Essential Paddling Gear

In partnership with the U.S. Coastguard and the Water Sports Foundation, instructors Paul and Kate Kuthe of the American Canoeing Association provide tips on what to bring paddling in Safer Paddling Series: Episode 3.

Every experienced kayaker has a paddling checklist. You should too. Here is a list of what you should bring.

1) The United States Coast Guard requires all paddlers to carry these three items: a properly fitted life jacket, a whistle or sound-signaling device, and a light in case you’re out past dark.

A paddler fills a dry bag with extra clothes.

2) Fill a dry bag with anything you may need. This could include extra clothing, a first aid kit, food, sunscreen, and water.

Before taking off be sure to tell a friend your plans.

3) Tell a friend about your trip. Let them know the four W’S: where you are going, who you are going with, when you will return, and what to do if you don’t return. The last thing you want is to get stranded without anyone looking for you.

4) Check the weather. This will help you choose when and where to paddle and can make the difference between a pleasant day on the water and a soaking, wind-whipped experience.

Be smart. Be safe. Have fun.

As a United Stated Coast Guard nonprofit grant recipient, the Water Sports Foundation produces paddling safety outreach materials and distributes them through boating and paddling media providers. Paddle sports currently has an inordinately high rate of accidents and deaths that for the past five years has been increasing, while power boating stats have been decreasing during the same period. The goal is to create heightened public awareness of safer paddling making paddle sports safer and to ultimately reduce the total number of paddle sports related deaths annually.


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