Safety in the water is a top priority for all boaters, but for those who prefer non-motorized watercraft, it’s even more important. Conservation Police and Safety Education experts are reminding all paddlers to be aware of their surroundings, the weather, and water conditions. All those factors can make paddling extremely difficult. IDNR Safety Education Administrator Jeff Hopkins says knowing the weather situation is extremely important.
Hopkins also says that wearing a life jacket can be the most important thing you do on the water.
Some other safety reminders for paddlers include never paddling alone and knowing the area before you put your watercraft in the water. Let others know how long you plan on being out. Limit your movements while in small watercraft to prevent capsizing or falling over. Be aware of high winds and strong currents that can make paddling difficult. Conservation police also encourage everyone to stay hydrated and to stay alert and pay attention to other boats and potential obstacles.
For more information on paddling safety, check online resources including the Boat U.S. Foundation Website at www.boatus.org.