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Author Topic: Kayak & Canoe Paddler Safety  (Read 2181 times)

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Offline mudbrook

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Kayak & Canoe Paddler Safety
« on: September 01, 2011, 09:31:46 AM »
Kayak & Canoe Paddler Safety
Written by Gigi Stafne

General Precautions:

Know how to swim (especially in river currents, rip tides)
Wear your pfd at all times

Take a paddling class every year to improve or refresh your skills

Never paddle alone--unless you have a Float Plan & solo rescue equipment for paddlers

Apply your Float Plan (on your car, with your friends/family)

Pack gear listed below (WILD EARTH has additional Pack Lists, request from WEET)

Balance your gear in your boat & never overload greater than capacity

Strap safety equipment on your deck, not inside storage hatches

Know your boat's capacity and adhere to it

Be physically fit, know your body's strengths & limitations.

Communicate these & be honest about your paddling skill level with your outfitter or paddling group.

Plan your trip well. Know the body of water you are paddling, discuss with experts

Look out for rapids, boulders, low head dams, strainers, barbed wire/fences underwater

Safe entry & exit:  keep your center of gravity low, balanced, hold 3 points of contact

Keep your weight balanced over the center of your watercraft

Take precautions to avoid hypothermia

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Use common sense at all times

Be familar with WI State Recreational Statutes (on WEET Waiver)


If You Should Capsize

Ensure your own safety first (just as with First Aid steps)

Look for other paddlers next to check on their safety

Call out for assistance &/or let others know you are ok/not ok

Stay upstream of your watercraft on a river

Grab your boat, hold on to it

Upright your craft & empty it of water if possible

Find your paddle, grab it--affix to watercraft

Keep your feet & legs up & extended near the surface of the water, downstream of you

Don't fight the current

Look for an eddy to swim to before running a rapid

If shoreline is close, swim toward it

If not, do your solo or assisted rescue (WEET offers training clinics)

Supply List of Safety Rescue Equipment


Personal Flotation Device (pfd)

Tow Rope w/Carabiners

Throw Bag w/Rescue Rope

Paddle Float

Bilge Pump

Spare Paddle

Dry Storage Hatches or Dry Bags

Water Bottle (filled)

Other misc: Matches, flares, LED light, compass, duct tape, fine wire, sponge, Ziplock bags, spare dry clothes, quick dry towel, protein bars

First aid &/or survival kit, marine radio, cell or satellite phone.

Flotation Devices or pfd's

There are basically 5 types of pfd's which include:


Offshore life jackets-Type 1 (for use where rescue may take a while)

Near-shore vests-Type 2 (when quick assistance/rescue is likely--not as efficient as ofshore pfd's. We call these the old 'Mae West Vest'

Flotation Aids-Type 3 (watersports/waterski type vests, not for rough waters)

Unwearable/Throwable Devices-Type 4 (cushions & ring buoys, not for rough waters)

Special Use-Type 5  (vests, hybrids, windsurfing, some kayaking, some water-skiing)



Most kayakers wear a Coast Guard certified Type 3 pull-over or zip-up kayak pfd.


All pfd's must be in good, working condition.

Each watercraft must have at least one Coast Guard approved Type 1, 2, 3 or 5 flotation device that is proper for each person on board or being towed.

WILD EARTH ECO TOURS requires that you wear a certified pfd while kayaking, canoeing or operating a SUP--be that rentals, instruction, programs or ecotours.  At all times.

Toss pfd into water each spring--does it float?

Youth under age 10 must wear pfd when boarded on a watercraft in WI

In Federal Waters under 13 must wear pfd.

One approved Type 4 must be accessible on every boat 16 feet or longer--canoes and kayaks are the exception.


Do not operate watercrafts while using drugs or alcohol.


Discuss with paddlesports business staff other safety issues, concerns and questions you may have.  Join us for Kayak Camps, instructional classes, Kayak Safety Clinics or Rolling Clinics:

Written by Gigi Stafne, Owner/Operator of  WILD EARTH ECO TOURS
www.wildearthecotours.weebly.com  
email: wildearthecotours@gmail.com

« Last Edit: September 01, 2011, 09:38:17 AM by mudbrook »
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