Navigating Waters: Safety Precautions for Canoeing


Canoeing is an outdoor activity for people who want to feel the rush and beauty of nature. However, it is a top priority for paddlers to know the necessary safety precautions before getting in the water.

Whether or not you’re an expert in navigating rivers or just a starter in the sport, you must be aware of the dangers out there. Keep in mind these guidelines for when you make your next canoeing trip and be sure to share them with your group. After all, the adventure is more fun if there won’t be injuries involved.

Gearing Up

It can be tricky once you’re out there in the water. That’s why you should have the equipment that will help you stay safe and afloat. Here are the things you need:

  • Personal floatation device or lifejackets. This device is an absolute necessity for every canoeist to remain safe and uninjured during the activity.
  • Appropriate footwear. Boots, water shoes, and sneakers are usually are the top picks for when you go out for water paddling. They protect your feet from rocks, glass, and sea creatures.
  • Head covering. Helmets, skull caps, and hats with a brim can protect you from the harsh sunlight or the cold weather.
  • Dry bags. Your dry bag will keep necessities such as your phone, radio, first aid kit, food, towel, knife, and identification.
  • Rope throw bag. This item is a rescue device just in case a person gets thrown in the water. With this equipment, you can pull the swimmer to safety.

Before Canoeing

While canoeing is generally a safe outdoor activity, you still have to look out for the worst. Before going out, check the forecast to be sure that you won’t get caught in harmful waves and strong winds. You should opt for calm areas rather than open waters. When you’re packing, make sure you have your safety equipment with you. Don’t forget to bring a spare paddle with you just in case you break the one you have.

Before stepping in your canoe, make sure to stretch to prepare your body for the physical activity. Put on some sunscreen and your protective gear. When loading, the first person getting in sits on the front; when getting out, the one at the rear goes first. If you’re alone, stay as low as possible and centered when getting in your canoe. This position will give you the most control of your boat and will help you remain stabilized.


While In The Water

Expect a lot of obstacles in the water. When you’re on a river, be sure to look ahead of you and consider the flow of the water. By being aware of what’s in front of you, you can calculate the path and objects on your way.

Note that when you approach a bend, the area inside the curve has shallow waters. If you’re on a lake, stay close to the shore. You don’t want to paddle somewhere that puts you in danger during unexpected thunderstorms.

Avoid touching objects in the water because it might tip off the balance of your canoe. When you come in contact with an obstacle, you might accidentally shift your weight and fall of your boat. If you get in the water, be calm as possible and distance yourself away from the canoe. Doing this will prevent you from getting trapped underneath. Be conscious of possible cracks and depressions that can catch your foot.

Ready to add canoeing to your life experiences? Happy paddling!

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