Safety Tips for Paddlers
KNOW WHAT WATER YOU'D LIKE TO PADDLE……THEN CHOOSE THE RIGHT BOAT
Water flows downhill - from mountains to oceans, and paddlers play in them all
mountain creeks are the domain of the expert creek kayaker
streams are home to whitewater kayak playboats and highly rockered canoes
with few significant rapids are good for general touring canoes
……..flat water and
wide rivers are suitable for touring kayaks
……..big bodies of
water, estuaries, bays are made for sea kayaks
……..oceans and surf
are for sea kayak experts only
Whitewater requires quick and easy maneuvering - so the boats are generally shorter and
rockered for easy turning. Wide open waters require boats that hold the course easily, so
they are longer and straighter.
TIPS FOR A SAFER PADDLING TRIP
Wear a properly fitted
Personal Flotation Device (PFD) - a life jacket.
Paddle water appropriate to
Learn to control your boat -
be able to stop the boat at any time and know how to land on shore.
Do not go into fast current
unless you are sure you can safely paddle through.
When in a group, assign a lead
and sweep boat - preferably have both be experienced paddlers: no one passes the lead boat
or falls behind the sweep.
Learn to recognize river
hazards: strainers (downed trees or branches reaching into the water); dams with hydraulic
reversals; bridge piers; barbed wires across rivers.
Walk around any hazard about
which you have doubts.
Do not paddle rivers in flood
stage or after a heavy rain - currents can become very swift, even in a normally shallow
Know what to do when you
capsize: stay upstream of the boat to avoid getting trapped between the boat and an
obstacle; do not stand up in swift water (feet can get caught in rocks) but swim to shore.
Tie all your gear into the
boat, but never yourself , children or pets (put wallets in waterproof bags).
Wear proper clothing to avoid
hypothermia - synthetic fabrics are best.
Stay alert to changing weather
Don’t paddle alone - join a club - paddle with people who know the river. Let someone
know where you will be and when you plan to return.
"Take a paddling clinic or class. For a list of places
that offer INSTRUCTION - Click Here
REMEMBER: You are in control of your boat while on the water. The river is a natural
environment and can have hazards, which could cause accidents and spoil your trip.