Is it safe to paddle on high heat and hu

When is it not safe to paddle when it comes to heat and humidity on a sunny day? I guess paying attention to the heat index would be good, but I don’t know at what point it would be dangerous to paddle.


my guess it depends on you
me i have lots of trouble with heat above 70 is to hot for me its been above 90 here for like a month it seems like. make sure you hydrate a lot

Hot weather
I love paddling when its hot out, but generally only on open lakes and bays, because then its refreshing (always cooler on the water). There is almost always a breeze by the lake (Lake Ontario) so its generally 5 degrees cooler on the water. I sweat a lot, but I will have my 1/2 gal coleman water cooler with me, and a granola bar or two, preferably the “sweet and salty” type.

Keep hydrated, protect yourself from UV (sunscreen, UV resistant clothing, hat, sunglasses, etc), bring some snacks, and know when your body has had enough.

I used to paddle in >90 degrees and
~60% humidity, not unusual in Atlanta. But with gradually advancing old age, I try to stay out of those conditions. A good breeze helps a lot, and the chance to take a swim now and then.

How do you arrange that gradually advancing age thing? It seems to happening to rapidly here…

To the OP - it will depend on your general health, of course. Don’t put yourself into a position where you have to work too hard to get to your take-out. Switch to cotton for high temps and don’t be afraid to get wet. When things get real hot here, I wear a cotton boonie hat that I dip in the water to keep it damp. Even the slightest breeze makes it cool me right down. When I’m wearing a helmet, a cotton bandana goes underneath for the same reason.

Hydrate often and pace yourself.

Go early
Here in central Florida this time of year, I like to be on the water at daybreak and off by early afternoon. Seventy degrees early in the morning becomes mid-nineties in the afternoon, and then there are the thunderstorms, too.

Much easier to see wildlife early in the morning, and power boaters and jet skiers seem to sleep late, so it is quieter, too.

Just like on land
If you can tolerate the heat, I don’t see how its any different than being outside for a hike or a bike ride or even yardwork. Use sunscreen, wear a hat and sunglasses, stay hydrated (start actively hydrating at least 24 hours in advance), eat normally even if the heat makes you lose your appetite, take frequent breaks - preferably in the shade, and don’t push yourself too hard or too far. I like to get my head and hat wet to get some evaporation cooling going. And I do find the water is often a bit breezier and cooler than the shore. When its hot and you want to cool off, it might be a good time to practice self rescue, if you know what I mean. :wink:

Learn to roll, of course.
It’s called rotary cooling. With the screw roll you do not even need to slow down. You get hot, you roll, your cool, you get hot, you roll, your cool…repeat as necessary.


It depends on you and your decisions
Its the same with any aspect of paddling, and life. A lot of it depends on your body, how well you know your body and its limitations, and the decisions you make.

As long as I don’t want to die on the
river, I have to step down my level of river difficulty. I used to solo the Ocoee very often, but now I would hesitate to get on it, even with a strong group.

But it’s not a problem, because I’ve always cultivated a taste for easy rivers. Even in Idaho, there are plenty of class 2+ runs that I can solo on my own when I find them.

Heat and humidity
I’m not a big fan of them either. But I’d rater be on the water than anywhere else when it gets like that. I have a few white cotton dress shirts that I picked up at Goodwill. I soak them in the river and wear them while paddling. Quite refreshing. In really hot weather and if you aren’t obliged to “make some miles” its awfully nice to find an island with trees that shade the water, set a folding camp chair in the shallows, and relax in the shade with the water flowing about chest level through the hottest part of the day. The siesta is a fine notion if you can afford the time. Do your paddling early, late, or even at night if there’s good moonlight and there aren’t any rapids or strainers to deal with.

We just had a hot, humid stretch. Had thunderstorms, green sky, hail, the whole deal, last night. Today the world is wonderfully cool and fresh. What a relief! Now THIS is paddling weather!

Unless it rains or some such…

– Last Updated: Jun-09-11 11:32 AM EST –

Ah's purdy much hang up me paddles 'till September. Kin'na take de over 70+/- heat an' humility no-how deez days (wimp-factor).


If It Weren’t Possible…
…I couldn’t paddle here in the Ozarks most of the summer. Just spent two days on the river with heat index over a hundred both days according to the local weatherman. You need to replace your fluids, take more frequent breaks, dip clothing, hat’s etc (I like to dip a bandanna in) in the water. I also paddle fewer miles when it’s really hot. Nothing like taking your folding chair and taking a break IN the water when not ON the water!

Sculling brace also works, or if you’ve got a partner you can grab their bow and dunk yourself.

Yesterday I paddled and fished 13 miles of Huzzah Creek here in the Ozarks. Started at 9 AM, got off the water at 7 PM. Air temps in the 90s, no wind, humidity off the charts, mostly sunny. Just my kind of weather because the fishing is so good. Stopped several times to swim, drank a lot of beverages (no alcohol, just water, tea, and a couple big Cokes), dipped my hat in the water a few times. I wear light-colored quick dry long sleeve shirts and pants of the same materials, and a wide brimmed mesh sided hat.

I sweated a lot less than I did this morning, when I spent an hour doing yard work in the sun.

all the time
Although I find myself taking a break when the july heat wave gets here, and getting back in the water in late august. A roll or another way to get into and out of the water helps, and it makes rescue practice and goofing around more fun.

The only caution I have is to know the water temps. On a 90 degree day, 55 degree water can be quite a shock!

what you get used to
My job keeps me outside alot in the summer. The hot days in the spring are rough for a bit, but then your body seems to get used to replacing its fluids. The key is always to drink water and eat snacks. Ill work outside all day and then go paddle in the worst of the day. The paddle is a relief. The natural ac of the water is all i need. If there is no breeze, just paddle faster.

I can see how someone who is in climate control all day then steps out for a paddle would not find that enjoyable.

Ryan L.

Terry …
Dang Terry; that’s a photo of the week right there.

Who took that; your better half?

Sure am glad to see that Courier getting some river time too…

Where you say you found that beauty?



Army and Marines run miles in 95/95
or did when I was a boot.Your body ,as already pointed out,can adapt through training. Just don’t hop out of the A/C and try it without some serious prep.

P.S. Like g2d,I can’t take it like I could when I was a kid,but I haven’t tried acclimating properly.

Here in Florida…
we have the heat, humidity, and a friggin’ hot sun to deal with. We still go almost every week. Shady streams are very nice, if they have the water.

As others have said, hydrate, UV protect, and soak often.

Kind of like dealing with the cold up north. Prepare mentally and physically and you should be good to go.

An ice cold smoothie in a thermos is a very good thing, indeed.

The little Gator-aid packs for your water bottle are nice as a backup, too. I think they call them Propel, or some such.

I don’t think I could spend the seven month summer indoors any better here than I could spend the seven month winter indoors up north. Gotta get out, you know?