Paddlers Are at Risk
Paddling a small craft is a skill best learned through hands-on training. Formal paddling instruction teaches you how to:
- Balance and stabilize your craft.
- Paddle efficiently.
- Exit and enter your craft on the water.
- Perform rescue and recovery.
Traveling down a river or across a lake in a small boat can be an enjoyable and safe activity. But, according to statistics, people in small boats, such as canoes, kayaks, and rafts are more than twice as likely to drown as individuals operating other types of vessels.
This higher rate of fatalities can be attributed to two factors. First, paddlers and others in small boats don't consider themselves "boaters" and fail to follow the same safe practices as other small vessel operators. Second, many who use small boats don't have the skills or knowledge they need to operate their small, unstable craft safely. They may be unaware of hazards unique to small boats, such as fast currents and low-head dams, or don't follow proper safety procedures when encountering them.