Something for Everyone:
Participating in paddlesports offers something for everyone. Choosing your craft wisely, planning your outing and preparing for the inevitable will provide for maximum enjoyment whether you are participating for exercise, excitement, or a relaxation. As you go paddling, there are a number of things you need to take into consideration. The following will help you to have a safe and enjoyable time on the water
- Take a Lesson & Get Started
- Learn Safety & Rescue Procedures
- Wear Proper Gear & Protection
- Know the Rules & Regulations
- Practice Good Environmental Ethics
- Advanced Technique
Taking a Class – Taking a class is a great way to get an introduction to the sport. A class will not only teach you the basics of boat handling, safety, and technique, it will also expose you to some of the widely available types of paddlecraft. Contact the American Canoe Association at www.aca.net or call (800) 929-5162 for a class near you.
Selecting a Boat – Paddlecraft come in all sorts of shapes and sizes – some can be paddled solo, while others are meant for tandem paddlers. Shape and size determines speed, comfort, stability, maneuverability and overall safety. Ideally, the safest boat is one that remains afloat, even when fully swamped.
Know Rules and Regs – In some states, you must register you paddlecraft and some states require that you have certain equipment aboard. Regulations can vary so check with your state boating organization. Also, since you are not the only type of water craft out there, it is important that you know basic navigation rules and can recognize aids to navigation, especially white and red informational or regulatory markers that indicate known dangers.
Be Prepared – Always be informed about the weather and the body of water in which you are boating. Be prepared to deal with weather changes, other boat traffic, low light conditions, minor medical emergencies and always have a way to contact help.
Help Yourself – Before heading out, know your own limits, practice self rescue techniques, and always travel with a group - never travel alone. However, a good rule is to assume that no one else will be there to help. Always wear your PFD.
Have Fun – When learning, always start close to shore, boat in shallow water and learn and go with a group. Never boat alone and expect to get wet. It’s inevitable that you’ll capsize at some point in your learning career – plus, its part of the fun. If you are prepared for that dunking, it won’t startle you as much.