All of the snow South Dakota has gotten this April will mean deeper and faster waterways later this spring and summer. Are you prepared to safely explore your local water ways?
Man-powered vessels, such as canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards, are an excellent way to connect with the waterway while also challenging yourself physically. However, man-powered vessels also come with their own set of risks that you should be aware of and take steps to avoid. Below are some tips to help you have a safe adventure whenever the snow finally does melt.
Before You Go
- Check your gear.
Make sure your vessel and paddles are in good shape.
- Pack appropriately.
Bring water and a change of clothes.
- Do your research.
Understand the conditions, hazards, and exit locations of your waterway. Make sure someone on land knows where you will be and when you are expected back.
On The Water
- The rule of three.
While entering a canoe, keep three points in contact with the boat at all times. This will help keep the boat steady as you enter.
- Stay seated.
Keeping your weight low and on a seat will help steady the boat.
- Wear your PFD.
It is required that there is one personal floatation device (PFD) per person on board.
- Know your limitations.
Weather and currents can change quite suddenly. Be watchful and do not push past your skill level.
Despite your best planning and efforts, sometimes things do not go as planned. If you do find yourself in the water after tipping, remember to remain calm. Stay with your boat and swim it to shore, angling with the current to help you. Once on land you flip it and get the water out.
Paddling down a river or across a lake is an excellent way to explore the ecosystem. With a little bit of planning and some practice, your adventure can be safe and fun!