Tennessee Valley Canoe Club


TVCC CONSTITUTION (Revised 4/11/96, 7/13/2006, 12/23/2008, 9/11/2010, 12/13/2013, 9/9/2017)

  1. NAME

The name of this club shall be called “Tennessee Valley Canoe Club”.

    The purpose of this Club shall be to bring together those who are interested in canoeing, kayaking, and related activities; to increase the knowledge, safety and appreciation of paddle sports; and to support conservation and preservation of recreational waterways.


Persons eligible for membership shall be those interested in the purposes for which this organization was formed. There will be one vote per membership. Honorary non-voting memberships shall be available at the discretion of the officers.


  1. Executive officers of the Club are President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary. Other Board Officers are Assistant Vice President, Safety Chair, River Conservation Chair, Communication Chair, Webmaster, and the several Cruise Masters (who are Cruise Master I, Class II/III; Cruise Master II, Class III/IV; Cruise Master III, Overnighters; Cruise Master IV, Non-Paddling; Cruise Master V, Flatwater).

  2. The officers shall be elected at the annual membership September meeting each year by a majority vote of the club members attending. The elected Officers will serve for a one-year period, beginning on October 1st, and ending on September 30th. Executive Officers may serve for two additional consecutive terms for a term of three consecutive terms in the same office. Non- executive board officers may serve indefinite terms, as elected.


  1. The officers of the Club shall constitute the Board of Directors. They shall formulate, plan, transact club business, and formulate policy recommendations to be voted on by the membership.

  2. Vacancies occurring among the members of the Board shall be filled by appointment of the Club Officers, except for the office or President. If this office is vacated, the Vice President will succeed as President.

  3. The Board of Directors is empowered upon majority agreement to take whatever action necessary to correct undesirable activity or conduct of club members.. This may be verbal reprimand, probation, or exclusion from the Club and club forums.


  1. The Club will meet at least twice a year, one meeting being in September for the purpose of officer elections. These shall be a meeting of all club members present.

  2. The Board of Directors shall meet at least quarterly.

  3. The annual meeting shall review any pertinent reports from officers and committees.

  4. All the above meetings shall be open to the club general membership with notice given in the prior club newsletter and the club online calendar.


Any proposed amendments to this constitution must be signed by three active members and submitted in writing to the Club Officers. The Board will then publish the proposed changes in the club newsletter and club forums, giving a minimum one month’s notice before setting a vote on the changes. After said notice, changes may be voted at a publicized club meeting. Approval requires a two-thirds majority of membership present and voting at the meeting.

Tennessee Valley Canoe Club


TVCC BYLAWS (Revised October 1976, December 1980, January 1991, April 1996, November 2005, July 2006, October 2008, September 2010, December 2013, and September 2016 4/11/1996, 7/13/2006, 9/11/2010, 12/13/2013, 10/10/2016, 9/9/2017)


A. Membership in the club is based on one family-household membership for all persons living at the same family-household physical address.

B. Any person otherwise qualified under Article III, who is a member of the Club member family-household, shall automatically become a member of the Club.
C. Club membership will be based on a 12 month cycle which will begin on the date when the club receives payment from each individual or family. Membership rights and benefits begin immediately upon receipt of payment and ends the day after the 12 month period.

  1. DUES

A. The Board of Directors can recommend dues changes to be presented to the membership for discussion one month previous to being voted on by the membership, passing by simple majority.

B. Dues will be based on a 12 month cycle which will start when the club receives payment from each member or family.

C. If a member does not renew their membership within their 12 month cycle then their membership will expire the day after the 12 month period ends. They will be dropped from membership and all rights and benefits ended. If they renew their membership at a later date, then the 12 month cycle will begin based on the new date that the payment is received.

D. No cancellation or refund of dues may be made if a member resigns before the end of their 12 month membership period.

E. All board of director members are eligible as non-paying members during the time that they serve on the board.

F. Lifetime members are exempt from payment of dues. Lifetime members are nominated by the TVCC board members.


A. The President shall preside at all meetings at which he/she is present, shall exercise general supervision over the affairs and activities of the Club, and shall serve as member ex-officio of all committees except the nominating committee. The President will periodically write a column for the club newsletter.

B. The Vice President shall provide a program of training activities, primarily Paddle School. He/she shall also assume the duties of the President during his/her absence.

C. The Assistant Vice President shall assist the Vice President with the yearly organization of Paddle School.

D. The Secretary shall keep minutes of all meetings of the Club which will be an accurate and official record of all business transacted and make the minutes available to the club members. He/she shall also collect mail from the Club post office box. He/she shall also be the custodian of all Club records and shall receive copies of all correspondence related to Club business, to include retention of trip liability waivers. The Secretary will also conduct membership duties, to include contacting new members, maintaining accurate membership lists and directory data, and conduct registration duties as necessary for various club activities. He/she shall also produce an annual membership directory and distribute it to the membership.

