In many parts of Canada, the paddling gear is away for the winter. In the Pacific Northwest, paddlers are fortunate that they can be on the water almost year round. However, risks do increase in the winter. The following are some basic common sense guidelines:
- Always wear your PFD.
- Stay close to the shoreline. Conditions change fast and this is particularly true in the fall and winter.
- Know your own ability levels, both for paddling skills and rescue techniques. Know what to do if you end up in the water, and be able to recover quickly.
- Do not go out alone.
- Be visible! Use lights and wear highly reflective gear.
- Check the conditions before going out: Environment Canada for weather reports, conditions and forecasts and Fisheries and Oceans Canada for tides.
- Use your common sense. Do not paddle when it's below 0’C (including wind-chill). If there is any ice or frost on the ground, the risk of slipping and damaging yourself or your equipment is t0o high.