Top 10 Ways To Kill Yourself Paddling?

Note: I’m not trying to kill myself while paddling. But I figured it’d be a good primer on what NOT to do for the lurkers. And there might be some stuff I’ve forgotten/worry too little about.

It’s good to challenge your assumptions.

My guess at everyone’s #1? “Fail to dress for cold water immersion.”

Take a non-bulkheaded rec boat out in big water.

Try This
Paddle in the Intracoastal Waterway’s main channel at night w/o any lights, especially on 4th of July or any major holiday. You can also improve your odds by painting the boat black too.

All kidding aside, I see a lot of rec boat beginners paddling ever so casually right in the middle of busy waterways. All it takes is one inattentive power boater or my personal favorite jet skier.

Drive to or from the put in or take out
Probably more dangerous than the on-water time.

don’t take lessons

bungeed(?) to the deck

Not knowing What you DON’T know
Not knowing What you DON’T know,

understanding this crucial fact ,

and being true to yourself.

Living to paddle another day involves

occasionally swallowing pride and saying

to others - I’m out, not paddling today, sorry.

Pride, ego, bravado, “kodak courage”

and not thinking thru contingency plans,

  • the “what if’s” - gets folks in trouble.

Paddling a tandem canoe…
with your wife.

Running that low-head dam.

Ways to kill yourself when capsized
-Rivers: Stand up in rapids (possible foot entrapment)

-Surf: Get between your boat and the shore

Presume that you can cross that channel or river before the approaching coal barge / container ship / tanker reaches you. Besides, don’t they have to yield to unpowered craft?..

gauge checks and more
Heading for the put in on an unfamiliar river (especially after a rainy stretch) without checking the gauge.

Figuring that shooting through the branches of that downed tree along the bank would be “fun”.

Driving behind your buddy who fastened the kayaks to his factory roof rack with a couple of Walmart bungie cords.

Practicing your rolls in that colorful pond beside the shale gas frack drilling rigs.

Paddling drunk

Paddling in flood/high water

don’t use bow and stern lines

Fail to consider weather conditions
Both present and forecasted. Also, not having at least a basic understanding of weather processes.

Equating “float” miles with paddling
Just because you did an easy downriver trip and “survived” doesn’t mean you can paddle the same distance in water that’s flat or moving against you.

Trusting a mirror calm.
Paddling several miles offshore on a mirror calm morning.

In tabular form from US Coast Guard
Here is the data for 2010:

My friend tested a tandem out with her significatn other (they both paddle solo kayaks). After 15 minutes they came back to shore and dubbed the tandem “the divorce kayak”.

Informative! (n/t)