How to stay safe on the crowded waterways

Here are a few tips to keep you safe on the crowded waterways this summer:
  1. Look at the weather
    • Check the radar for storms. Lightning isn’t fun, either is hail. Hail dings.
    • Check the wind report and forecast. You don’t want to get caught offshore and have to fight the wind to get home.
  2. Pick a route. Know what your are going to do, where you are going to go before you get out there. Stay out of the main waterways/channels. Boats have the right of way.
    • When crossing the channels, cross at 90 degrees and pretend you are crossing a highway.
    • Look both ways and estimate if you have time before starting to cross.
    • Avoid fishing areas like fishing piers or areas where fishermen park their boats and cast at structures like jetties, dams, etc.
  3. Tell someone where you are going, your route and what time you expect to be home. If you don’t come back within a reasonable time frame, people know where to look.
  4. Bring water. Always bring more than you need. If you live in the northern hemisphere, it’s summer. It’s hot. Dehydration can affect balance, muscle cramping, nutrient absorbtion, temperature regulation, digestion, energy metabolism, toxin elimination and your ability to tell a good knock knock joke.
  5. Find someone else to join you. A paddle buddy can help you if you get hurt, go for help, share provisions, and be that second voice that might talk you out of doing something dumb.
  6. Pack a phone, charged, in a dry pack or waterproof case. A Ziploc doesn’t do it. The green line won’t save you. Make sure it’s waterproof.
  7. Check your straps and rack before you leave the driveway. There are few things more dangerous than having a 14-foot board fly off a roof rack at 70 mph on a major highway. Plus, ding repair on that scale is expensive.
  8. Pack you pfd. It’s the law.
  9. Pack a leash if you are surfing.
  10. If you are on a river, pack the appropriate leash and pfd.
  11. If you are bringing kids under 12, they need to legally wear it. They can not wear an inflatable pfd. on a child who can not swim, they can kill. It inflates on their lower back/waist and they hang under water. Not good.

Be safe. Have fun.

Plan ahead to avoid getting in a bad position on the water

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