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Paddle Smart

Respect for nature and a few basic rules will help to avoid the types of situations that can cause injury, and even death, on the water.

Padding Smart Tips

  • Always wear a proper fitting life jacket.
  • Take a safe boating course and make sure all your gear is in good shape.
  • Check the weather forecast and be prepared for it to change.
  • Be visible. It is especially difficult for power-driven vessel operators to see canoes/kayaks. Choose bright colours - red, yellow or orange - for your PFD and canoe/kayak
  • Keep signaling devices within reach.
  • Stay current on self- and assisted rescues. Learn to swim well – especially fully clothed.
  • Learn basic navigation skills.
  • Never paddle alone.
  • Transport Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard, Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary and other boating and water safety organizations provide free safety checks of your boat at your invitation. A qualified professional will board your boat and review with you the safety equipment required bylaw. Other equipment will be inspected and any deficiencies will be identified. There are no penalties for missing equipment and no limit to the number of checks you can request. Arranging for a check every spring is recommended.

10 Paddling Essentials

  1. Life jacket or PFD
  2. Compass and map or chart
  3. Trip plan, left with someone responsible
  4. Food
  5. Headlamp/flashlight
  6. First-aid kit
  7. Matches in a waterproof container
  8. Sunscreen
  9. Drinking Water
  10. Repair kit

Paddle Smart Etiquette

  • As canoeists and kayakers, we share a common respect for the environments we visit by way of our sport. As visitors to these environments, it is important that we display sensitivity and consideration during our water-oriented activities.
  • As on land, carry out all your own litter and any other trash that you may find. Be mindful of your impact on the water too, and make it as light as possible. Leave rocks, logs, driftwood,wildflowers, trees and plants undisturbed. Take only photographs—leave only footprints.
  • Remember that you are a guest. Your canoe or kayak takes you into a world that is home to many other creatures; keep noise to a minimum. Your fellow humans will appreciate it, and you’ll be rewarded by spotting more birds and other wildlife. Especially in fragile areas, tread lightly, paddle slowly and keep your distance. Disturbance of wildlife can interfere with feeding, breeding, and caring for young.

Video Vignette

A brief instructional demonstration outlining the basic technique of maneuvering a canoe in the traditional "Canadian Style" of paddling.