Hello Folks! Thanks for checking out the Penguin Paddling Blog. I would like to take a moment to give out a couple of tips to help keep you safe as our paddling season begins:
1. Always wear your PFD! “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” you say? It is very difficult to drown in normal circumstances with a properly sized and properly used PFD. For a PFD to work properly you must have it on and it must not be loose enough to fall off!
2. Always paddle with a partner (Or on a Penguin Paddling Trip. Cough cough, wink wink). An extra set of hands and eyes can be invaluable when dealing with an emergency situation. If you must paddle alone; please let somebody know where you are going and when to expect you back.
3. Always bring enough water to drink. Kayaking is exercise and you do lose moisture.
4. Do not paddle outside of your abilities! Your first day kayaking is not the time to paddle Great Falls National Park!
5. Take an ACA approved course on kayaking. Check out Ckapco.com for local kayak instruction in the DC area.
6. If you are kayaking in the evening or night bring proper lighting for your kayaks. Proper lighting on your boat means that other boats see you.
7. Know the “Rules of the Road” and follow them. Please bear in mind that no matter who has the right of way ( R.O.W.), boats with motors are bigger than you. If they hit you, you lose.
8. Carry a cell phone in a waterproof carrying case/drybag. Help is a phone call away- smoke signals are not usually a good option!
9. Wear clothing appropriate for the season. Bring a change of clothes with you in a dry bag when it is chilly out. If you capsize, you’ll thank me. Hypothermia is no joke! Ask me how I’ve learned this lesson. I’ll try and load the video!
10. Keep in mind that if the question “is this a good idea?” crosses your mind, it is not! Common sense is your friend!
11. Bring a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses on a tether. I know this sounds very much like your mother; but you may be surprised how quickly you burn out on the water!
This is not meant to be a comprehensive list- I just wanted to share with you a few things I have learned (sometimes through my own darwin tempting activities) in the hopes that you might enjoy the sport as I do without severe consequence!