Last fall Paddle Canada approached Parks Canada about a proposal to establish a set of national standards for all paddle sports activities. In return Parks Canada wrote a letter of support back to us in January 2013, stating that "Parks Canada strongly supports the establishment of national standards for activities that take place at its parks and sites...... (Parks Canada) recommend that your organization participate in the consultations to establish national standards for all paddling activities". This process will require the participation of many stakeholders including provincial and local paddling associations. This will serve Parks Canada better, in helping them issue Business Licenses for paddling programs in their National Parks. The hope is that this set of standards will be available as necessary to help other federal, provincial government and municipalities in their own processes.
SUP'ers are getting so popular they are in the news, competing for a piece of real estate on the busy waterways with all other vessels. This story focusses on need for SUP'ers to take more responsibility for the rules of the road, skills and safety, especially while navigating busy motor boat and ferrie channels. All the more reason to take a Paddle Canada SUP Intro or Advance SUP course!! Then you'll have the skilll and knowledge to stay out of the way of ferry boats!!
I think this is a clever media campaign on inflatable PFD use. I certainly wear my inflatable vest when sailing and when on SUP too, for a low profile vest on hot summer days. This new CSBC Inflatable Lifejacket Media Campaign aimed at women to influence their male partners (& everyone) to wear one while on the water!
Every season, thousands of adventurous paddlers explore Ontario’s magnificent lakes and rivers with kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards. As a seasoned canoe guide and instructor, I have seen far too many miss out on the fun and the beautiful scenery because they are busy trying to keep their vessel on course. It is probably fair to say that anyone who has paddled a canoe into a strong wind knows this frustration.
Photo by Megan Wibberley
Ontario is the land of lakes. Lakes and rivers abound in urban areas, cottage country, and in the remote wilderness. Being on the water is a way of life for many in Ontario. Conditions can change from year to year and from hour to hour, as wind and weather change quickly.
More and more Ontario paddlers are realising that learning effective on-water skills and pre-trip practices make their adventures more enjoyable and safer. Paddle Canada instructors offer dozens of skills courses across Ontario, designed to build your confidence as a paddler. Besides paddle strokes, courses teach important practices such as giving a float plan to a friend. A float plan provides information that is important for search and rescue operations (such as medical conditions and contingency routes ).
Important safety skills and knowledge that you can learn from a Paddle Canada course include:
• brace stroke
• wind and waves paddling
• river scouting (whitewater/rapids)
• kayak and canoe rolling
• safety line use
Photo by Wayne Feindel
I’ve been thinking a lot about rescues. Maybe it’s because every time I open a paddling magazine or view the list of topics for symposia, sea kayak rescue in all it’s guts amd glory is dissected ad nauseum. To add to the nausea, I thought I would weigh in. Here are some thoughts about that most humbling piece of paddling – saving a life.
If you haven’t heard of Jim Raffan’s model of lemons – it’s the simplest trick in the book, yet most people don’t use it near enough.. Really briefly – every time you head out and forget to think about a possible risk and more importantly how you might lessen or get rid of it entirely – consider yourself in possession of a lemon. A common example is not knowing your paddling partner’s skills – that’s a lemon! Now imagine you’ve got yourself a couple , and you’re trying to juggle them. Two aren’t so bad, but hey – a couple more have just popped up. The juggling isn’t going so well, and you’re now in the land of accidents. Maybe you won’t have one, but the likelihood is strong – all because you didn’t destroy your lemons before they got out of hand. If all you ever think of when paddling is getting rid of these dastardly little fruits, your paddling life will likely last longer, which I imagine is a good thing.
Don’t go in for some heroic extrication if you’re not reasonably sure of staying on top yourself. This means hanging your ego on that clothesline in the sky. You’re likely not god’s gift to kayaking so don’t pretend.. And you are no good to anyone if you’re upside down in the drink.
Over the 16-year period, the number of Canadians who died in boating-related accidents was 2,765 (or about 173 people per year). Only 3% of these deaths were kayakers and 22% were canoeists. The situations associated with fatalities among recreational boaters (immersion and trauma deaths alike) were capsizing (39%), falling overboard (25%), swamping (12%), and colliding (8%). Fifty-nine percent of these deaths were associated with powerboats and 36% were associated with human-powered boats like kayaks, canoes and rowboats.
As we have known for a while, small open motor boats and canoes are most frequently involved in immersion deaths (drowning and hypothermia), while trauma deaths (injury) result most often from use of personal watercraft (jet skis), large powerboats, and small open fishing boats.
Immersion deaths in recreational boating were associated mostly (58%) with capsizing (over-turning) in human-powered boats. Across Canada, canoeing accidents caused 4½ times more immersion deaths than kayaking accidents.
Now let’s look more closely at kayaking accidents. Between 1991 and 2006, 77 fatalities were linked to kayaks in Canada. Of these deaths, 76 were due to immersion and only one was due to trauma. In Newfoundland and Labrador during this 16-year period, there were 112 recreational boating fatalities and of these, five were kayakers.