In light of the recent tragedy of the father and daughter on Sandusky Bay, there are probably plenty of people out there that purchased their first kayaks during the holidays and plan on getting them out for paddling this spring.
Kayaking and canoeing is fun, but only when done safely. If it is your first time putting your new kayak in the water, try a creek, stream or slow-moving river for your first time.
Erie MetroParks offers many group trips throughout the warmer months and has a Classroom Kayaking program today at the Coupling Reserve from 2 - 5 p.m. with a $5 fee. Registration is recommended, but I am sure if you show up with $5 you won't be turned away. This class is a good way to see if kayaking is for you and how to learn the basics.
Here are a couple tips for a first-time kayak or canoe trip…
• Go with a group on slow-moving water.
• Purchase safety equipment including a PFD (Personal Flotation Device), whistle, air horn, paddle leash (it attaches your paddle to your boat), waterproof bags or containers to hold your snacks, cell phone, air horn.
• If not with a group, let someone know when you are going, where you are going, and when you will be back.
• Know the water temperature and weather forecast for the time you will be out. Poor weather can happen pretty quick.
• Take your kayak/canoe into water you can stand and practice dumping out of your boat and getting back in. When I tried this I found a problem with my kayak that would have made recovery very difficult should I had gone in while paddling in open water.
• Get your boat registered with the Ohio Division of Watercraft. All boats need to be registered and an alternative registration is available for kayaks, canoes and other hand-powered vessels.
To get your kayak or canoe registered go to http://watercraft.ohiodnr.gov for more information and also get more information and tips on boating your hand-powered vessel.