In a nutshell: Lontra is all about paddling as a sociable group activity. Most events will accommodate any sort of kayak or canoe, but a few will be restricted to boats of a certain type. Event descriptions will clearly say if any special equipment or skill is advisable, but that'll be rare. Everyone is welcome regardless of experience.
Safety is paramount. PFDs are mandatory on the water. We won't do anything dangerous, in fact a big part of our credo is intelligently evaluating and avoiding risk, but it can't be eliminated entirely so please take seriously the following tedious disclaimer:
As a condition of your voluntary participation in this activity, you acknowledge it involves inherent risks that can cause property damage, injury, illness, disability and/or death; you assume all risk associated with this activity; you are responsible for having the necessary knowledge, skills, abilities, clothing and equipment to safely participate in this activity.
Leaders of this activity are volunteers. By joining, you release, hold harmless, and indemnify any leaders and all members of this group from any and all claims for property damage, injury, illness, disability and/or death, including those caused by negligence.
We operate under the Common Adventure Model (CAM). You can find details about CAM under the Discussions section of this website. There are no formal trip leaders or guides unless an event is specifically listed that way. Event plans will be proposed in some detail to allow informed choices among them, but decisions about amendments to those plans are made collectively by attendees. Attendees are members who've submitted an affirmative RSVP for that event. Each paddler assumes responsibility for his/her own safety and understands the risk associated with kayaking and canoeing. That said, the purpose of the group is to encourage paddling together, in part so paddlers can provide assistance to one another should the need arise.
When you join, you'll be asked to pay dues and offered an online form for that. The free trial period is long and informal payment is perfectly acceptable, so feel free to use the online option if you like, but feel free to ignore it. Just find me at an event and make sure I know who you are.
Having waded through that, it's time to admit we're in it for the fun of it, so the guiding principle is to keep things simple and enjoy our time on the water. We're highly goal-oriented, but that's our only goal!