Safety Tips

  1. Always wear your properly fitting U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

  2. If you should not be driving after drinking alcohol, you should not go paddling.  Paddling requires coordination, balance, and good judgement to avoid capsizing or drowning. 

  3. Freighters and large commercial vessels have the right-of-way.  Stay close to shore to avoid recreational boating and shipping channels.  If you do have to cross the channels, check in all directions for approaching vessels.  

  4. Don't overload your boat.  Evenly distribute gear and passengers.

  5. Always get up-to-date weather and water level reports. 

  6. Dress  for the weather conditions and the possibility of being immersed in the water.  Hypothermia is a major factor in many kayaking deaths.  Wear bright colors and protective footwear.

  7. Plan your day of paddling.  Choose a route that fits your abilities and identify access sites.

  8. Give a float plan to a friend or family member who is staying onshore, so they know where you are and when you plan to return.  

  9. Never paddle alone.  Other paddlers can assist you if you are in trouble.

  10. Be aware of your surroundings.  Look for hazards, such as swimmers, divers, fishing lines, undercut rocks, submerged stumps, bridge pilings, large branches and trees, and other boats.

  11. Consider taking a paddler's safety course to obtain the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for paddling.

  12. Paddlers can cross the international boundary that occurs over a water body, however, anchoring, wading, or touching the bottom with a paddle is illegal unless you immediately report your arrival/return to the appropriate U.S. or Canadian Customs Agency. 

  13. Know the water conditions your equipment is designed to handle.

  14. Practice how to get in and out of your kayak and how to self-rescue.