Nothing ruins a good time faster than a tragic accident. To help you have a great time, here are some safety tips from the ACA:
Ten Ways to Paddle Safely
1) ALWAYS WEAR YOUR LIFE JACKET
Wear a properly fitting U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket at all times while on the water.
2) DON'T DRINK WHILE PADDLING
Avoid alcohol. It impairs the coordination and balance you need to control a canoe or kayak.
3) STAY LOW
To avoid a capsize, learn how to stay low to enter and exit your boat safely.
4) KEEP YOUR BALANCE
Distribute passengers, secure gear evenly and low. Leave your dog on shore.
5) PRACTICE THE WET EXIT
Learn how to get out of, hang on to, right and re-enter your capsized boat.
6) DON'T GET LEFT IN THE COLD
Hypothermia is a danger any time of the year. Dress for weather conditions and be prepared for cold water immersion.
7) PLAN AHEAD
Plan your trip. Then file a float plan so someone knows when you plan to return and, how to find you if you don't.
8) NEVER PADDLE ALONE
Companions can help if there is trouble. New paddlers should go with someone more experienced - it's a great way to learn and stay safe if there is a mishap.
9) BE IN COMMAND
Know how to move your boat forward, sideways, backward and stop. Watch ahead for hazards.
10) LEARN ABOUT YOUR BOAT
Consider taking a canoe or kayak safety class.
Here are links to two organizations that offer paddle safety training:
- American Canoe Association (ACA): www.acanet.org
- British Canoe Union (BCU): wwwbcuna.com