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Old 06-04-2012   #11
Bonedale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 19
Thanks for all the input, feel there is good agreement towards the front especially in more challenging waters. We're having a discussion at the boathouse and looking for outside opinions.

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Old 06-04-2012   #12
Mad Scientist/Creeker
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 803
Some interesting ideas here and I'm pretty sure the correct answer is, 'it depends.'

There is a reason the guy in the front is called the 'lead' boat, but being the TL can also mean tons of different things. In my experience it doesn't matter where the TL is but he/she is going to be the one designating who should be where and what they should be doing. Whether that's the order of the boats, where to set safety etc.

Experience with each other and the general level of experience in the group are key factors. If everyone is experienced enough to know their role depending on where they are in the order of boats, than it doesn't matter who's in front and who's in back. Whoever's in the front takes on the role of lead boat, deciding where to eddy, boat scout, shore scout, set safety etc, and always looking back to make sure the group is with them/thinking ahead to be on top of their game for whatever is coming up. Whoever is running sweep is being a little more prudent with their lines, keeping an eye on the 'big picture' and knowing that there ain't nobody behind them to clean up their sh!t.

The TL is the guy/gal relaying this beta to you on the bus ride up the canyon, carrying the clipboard and hopefully getting you better tips by giving a pee in your wetsuit funny paddle talk.

Evan Stafford
Cub boater: "What do the spiders mean?" Old fart boater: "Trust your intuition." CRCII
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Old 06-04-2012   #13
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Roaring Fork Valley, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 227
I bank on getting $5 less to not TL so I don't have to bark orders and deal with all the gapers while some other guide can feel rad b/c he or she is TL'ing.
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Old 06-04-2012   #14
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Billings, Montana
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 74
TL in the front with the less experienced guys in the middle and a good sweep guide. If you lose a customer in big water you need strong boaters to pick them up unless it's a drop pool river. If a customer swims out in front of the lead boat you'll never catch them and hopefully they listened on which side of the river to swim!
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Old 06-05-2012   #15
thornton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1969
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 600
Originally Posted by kentuckyed View Post
On a commercial trip with multiple boats, where in the order of boats is the best position for the trip leader?
Most TL's prefer running first with multiple boats and 15-30 customers, for a very good reason the least amount of work. When you hit camp you just untie the heavy grill box, heavy coolers, water jugs etc. and allow the customers to unload everything up to camp. Then as planed in advanced when all the heavy stuff is unloaded the last cargo boat with the first aid kit and repair kit and customers bags shows up. If they get their bags first, they will scatter into the wind never to be seen again, till dinner. Then with all the heavy work done all the guides can have a cold one or what ever.
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Old 06-05-2012   #16
Cpt. No Scout
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In a Van, Down By the River
Paddling Since: 91
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 517
On most of our floats the TL is just the manager of the trip. The LT will appoint a boat for lead and sweep. The TL just keeps things together and NOT responsible for micro managing the day to day activities. Usually we put kayakers up front and gear boats in back. if possible
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Old 06-05-2012   #17
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portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,188
I'm usually the TL. I appoint one of my best boaters (with rescue, EMT, PA experience) to run first. He usually EITHER does the All clear, provides guidance (which way to run, hidden obstacles) or flat out pulls over before the rapid if it requires scouting. He also pulls out at the end of a technical run to assist with rope toss etc.

Hes a take command kind of guy and i outfit him with a nimble unloaded cat so he can do his job without being encumbered by a heavy boat
Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it "guaranteed", I will. I got spare time.
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Old 06-05-2012   #18
dillon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 281
Strongest guides lead and sweep and the rookies/badly hung over guides in the middle I think having a rookie lead would be very problematic esp if a flip/swim occurs, strainer is blocking river, wrapped boat in the channel etc.
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Old 06-05-2012   #19
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 2
If the TL is carrying the master first aid kit, then I prefer to be the sweep. If the major first aid kit with communication is infront of the accident, getting back to that scene can be difficult and time consuming. Just another aspect and my thoughts.
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Old 06-05-2012   #20
Dipshit with the most.
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Bellevue, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,496
I was thinking multi day trips and for the wilderness Idaho rivers that I run, it's the most experienced in the lead, sweep has major medical and the pin kit and is typically the 2nd strongest, most experienced or has the best med credential.

We always sandwich around the paddle boats and IKs since they are far more likely to swim.

Did I misunderstand?

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