10 Tips for Paddle Board, Canoe, and Kayak Fun!

10 Tips for Paddle Board, Canoe, and Kayak Fun!

Paddle boards, canoes, and kayaks are vessels that offer people a range of calm to exhilarating fun on the water; are relatively easy to use; easy to move around; and you can launch them from shore.
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Join in on the fun! Whether you paddle fast or paddle slow, paddle sports are growing according to the “2016 Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report” from the Outdoor Foundation who say, nearly half of all Americans – 48.4% – participated in at least one outdoor activity in 2015. That equates to 142.4 million participants, who went on a collective 11.7 billion outdoor outings. While the actual number of outdoor participants increased by one million over the one-year period, the overall participation rate remained the same due to population increase.
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With all that fun on the water comes a bit of safety to consider; according to the American Canoe Association, top causes of fatalities for paddle sports are: falling overboard, capsizing, and drowning.
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Help keep paddling both fun + safe and refer to these to these safety tips when planning your next paddling adventure:
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1. Wear A Life Jacket

Be ready to capsize and swim sometimes when paddling; and for cold water immersion as cold water can lower core body temperature leading to: inability to move, hypothermia, and even drowning. Wearing a life jacket can prevent drowning. According to 2015 US Coast Guard Statistics on recreational boating, “Where cause of death was known, 76% of fatal boating accidents victims drowned. Of those drownings victims with reported life jacket usage, 85% were not wearing a life jacket.” In 2008, the U.S. Coast Guard determined that paddle boards are considered to be a vessel when used outside of a swimming, surfing, or a bathing area. Federal law requires children under 12 to wear a life Jacket aboard a vessel. Click here for more information.
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2. Carry A Sound Producing Device

If in trouble, you can blow a US Coast Guard approved whistle longer than you can yell for help.
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3. File A Float Plan

If you are going paddling for just a few hours, let someone know where you expect to be and when you expect to return. If you plan a longer adventure, leave a copy of a written float plan with your marina, yacht club, or friend. A float plan includes a description of your vessel, who is on board, a description of the safety equipment you are carrying, where you expect to be, and when you expect to be there. Instruct the person holding the float plan to notify the Coast Guard or other appropriate agency if you do not return within a reasonable time after your scheduled arrival (taking into account weather, etc.). When you arrive at your destination, or if your plans change, notify the person holding your float plan to avoid unnecessary worry and possible waste of search and rescue resources. Click here for more information.

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4. Know Your Limits

Can you recognize water, wind, weather conditions, or when you are tired? Are you dressed correctly for your paddle adventure? Make good choices before venturing out and paddle according to your own limits.
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5. Get Education

Boating education benefits skippers, passengers, and vessels alike, whatever your age. Knowledge about boating and paddle safety can reduce accidents, fatalities, and property damage. Check out this list of in-person and online sources of education today! Click here for more information.
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6. Assess Conditions Continuously for Vessel Traffic, Water, and Weather

Vessel traffic, operator skill, sun, tides, waves, wind, and temperatures can be more of a factor than one might think. Operate your vessel in a safe and responsible manner. Keep out of the way of motorboats; group paddlers best travel behind one another rather than abreast and possibly blocking the waterway. A beautiful morning on the water can quickly turn into a windy, stormy afternoon. This is why it is important to check the weather forecast before you head out on the water. You can check the marine forecast for your area as well as access the Weather Channel and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Marine Forecasts page.
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7. Vessel Safety Check

A vessel safety check includes deck, hull, oar, paddle condition, and many of the items on this safety tips list; in addition to information about the owner or operator; mandatory requirements for boating safety equipment; equipment recommended when the boat is used in open water; and other recommendations.
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8. Leash for Paddle Board

For paddle boards there are different kinds of leashes for different water venues; additionally, a leash can keep your paddle board tethered to you and blowing away in the wind. Check out the video from the American Canoe Association. Click this link for more information.
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9. Avoid Dehydration

By the time you feel thirsty the dehydration process is already underway. Bring water and snacks. According to survivor instructor Cody Lundin, a person at rest needs about 6 cups of water daily while that same person can lose up to 16 cups (a gallon) in just one hour of heavy sweating!
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10. Use Your Water Voice

Sound carries across the water so when talking with other members of your group be mindful of the volume of your voice.
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Find more information from Sea Tow Foundation by clicking this link www.boatingsafety.com/resources.

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Paddle fun + safe this season!

Written by  Michael Wesolowski

Sea Tow Foundation Executive Director

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