When paddling, prepare by doing the following:
1. Always wear a properly fitting life jacket and know how to swim in a river current.
2. Never paddle alone. Bring along at least one other boater. When canoeing, two canoes with two canoeists each are recommended. If unfamiliar with the waterway, paddle with someone knowledgeable.
3. Never overload the boat. Tie down gear and distribute weight evenly.
4. Maintain a low center of gravity and maintain three points of contact whenever moving about, entering or exiting the boat. Keep your weight balanced over the center.
- Standing up or moving around in a small boat can cause it to capsize –a leading cause of fatalities among paddlers.
- Leaning a shoulder over the edge of the boat can also destabilize it enough to capsize or to a fall overboard.
Practice re-boarding your boat in the water with the help of a companion.
Dress properly for the weather and type of boating activity.
Check your boat for leaks.
Map a general route and timetable when embarking on a long trip. Arrange for your transportation from the put in to the take out points.
Know the weather conditions before you head out. While paddling, watch the weather and stay close to shore. Head for shore if the waves increase.