Learning kayaking and canoeing safety is an essential component of learning how to paddle. Too many people decide to kayak or canoe with little more water safety knowledge than knowing how to swim. There is so much more with regard to kayaking and canoeing safety than merely knowing how to tread water. It is rather easy for harmless situations to turn quite treacherous in little to no time at all when enjoying watersports. It would therefore behoove us all to know good swim technique, first aid, how to save a drowning person, and how to recognize and treat hypothermia. We also need to ensure we have and wear the proper equipment.
Be a Good SwimmerThis really should go without saying but it is so essential to kayaking and canoeing safety that it does require mentioning. Swimming in lakes, rivers, and the ocean is different than swimming in one’s own pool. If your canoe or kayak capsizes and you find yourself outside of your boat you will face a whole slew of factors that just don’t exist in your backyard. You may be fully clothed, quite a ways away from land, in extremely cold conditions, or in turbulent and current driven waters. Finding oneself in any of these conditions is not the time to find out that you’re not a good swimmer.
Know First AidMost people don’t know first aid. Sure they can put on a band aid. Knowing how to handle an emergency until a medical professional can be called upon is altogether another thing. When canoeing and kayaking there are a whole host of medical issues that can happen and they don’t even have to do with the water. A person can sprain their ankle while carrying their kayak or canoe around an obstacle. One paddler’s paddle can smack another in the face causing cuts, bruises, a broken nose, or even knocking the person out. Don’t laugh, I’ve been hit in the face more than once. Even extreme emergencies like a heart attack while whitewater rafting can occur. Every paddler should know how to handle all of these situations.
Know How to Rescue a Drowning PersonIn addition to knowing how to prevent yourself from drowning, it is also crucial that you know how to rescue a drowning person. You may be canoeing or kayaking with someone who is not as good at swimming as you are. Or you may just come across a stranger that needs your help. If you paddle enough, chances are you will be in a situation where you will need to rescue someone from the water.
Know How to Recognize and Treat HypothermiaMost people associate hypothermia with frigid conditions, falling through the ice, or reserved for places in arctic climates. Hypothermia can occur whenever conditions are sufficient to drop the body temperature by as little as one degree! That means a person can fall victim to hypothermia even in the summer. It is therefore essential to canoeing and kayaking safety to know how to properly diagnose and treat hypothermia.
- Recognize and Treat Hypothermia
- Dealing with Cold Related Illness and Emergencies
Dress for Water Safety and Be Properly EquippedOnce you are mentally equipped to handle virtually any emergency situation while paddling, it is essential that you are materially equipped each and every time you canoe or kayak. Kayaking and canoeing safety hinges on each paddler having the necessary gear and utilizing it properly.
- Dress for Water Safety
- Paddling Safety and Precautions[/link
Kayaking and Canoeing Safety Concluding ThoughtsKayaking and canoeing safety requires a two-pronged approach. First the paddler must know what to do in case of an emergency. Second the paddler must have the correct safety equipment in case of that emergency. It is in every paddler’s best interest to take canoeing and kayaking safety seriously. You never know when you could save the life of a friend or loved one. You never know when someone may save you. Be safe out there!