Take Paddling Safety Seriously This Summer: Learn the Ropes Before Hitting the Water – Men’s Journal

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This article was produced under a grant from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, administered by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Taking out a canoe or kayak for some summertime fun doesn’t seem like an inherently dangerous activity—it’s not something where the stakes are apparent, like rock climbing, sky diving, or even piloting a power boat. Paddling on a calm waterway is a relaxing, soothing way to get outside and enjoy warm weather and have some fun. But being on the water can be deadly; the threat of getting hurt or dying from mishaps like drowning or hypothermia is omnipresent.

But you can become a safer paddler, and even gain some knowledge to help others on the water by simply educating yourself before launching a watercraft when heading out on your next excursion. There are many ways to get trained to be able to handle almost anything nature or chance throws at you, from simply watching a few videos to going to an actual course in the real world with certified instructors.

What you’ll get by seeking out a legit source of paddling knowledge is coverage of a wide range of topics that could help save your life—or another’s—when confronted with an emergency or accident. Things like learning how to get back in your kayak or canoe after capsizing, the rules of navigation to keep you from getting run over by a bigger boat, how to call the Coast Guard for help by radio if you get into a jam, and what essential gear you’ll need to make your next trip a safe and comfortable outing.

So even if you’re a seasoned paddler or a newbie, it’s a good idea to keep up-to-date on best practices and expand your knowledge. Not only will it make your paddling time more fun and exponentially safer, but it sets a good precedence for any young ones around you—or boating buddies who aren’t as aware about how to stay safe on the water.

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