The joys of paddlesports are many. Paddling can be a hobby, an exercise activity, or a simple method from getting from one place to another. Paddlecraft come in various shapes, sizes and types. Canoes, kayaks and river rafts are the most common. Other craft such as shells, prams and other rowing devices are also gaining in popularity. Best of all, paddling provides opportunities for all skill levels from the novice to the expert, including those with disabilities.
As a paddler, you are largely responsible for your own safety. Always wear your personal flotation device (PFD) while afloat – a PFD is your single best piece of safety equipment. Also, learn basic rescue techniques so that you can help yourself and others in the event of a capsize or other emergency. And, remember that you may find yourself sharing the waters with other, often larger boats which may have difficulties spotting the smaller harder to see paddling enthusiast.
Participation in paddle sports is one of the fastest growing recreational activities in the United States with kayaking ranking as number one. With this growth, unfortunately, the number of on water accident have gone up. Sadly, most serious injuries and deaths that occur while paddling could have been prevented.
Participants must realize that paddlecraft tend to be more tippy, when compared to other water craft and thus, should minimize occupant movement to prevent capsize or falling overboard. Because canoes and kayaks are narrow, they are less stable than larger boats, so it is important to keep weight low and in the center of the craft.