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Kayaking- Paddle Safe
Is this your first trip of the season? How recently have you evaluated your skills?
No matter what your experience level, we recommend you make a thorough
assessment of your ability to handle yourself in any given boating situation you might find yourself.
For example, some paddlers are experienced with maneuvering the kayak through rough waters and
waves, but when was the last time you’ve done so? Those who are new to kayaking or those who
have reservations about their ability to effectively pilot in rough waters should not take
Here are some things you can do to guarantee that you have a great experience.
When you combine your enthusiasm with intentional preparation you can guarantee a super waterway adventure!
First of all, many paddlers with unbridled bravado, overlook the need
(and often requirement) of a life jacket (PFD).
Most states require those aboard a kayak or canoe to wear a PFD,
or at least have one aboard.
Next time you ignore the life jacket remember - wearing a life jacket will
help keep your head above water
and help keep you warmer in cold water. It should be part of your plan.
Secondly, consider that modern kayaks are lightweight and have varying degrees of stability.
You can imagine that depending on your skill level it can be easy to tip.
So, if kids are aboard, make sure that their PFD is suited for their size and age,
and that they are properly secured. (There are special PFD’s for toddlers.) As part of the plan,
don’t exceed the weight capacity of your boat since that will also cause your kayak to be unstable.
Thirdly, always tell someone when you go out paddling and where you are going.
In this age of technology, there is no need for unnecessary worry as long as you’ve kept
someone informed of the day’s particulars.
Next, check the weather and water temperature before any trip. It may seem to be a “no-brainer”
but you want to be sure that your smile isn’t turned upside down by your lack of heed to weather forecasts.
Use common sense if things are looking so-so. It is far better to postpone a trip then to get caught in a storm.
Always be prepared for the weather on the water. In warm weather, use a good sunscreen.
Wear a long sleeved shirt and hat for sun protection. In colder weather, have a proper fitting dry suit
to keep insulated from the cold.
Finally, no matter what your level a good boating safety course is a benefit.
Find out about off-shore winds and tidal changes when returning to shore;
what to do after you’ve tipped over; what to do when you’ve lost your paddles, etc.
Don’t lose control or lose your mind – plan by taking the course together with your family members or
friends who’ll be sharing the good times with you.
There are basic safety rules that all boaters should follow. Do you know what they are?
To brush up on them, you should also consider a safety course. Sadly, as with all recreational activities,
there is always the possibility of injury or death. It is clear that you should always use common
sense but being prepared with course information will ensure that you follow all safety rules
automatically at all times.
- Never Kayak Alone – Although tempting, you should avoid venturing into the water alone.
A kayaking buddy is just as important as a PFD. As stated previously, if kayaking by yourself
is unavoidable, always inform another person of your whereabouts and provide an estimated
- Never mix alcohol or drugs (prescription or non-prescription) with boating.
- Stay hydrated. Always bring plenty of water and food.