Some Tips For Cold Weather Paddling
– Dress for the water temperature even if you don’t plan on getting wet.
– Wear a PFD. While many think they’re uncool or bulky, they do keep your core warm in cold temperatures and provide pockets to store an energy bar, night paddling light, camera, watch, tide table, cell phone, VHF radio, flares, whistle, compass, skull cap, etc.
– Always wear a leash if you’re going out in frigid water and air temps, or in wind.
– Going out at night of after work at your lakefront property? With shorter days in winter, attach a waterproof white light on your board and/or body to prevent collisions with boats. Check out the Guardian LED light. I attach one to my rear PFD or fanny pack to preserve my night vision. I have another waterproof flashlight to pull out if needed for extra visibility. Some use waterproof lasers pointers to shine at boat pilot houses if a collision is imminent. Tie your flashlight on a short string to prevent losing it in the drink.
– Carry a drybag on your deck with extra clothing or for store layers you want to remove. I always carry neoprene gloves and a hood, as well as a kayaking gortex drytop for backup clothes.
– While on the water, bring along a warm drink in a thermos to stay warm. Even warm water is helpful and still keeps you hydrated.
– Find a paddling partner particularly for rough water or night trips.
– Stay within your skill level. If in doubt, don’t go out.
– Put bright colored tape strips on your paddle shaft if you drop it if paddling at night or in rough water. Consider bringing along a break-down kayak paddle for upwind trips. You can attach your SUP paddle to the deck with bungys.
– In rough water or high wind, put your leg over your paddle if you’re taking a break. You can also stick it under your bungys.
Posted by Scott Freerksen “The Lake Guy”