Florida Paddling Hazards?

This one is highest on my list
Being a native Florida boy was in the sun way to much when young. Had to have stuff cut out of my back. I haven’t had my back exposed for 20 years.

Use sunblock or you might not even need to worry about critters.

Get between a gator and the water. Make sure it has room to escape. NEVER bother a nest…

Welcome to Fla!
Lots of great tips and info above. I’ve been paddling south of you in the Sarasota area for 10 years.

I’ve paddled in the salt water primarily and have not had trouble with any critters. Even in the Gulf. But, most of the time around the barrier and mangrove islands the water is fairly shallow. I came close to having a mullet jump in my boat though.

Gators might make me a little nervous but, many people canoe and kayak in the Myakka River and near the Myakka State Park where there are HUNDREDS of gators. I can’t remember hearing about any issues out there. Just give them some space if you run across any. You’ll have to go inland to typically find them in brackish and fresh water.

You’ll probably have more to worry about with the sun, weather, and tides.

Try the DeSoto Park area. It’s a fun area. Just stay out of the bay and the ship channel. Nasty currents. Hillsborough State Park and the Hillsborough River are very nice from what I hear. Nice clear water up there.

Enjoy paddling year 'round.

Hillsborough River
That used to be a regular trip for me when I lived in Tampa and just had time for a half day trip.

About Sharks…
I lived in Florida for 7-8 years and spent a lot of time down there as a kid. I used to surf the northeast coast. I had several in the water encounters with sharks.

Now I live near the “Red Triangle” here in California, but in 15 years I have never seen one, yet. Great White attacks get a lot of press because GWS is so awesome, and often results in fatalities, but California has only had about 40 attacks since 1990. Florida had 365.

Florida gets about 1/3 of the shark attacks in the world. Over half of Florida Shark attacks happen in Volusia and Brevard counties. New Smyrna Beach is a particular spot to avoid. The Gulf side, not so much.



Most of the serious attacks
come from bull sharks (very aggressive due to their testosterone levels, more than any other animal in the world). They bite and keep biting until they get a full stomache or until beaten back.

The others,“bite and run” occur in turbid waters near the beaches and they’re just a case of mistaken identity of potential food on the shark’s part.

Still, if you’re the one bit it’s all serious.

New Smyrna Beach
Shark Bite Capital. I work with my brother in law at New Smyrna Beach at his race shop. I don’t go in the water.