Here are 10 things you should know about kayaking and canoeing before you go to stay safe

Kayaking and canoeing are popular outdoor recreational activities that can be fun and great exercise. But not knowing the right precautions and techniques can be dangerous. Here are 10 things you should know about kayaking and canoeing before you go:

  1. Wear a lifejacket! Lifejackets can prevent 90% of boating-related drownings. Even strong swimmers have needed to be rescued.
  2. Avoid going solo. Kayaking or canoeing with a partner makes the experience safer in case something goes wrong, and you need help. A group should be within earshot of one another. Also, it’s more fun to share an adventure!
  3. Research local weather and hazards. Check the forecast and look for any potential hazards to note before you start your trip. Wind, lightning or unforeseen rocks could all make for dangerous conditions.
  4. Note river water levels, tidal changes and dangerous currents. Currents, tidal changes and raised or lowered water levels can make a kayaking or canoeing trip extremely dangerous. Make sure the water conditions are safe. During periods of high water, a river can go from Class I Difficulty to Class II or III.
  5. Tell someone where you plan to go. Before you leave, make sure to tell someone where you plan to go and when to expect you to be back, so that they can locate you if necessary.
  6. Paddle in your skill level. Make sure you know the abilities of each paddler in your group. Put your skills to the test in a class, not an unguided trip. When you are a new paddler, it’s smart to minimize possible complications when you choose a destination.
  7. Check your equipment before you go. Check for holes in the kayak or canoe, test your paddle and bring additional items such as extra lifejackets, a whistle, a waterproof bag for items you don’t want wet, a headlamp and a first aid kit.
  8. Practice re-entering your kayak from the water. Entering a kayak or canoe from the water is significantly more difficult than from land and requires practice to get your technique right. Wet entries are much easier if you have a partner who can brace your kayak for you.
  9. Avoid drinking alcohol and kayaking or canoeing. Drinking alcohol on a boat or kayak can affect you more than if you were on land. This is because there are other factors that can further impair your cognitive awareness.
  10. Dress according to the weather conditions. Remember that you are dressing for the water, as well as the weather. If the water is cold, you may need a wetsuit and gloves with thermal clothing worn underneath to keep you warm.

By following our safety tips, you and your loved ones should have fun all summer long. We want you to keep your marine adventures safe! 

But in the event you need an experienced legal team to navigate you through an accident, when you have been injured—due to the negligence of someone else, our personal injury lawyers are here to help you every step of the way. Please contact Hupy and Abraham for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.