Safety Tips for Canoeing

Taking a canoe out on the water is a very safe activity, however, that does not mean that there aren’t any extra precautions that you can take to ensure that things don’t take a turn for the worst. When you’re out on the water in a canoe, things can become very dangerous. From bad weather to another paddlers in boats, it is important to know how to deal with these dangerous situations. Here are several safety tips for canoeing.

Wear Life Jackets

You may think that everyone knows to wear a life jacket, but that isn’t true. A lot of take life jackets with them but leave them on the floor of their boat. Many people, especially, paddlers who know how to swim, do this. When you’re in a canoe or kayak, wearing a life jacket or personal flotation device is the law. So, people who fail to do so can face serious consequences. No matter how good you think you can swim, you still need to wear a life jacket that’s in good condition and it’s important to know how to use it correctly.

Avoid Bad Weather

Weather is a huge determining factor on whether you should take your canoe out on the water. There are so many different weather hazards to consider. When out on the ocean, the biggest hazard is heavy winds and waves. Don’t get caught in nasty winds. Another weather concern is thunderstorms. Whenever you’re out on the water and you hear thunder, remember that lightning is sure to follow. When out on the water in a small boat during thunder and lightning, you’re the perfect target to get struck. Whenever there is a chance it may storm, just don’t go out and if you happen to get caught in the middle of a storm, get out of the water quickly.

Expect Boat Traffic

More often than not, when out canoeing, you’re going to share the river or lake with other paddlers and fisherman. You will see powerboats, sail boats, jet skis, and even other canoes. It is best to stay close to the shore and as far away from other boats as possible. When close to powerboats, the biggest issue is the wave kicked up by them. A good safety tip to remember is to maneuver your canoe right into the waves if this happens.

Expect Boat Traffic
Expect Boat Traffic

Be Safe Swimming

If you’re fond of swimming while out canoeing, especially in big bodies of water, be sure to avoid currents. There’s not much to worry about with gentle currents, however, big currents can be very dangerous. Also, be aware of riverbeds. They tend to be filled with clusters of rocks and debris, and this can be very hazardous. It is best to avoid standing up in these types of waters and swim to the shore to ensure you won’t fall victim to a foot contraption.

Take an Extra Paddle

Ever heard the old saying ‘Up the creek without a paddle?’ Well, this is where it came from! Having an extra paddle while paddling is just as important as wearing a life jacket. What happens if you lose or break one of the only paddles you have while out in the middle of nowhere? You have no way of maneuvering your boat and you could easily find yourself in the middle of bad weather. If you always carry an extra paddle with you, you’ll be safe.