E. The Safety Chair is responsible for the planning of safety activities such as Swiftwater Rescue, the Rescue Rodeo, CPR/First Aid classes, and any other safety activities deemed necessary. He/she will also communicate safety policies of the club to the membership at large, and make recommendations about expenditures for safety training and equipment. He/she will periodically provide a column or articles for the club newsletter about safety issues important to paddlers.

F. The Communications Chair is responsible for developing and implementing a communications strategy that is consistent with and promotes Club mission and goals. The Communications Chair is responsible for the preparation, publication, and distribution of the Club newsletter consistent with Club policies, using content provided by Officers desiring specific content in the newsletter, generally monthly.  Independent of content requested and provided by TVCC officers, the Communications Chair will actively seek content based on the Club’s Communication Strategy to provide content of interest and deemed useful to members such as safety, river information, promotion of upcoming events, requests for volunteers, etc.  The Communications Chair will be the primary point of contact for the news media; responding to media questions and coordinating interviews with members as approved by Club leadership.  He/She will provide guidance, support and talking points to appropriate members in their interaction with the press.

G. The Treasurer collects, deposits and disperses club funds. The treasurer can invoice and collect member dues and will coordinate with the Secretary to maintain accurate record of each member’s status in the club. The Treasurer will prepare the Club’s budget and present it to the Board for approval one month prior to the start of the fiscal year, and facilitate adherence to said budget. The Treasurer will maintain accurate financial records in accordance with Federal and State requirements and make them available for review at any time by the Board or any club member upon request. Minimally, the Treasurer will publish a quarterly financial report in the Club Newsletter. The Treasurer will transact all business through Club approved banks and financial services accounts. The Treasurer will inform the Club’s Board of current financial status by written report, at least monthly, and when requested, inform the Club of its financial strengths and weaknesses. The Treasurer will file appropriate forms with the Federal Internal Revenue Service and the State of Tennessee Departments of Revenue and State at the appropriate times in the financial calendar. The Treasurer will disburse funds and pay bills promptly or as directed by the Board. In the absence of the Secretary, the Treasurer will record and publish minutes of any Board directed meeting.

H. The River Conservation Chair shall keep the members informed about projects or legislation affecting the natural environment of our local wildwater systems and to coordinate conservation activities such as river cleanups and any other conservation activities deemed necessary. He/she will periodically provide a column or article(s) for the club newsletter about conservation issues important to paddlers.

I. The Cruise Masters shall be responsible for scheduling river and non-river activities, generally monthly. They will communicate the ‘Safety On Paddle Trips’ policy and procedures given below in the Club By-Laws to the scheduled trip leader.

J. The Executive Committee may appoint an auditor to examine the records of the Treasurer and certify their correctness to the Club annually.

K. The Webmaster will organize and supervise the Club’s electronic forums, to include the Club Web Page.

L. One person may not hold more than two offices simultaneously.


A. A Nominating Committee of at least 3 club members shall be appointed by the President by August 1. The Nominating Committee shall prepare a list of qualified candidates for the several Officer positions by at least two weeks before the annual membership meeting in September. This Officer candidate list shall then be communicated to each member of the club by the Secretary.

B. The Ocoee Race committee is responsible for organizing and holding the Annual Ocoee Race on the second Saturday in October. Additionally, they are responsible for organizing and holding the After Party which benefits the organization of choice of the Board and Committee.

C. Other committees may be appointed by the President.


A. Policy

  1. TVCC has a long tradition of providing paddling trips and training intermediate paddlers. In order to continue this tradition safely, TVCC herein provides a set of guidelines for Trip Leader reference in planning club trips. Safety guidelines are, for the most part, simply a matter of common sense and reflect procedures that experienced recreational boaters already follow. Still, a safety plan will help ensure that trips are free of undue hazards, and that participants know how to respond in the event of an accident.

  1. The procedures that follow are designed to help Trip Leaders develop a sound plan of safety. They are “best practice” standards for safe paddling in any case, but important steps to follow on any club-sponsored trip. A club-sponsored trip is any formal, pre-planned trip posted with a designated leader on the Club online calendar and/or the club newsletter calendar.

B. Procedures for all TVCC Paddle Sport Activities

  1. Prior to the Club Trip or Activity, the Trip Leader will:

    1. Have prior experience on the river/body of water in question, or recruit a boater who has the necessary river experience to lead the trip on the water.

