This time of the year, many news outlets report a larger number of tragic drownings. This is partly due to the fast moving flow of Spring waters and also because of the super cold temperatures. Make sure you protect yourself from the extra risks involved in cold water paddling by adhering to the following tips:
1) Be prepared. Dress for immersion and climate conditions and let a loved one know your paddling plans (including your route) in case of unplanned trouble. Bring an emergency ditch kit and listen to your instincts. If it looks and feels dangerous... it probably is. Always wear your PFD.
2) Stay close to shore and watch the weather. Staying close to shore will make it a lot quicker to get to land in the event of a unexpected spill while also giving you more opportunities to view some local wildlife. Keeping an eye on the weather is a practice to be used for all seasons and adventures.
3) Don't paddle alone. It is always safer to have a buddy with you when you paddle but this is even more true in fast moving and cold water situations. Another person can be very helpful in an emergency situation and when warmth is needed quickly.
For more great detailed tips on cold water safety and available gear, visit The Boating Local: Cold Water Paddling, American Canoe Association: Cold Water Safety, Moss Lake NC Cold Water Kayaking Tips or Rogue Paddler: 8 Tips to Keep Warm. And to learn how your body reacts to cold water, visit Paddling Instructor's Blog.
Now go enjoy your adventures and paddle safe, everyone!!!
Do you have any tips to share? Send us your tips and paddling advice - and if your tip is featured here - we will send you a free Badger Paddles sticker!!! All you have to do is email us your suggestions.