over twenty British Canoeing qualified coaches, who are able to take you from beginner level all the way to the top if you aspire to go that far. A number of our members are involved in management at the national level and play an important role in the development of kayaking as a sport in England.

    Along with the sport activities, we run numerous social events such as quiz night, Burns night and games night. Other highlights of our social life include summer BBQs, the Christmas Party, the Fun day during the summer and the traditional Boxing Day paddle to the Three Arches in Admirals Park.

    After over fifty years on its present site Chelmsford Canoe Club built a new clubhouse with under floor heating, accessible for all changing rooms and showers, meeting/training room and kitchen.

    We run introductory, “come and try it”, (GO Canoeing) sessions in the Spring and Summer to teach newcomers the basics of canoe/kayaking. 


    The club is a self help group run by the membership.  Members are expected to volunteer and help out with the running of the club by assisting at work parties, keeping the premises clean and tidy, fund raising, participating or helping out at club events and activities. The main events are Marathon and Sprint races. Other sections of the club arrange touring and social events. Tuition to become a competent canoeist will be given by qualified club coaches.


    In 2008 our new club house was opened, giving a greater capacity for learning and social events, with large changing rooms, showers, kitchen, meeting area and accessible facilities for the less able, all heated with under floor heating. To comply with current building regulations there is an automatic fire alarm situated in the club. Should the alarm actuate, the assembly area is situated under High Road flyover near Mothercare.


    There are different sessions throughout the week depending on coach availability and paddler proficiency.

    Saturday morning: mixed age and ability
    Sunday morning: race training for marathon and sprint
    Tuesday & Thursday: race training for marathon and sprint.
    Monday & Wednesday: land based training for injury prevention (physical training).


    An up to date list of fees can be found on the web site, in the ‘Join Us’ section but consists of an initial joining fee and then an annual membership fee.  Hiring of club boats is also charged when used.


    The club has a number of different types of canoe/kayak, buoyancy aids and paddles for hire which will enable members to learn and experience different boating pursuits and allow them to progress to less stable boats.  The fee can be viewed on the web site.  However, the supply is limited and members are expected to buy their own kit after a year.


    When you have purchased your own boat, the club has a number of lockable racks that can be hired.  The fee can be viewed on the web site.  These tend to be popular and a waiting list is held with the club racking officer.


    Some of the competitions that club members compete in are:

    Hasler marathon racing (between 2 & 12 miles) – ranked by ability (South East Area)
    Flat Waster marathon – ranked by age(Essex and surrounding area)
    Sprint racing (Nottingham 200, 500m & 1000m) – ability

    Regattas organised as friendlies by clubs and club members. Some local clubs’ websites are listed below to find directions:

    www.hymb.com (Herts Young Mariners)
    www.lbcc.org.uk (Leighton Buzzard)

    Boats can be transported at most away meetings but competitors will need own transport.  If your race boat is taken for you we ask for nominal charge and that you prepare the equipment to transport, paddle and buoyancy aid safely within the boat.


    Some items of club merchandise can be purchased at reasonable cost from the club i.e. T-shirts and racing vests (club race colours), pogies, deck covers, spray deck, see web site and club notice board.


    Minimum age to paddle 10 years. Must be able to swim 50m confidently.
    Under 16s must wear a buoyancy aid.
    If you capsize hold onto your canoe.

    Weil’s disease from rats – wash hands before eating and cover open cuts

    When taking boats out of racking bays, please do not drag the boats over the concrete apron near bays.  If the boat is over shoulder height, ask for someone to help to remove the boat to help prevent damaging boats when they are dropped.

    Five checks before taking a boat on the water:

    1. Cockpit secure.
    2. Foot rest and seat secure and adjusted.
    3. Buoyancy in the boat.
    4. Carrying handles on boat secure.
    5. Check hull for holes.

    Rule of THREES: 

    Once qualified to Discover level, paddlers can hire boats to go out without a club coach. However, this is restricted to when there is a club coach available to sign the boats out and back in again which is usually during club sessions. The club recommends that you always go out in groups of three for safety.

    If you go out with less, IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. Ensure someone knows where you are, where you are going and when you should be back.

    Wear the right clothing and footwear.  The multi layer approach of manmade fibre with wicking effect that allows water to pass through but keeps you warm, together with a wind proof cagoule without a hood. Ask club coaches for their advice and recommendations.  River and weather conditions can change rapidly.

    Come and join in and happy paddling!