This weekend, as you may know, is Memorial Day. A day to commemorate the soldiers who have fallen on the battlefield. To many it is just a day off work to hop in the boat and party on the water. Here are a few tips to help keep our paddlers safe while they navigate the water:
1. Remember paddling crafts are usually granted right of way on most days, but during this busy weekend you can expect many novice boaters who don’t understand boating curtesy. I always like to remind paddlers to watch for boats as they are typically the most dangerous thing they will encounter. This will certainly be the case during the high traffic holiday weekend.
2. Make sure to hydrate if you plan on being out for extended periods. Most people don’t realize how vital drinking water is when participating in any outdoor recreation. The heat and sun can cause fatigue, heat exhaustion, or even heat stroke. Drinking plenty of water is the best solution to avoid any heat related medical emergency. Also avoid drinking alcohol in excess. Alcohol causes the body to not retain fluid and will dehydrate you faster than simply not having water.
3. Have a pair of shoes or sandals if you plan on getting off the kayak or paddleboard. There are
few things worse than stepping off your water craft and cutting your foot on an oyster or broken glass. I went on a sea kayaking trip a few years back. When we got to our first stop my friend jumped out of his kayak onto an oyster bed. Needless to say we had to cut this trip short because he didn’t have footwear.
4. Paddle with a buddy if you have the option. It is always safer to have someone with you if you plan on being in nature. Having a friend in the event of an emergency will reduce risk of issues arising. I was in Boy Scouts my whole childhood. The point that we were constantly reminded was to use the buddy system. It will make you more visible to boaters and is a morale boost if you are getting fatigued.
I hope you find these tips helpful and have a safe time on the water this weekend. It is always nice to get out on the water. Having a safe trip just makes the experience much more enjoyable.
Take care this weekend, and have fun out there!