Here are three of the most important paddling safety tips for both children and adults.
- Beginner paddlers should choose a small lake, not prone to big wind and waves, and stay close to shore—especially with a canoe.
- Wear a proper-fitting, Coast Guard certified PFD (life jacket) with an attached whistle, to signal for help if needed. Cold water shock can be fatal, especially without when not wearing a life jacket. In the cold water of lakes and rivers, hypothermia can happen quickly even on hot, sunny days.
- Bring extra clothes for air temperature fluctuations. Use a technical dry bag to store clothing and other belongings, or use a homemade version of a sealed plastic bag inside another. If canoeing, and an extra canoe paddle, in case one breaks.
For suggestions on where to find the best lakes for swimming and paddling check out our Lake Guide by Amy S. McCaffree.
[All photos by Amy McCaffree. Feature photo: Lake Chatcolet.]