    2. Screen trip participants prior to departure as to their skill level, experience, equipment (to include flotation), roll efficiency, etc. As necessary, pre-screening can be prior to put-in, at which point trip leaders are authorized to exclude those with insufficient skill or inadequate equipment, or for reasons listed below.

    3. Trip Leaders may allow non-TVCC members as a one- time guest(s). The guest(s) must sign the club waiver and have adequate skills and equipment for the trip. Guest status is a one- time exception, after which guests must join the club to participate further.

    4. Be aware of weather conditions/water levels and make safety judgments accordingly.

    5. Develop an evacuation plan, which could include land route evacuation, available vehicles, and whereabouts of the nearest Emergency Room. For assistance in developing an evacuation plan, contact the TVCC Safety Chair.

    6. Ensure that the TVCC Waiver of Liability is signed by every trip participant on EVERY official TVCC sponsored trip. All minors must have a waiver release signed by their parent/guardian PRIOR to the trip or event.

    7. Trip Leaders will recruit adequate support boaters, and may use trip assistants/coordinators to track participants or otherwise assist, as desired.

    8. The Trip Leader has the authority to cancel or abort ANY trip at his/her discretion, for ANY reason.

    9. The Trip Leader has the authority to deny ANY person from participating for ANY reason, to include but not limited to questions of temperament, skill, strength, and equipment.

  1. Before putting on the river or other water body, the Trip Leader will gather the entire group for a Safety Talk, which shall include:

  1. Description of the water and its conditions, hazards, and rapids.

  2. Survey the group for allergies and potentially limiting medical conditions.

  3. Survey gear and outfitting to assure all participants are equipped for the conditions (including hats/sunscreen if sea kayaking, dry clothes, water, food).

  4. Review river signals (stop, go, right, left, are you o.k.?).

  5. Count the number of throw ropes and first aid kits and who has them (the Trip Coordinator should always set an example by carrying both).

  6. Identify the members in the group who have knowledge of CPR and First Aid.

  7. Appoint a lead and sweep boat, and explain controlled river descent techniques. Individual participants are responsible to stay between the lead and sweep boats, and should have the (a) skill (boat control), and (b) sufficient group awareness to do so.

  8. Have the group check each other’s equipment before embarking, for example: grab loops out, tighten helmets and life jackets, etc. Explanation of the nature of the risk involved in the sport and that by signing the liability waiver, participants have waived the right to sue at law.

  1. After the trip, the Trip Leader shall:

  1. Notify the Safety Chair of any hazardous incident, lost boat, or injury requiring professional medical treatment, as soon as possible en route home or immediately upon return.

  2. Publish any found hazards (i.e., wood, etc.) as soon as possible upon return, using existing Club forums.

  3. WITHIN ONE WEEK, send the signed Liability Waivers to the Club, where the Secretary will retain them for a minimum of two years.

  1. Responsibilities of the Safety Chair

  1. TVCC will provide support to Trip Leaders by offering the following:

  1. At little or no charge, classes in CPR/First Aid and Swiftwater Rescue yearly;

  2. Assistance in developing safety and evacuation plans for Club Trips;

  3. Upon request, first aid kits and throw ropes purchased with TVCC funds.

  1. In addition, the Safety Chair will:

  1. Maintain a list of club members who are certified in CPR/First Aid;

  2. Assure there is a written Safety Plan for the Paddle School, Swiftwater Rescue clinics, the Rescue Rodeo, and other similar type club sponsored events;

  3. Assess club safety training and equipment needs and make recommendations to the Board for expenditures and programs;

  4. Collect information about accidents or events on club trips for the purpose of ongoing education of the membership.


  1. Roberts Rules of Order Revised” shall be the parliamentary authority for this Club in all cases in which it is not inconsistent with these by-laws.

  2. In the case of co-chairs for a single board position, only a single vote will be cast.

  3. In the case of an vote required outside of a board meeting, the following steps are to be taken:

  1. A board member makes a motion

  2. Another board member second online

  3. The President accepts it or may defer it to the next Board meeting, but not reject it. 

  4. If accepted, then the President sets the time for debate and when the voting starts and stops, with all online email discussion being by use of the officers@tvccpaddler.com email address.  The whole Board membership is the number present and voting to determine if a majority affirms the motion, excepting a person who, before the motion is made, declares him/herself incommunicado for Board business. 

  5. The President declares the result of the vote.  The motion, second, and vote result is then recorded at the next Board meeting with all necessary details.


Amendments to the Bylaws were made October 1976, December 1980, January 1991, April 1996, November 2005, July 2006, October 2008, September 2010, December 2013, September 2016, and September 2017 and are included herein.