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Prepare to Paddle Safely

For a complete listing of safety tips, visit the American Canoe Association and view their brochure entitled, A Smart Start for Safe Paddling
Personal Flotation Devices
  • PFD Type 3 are recommended for paddlers. Children under 7 are required to wear PFDs per Maryland law.
Know Before You Go!
  • Know the waters you plan to float. Bring along a map or guide.
  • Changes in weather can affect your trip. Check the weather report before departing. Dress appropriately for the water temperature.
  • Let others know about your float trip by leaving a float plan.
  • Paddling hazards include rocks, strainers, heavy current, lightning and other bad weather conditions. A strainer can be anything that blocks passage but lets water filter through.
  • Strainers are dangerous and regarded as “drowning machines.” Avoid these by portaging your craft around them. ALWAYS SCOUT AHEAD!
Paddlers on the Bay

  • Keep clear of large ships in the Chesapeake Bay. Canoes and kayaks should avoid the shipping channels whenever possible or cross quickly. Be alert!
  • Large ships are capable of causing sizeable wakes that can easily tip over a kayak or canoe. These wakes often come up on a paddler without warning.
  • Severe weather can come up quickly on the Chesapeake Bay. Check the weather reports before leaving the shore and remain watchful of bad weather. Listen to National Weather Service radio. If a Small Craft Advisory is posted, head to safety immediately, as winds may become too strong to operate your vessel safely.
Leave No Trace
  • Pack it in, pack it out
  • Leave what you find
  • Respect all wildlife and plant life

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