Canoeing is one of the best activities for those who don’t want to kayak alone but aren’t ready for a full-size boat. You can put your back into it and get some exercise, or you can take a serene trip down a lazy river or across a calm lake. It doesn’t matter whether you’re new to the art of canoeing or you’ve been doing it for ages. It can be relaxing, fun and addicting. And because it’s an activity that you’ll want to do again and again, it’s important to make certain that you do everything in your power to keep your gear and your body in perfect working order.
There’s plenty of ways that you can stay safe on the water, but here are some of the simplest and most important safety tips to keep in mind:
- Don’t be fooled by calm, high waters. Fast moving waters tend to conceal hazards that may be in your way, including boulders, trees and other blockages that could capsize you. Calm and high waters may not reveal these hazards because wind and currents play a role in hiding hazards.
- Don’t panic when you end up in the water. When you’re canoeing you may want to stay as dry as possible, but every once in a while you will end up in the water. When you do, don’t try to make your way straight to the shore. Instead swim at an angle, holding onto your canoe for floatation.
- Always wear a life jacket as you would in any other boating situation. Even if you are an excellent swimmer, you may become fatigued and not be able to swim consistently.
- Know the body of water you’re going to canoe on. Not all bodies of water are the same and each has a different level of difficulty. Make sure you learn all you can about the water you’ll canoe on before you head out.
- Sit down…you’re rocking the boat! This term may make you think of Broadway, but if you stand up in your canoe, you’ll do more than rock the boat. You could overturn your canoe, stranding and possibly injuring everyone in your party.