Being Safe on the Water

 

Tandem canoeing. Courtesy of Johnson Outdoors
Tandem canoeing. Courtesy of Johnson Outdoors

Plan for an enjoyable safe paddling trip  by learning and remembering a few basics.

Before you head onto the water, tell your plan to a friend on shore or at home where you will be going and for how long,  in case of emergency.


Wear It Logo 150x150Life Jacket or
PFD (Personal Flotation Device)

Always wear one when you’re paddling.

 

Paddling Conditions: Water +  Air + Weather Forecast

  • Be aware of the current water conditions and take extra care or waiting if recent rain has the river rising, if a storm is brewing, or if the water and/or air are cold.
  • Watch the weather to prepare for local conditions and electrical storms. When you are on the water, head to shore if you can see or hear a storm.
  • Water sometime seems calm when it can be deep, swiftly moving or decorated with dangerous rocks or obstructions below the surface.

Swimming and Safety Practices

  • If you’re planning to go paddling you just may take a spill while you’re learning!  Being in the water a normal part of being on the water. However,  you should be comfortable swimming if you are off your stand up paddleboard or out of your canoe.
  • Keep up-to-date on CPR procedures.
  • Keep a safety kit on your boat if you you have space to store it, otherwise with your gear on shore.
  • Don’t mix paddling with drinking alcohol.
  • Supervise children continually regardless of their swimming abilities, even if they are wearing life jackets.

Paddling Etiquette
On a river,  for instance a person who is heading downstream always has the right of way. If you are about to move out from a resting spot when another person is in the current and about to go by, you should let them pass.

Check out this video from the folks at the Safe Boating’s Wear it! Campaign. They are ready  to get the spread the word to share the importance of wearing pfds!

For more information on boating safety, including safety when using motorized boats,  visit the National Safe Boating Council.

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