lets review safety

Its that time of year. We’re all gonna be getting our canoes/kayaks out on the water. And no doubt, we may hear about someone capsizing or other accident.

Anyone got any tips to share?

My tip is to keep your body and gear low in the canoe. Sit or kneel on the floor of the canoe if you see some waves coming.

personally, I think knowing
how to brace makes more sense. Better to be proactive than reactive.

Second, if skipping OP’s rule above, wear your drysuit lol.

Trust me on that one…


– Last Updated: Apr-06-15 8:02 AM EST –

I don't know nuthin about canoes but a good brace with an extended GP makes for a very stable kayak. It's especially handy when weak swimmers at the local triathlon need to take a break. Some of 'em want to get their whole bodies out of the water.


– Last Updated: Apr-06-15 9:45 AM EST –

be prepared for the capsize. That means clothing that you can take a swim in, for me float bags in a canoe if I am going to be any non-swimming distance from shore, and practice at getting back in with the things.

I tried without float bags in my current canoe and it is not a happening thing. But I have gotten back into a variety of canoes from the water fine if they did have float bags.

For kayaks, any features that give you the same purchase - perimeter lines, using a boat that is relatively kindly about a re-entry if alone, getting my roll back again...

IMO, safety is about being ready to handle the unexpected as much as avoiding it. Learning how to paddle is the avoiding part. But if you are on the water long enough, one day it will get in front of any preps you made to exert control. And the water is bigger than you are.

The most tragic stories we hear are often about people who had spent time on the avoidance part. They had a decent brace, went out prepared in terms of skills and boat... but that last dump in the water handed them something that they were not able to handle.

No change
I paddle just about as often in the winter as I do the rest of the year. The biggest change is whether I wear a wet suit, or not. It is now the time of year that the wet suit becomes optional–depending on where I go. I’m done with the wet suit except where the sea lions are around and unfortunately they’re thicker than fleas on a dog this year.

Any time I have a break
from paddling, my time is spent as follows:

  1. verify the seaworthiness of the boat
  2. verify the health of my gear
  3. refresh skills (braces, leans, turns, rolls, re-entries, etc.)
  4. a few outings on comparatively calm water to ensure all is well with boat and engine (I’m approaching 60 and the engine needs work nowadays)
  5. surf practice
  6. tours


Wear your pfd, even if you swim well
because if you capsize, when you hit the cold water, you will have a reflex reaction of sucking in water.

The pfd will help bring you up to the surface. But it doesn’t work if you don’t wear it.

Was watching 3 young guys load their rec boat kayaks this weekend after being on the water. The water here in the rivers, at this time of year, is still WAY TOO COLD to assume you can just swim, unless you’re in immersion type clothing. Anything would have been better than the swim trunks they were wearing with t- shirts. Yes, river water in the 40- 50’s, breezy, air temps on land high 50’s, no wetsuits, drysuits, nuttin’. This looked like a bad comedy routine, they took the one kayak out to put on top the other vehicle, and turned it over and a bunch of water, sand, and lots and lots of aluminum cans fell out of it. I was too far away to see what beverage they had been consuming. But at least he picked up the cans, then took his life preserver and put it back on the rack the park provides the free loaners on.

Some progress.

But not really swimsuit weather here yet, doesn’t matter if the river is really shallow in places right now because of lack of runoff.

Second point: don’t assume where you paddled last year looks like what you get this year…