-- Last Updated: Sep-20-12 10:12 AM EST --
On the other hand, when I've taken out groups of relative novices (back when I had a full fleet and could outfit 5 or 6 people), I would match the least experienced and most vulnerable people with the most bombproof and safety equipped boats, for their own safety and my peace of mind. For instance, a couple of my "loaners" are folders with float bags rather than bulkheads and another was a more open cockpit, semi rec style boat. I have always put the more experienced paddlers in those because I know they are less likely to capsize and even if they do, these folks have demonstrated they will maintain their composure and re-enter and pump out the boats without much if any intervention from me. Newbies who were really nervous I always put in my old Dagger Magellan, a 17' plus fully bulkheaded big water cruiser that would keep them solidly upright no matter what hit them and give them a secure platform to clamber onto (with my help) if something did go wrong.
So I think it more strategically safe to overequip novices paddling with you rather than put them in a less competent boat than you are using yourself.