Team paddling is not a viable or necessarily favorable option for the large ConnYak and TNP paddles where people launch and land in a staggered manner. However, within a large leaderless group paddle folks can team up. Slower boaters or souls that are more adventurous can team up as they see fit. An advanced paddler spying a tentative novice can team up to provide safety and coaching if the novice is receptive.
I am not advocating additional layers of rules and protocols. This is the stuff we paddle to escape from.
To be clear... not preachy or alarmist – I am advocating situational awareness and being proactive to help ensure the safety of other paddlers. I have seen the Common Adventure Model (a.k.a. leaderless group dynamics) break down on many occasions; from the shoulder of Mt. Washington, to Sheepscott Reversing Falls in Maine, to our local waters. This breakdown is not pretty. Additionally, I can point to one case where had someone from outside a "leaderless group" not intervened there would have, with out a doubt, been a body bag for a 9 year old paddler. I would submit that the reason there have not been body bags for some of us, is that people who were "not responsible", acted "responsibly".
Paddle Hard, Paddle Fun, Paddle Safe
The Connyak BBS