“If you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to serve as a horrible warning.” ~Catherine Aird
Having had a few days of reflection, the aforeblogged New Year’s Paddle™ is officially my not-the-most-clever activity of the year. Out of curiosity, I read through the Coast Guard’s safety tips for kayaks and canoes.
Use a personal flotation device Check! And wear it tight – if it can slip over your torso when dry, it is of no use in the water.
Attach a paddle leash Check! First time using this handy device.
Proper footwear Check! Three for three: this is looking better than expected! I will probably upgrade to a pair of warmish water booties though.
Paddling whistle Well this is just plain clever. Next time for sure.
Water and snack 50/50 here. Although some might think that water bottle was filled with something quite a bit more stupid-inducing. The snacks were safe and dry in my bike bag. On the bike. On land. How I would have loved a snack.
Go with a friend At least 3 people in two boats. Imaginary friends don’t count. Having three people greatly increases the possibility that one person will say, “This is not a good idea. Let’s grab a coffee and plan the next trip.”
Tell somebody your paddle plan It doesn’t count to inform someone of the plan and tell them you’ll call later in the week to let them know how it went. I may not be in the running for this year’s Outstanding Water Safety Enthusiast award.
Start the trip with plenty of daylight remaining Best if you calculate based on your own time zone.
Be aware of weather conditions and water temperature Wishful thinking has no affect on wind speed. Wind speed has quite an awesome affect on water conditions and boat maneuvering.
Know self-rescue techniques Does not include prayer. Also does not include good intentions of practicing.
I have one of my very own to add:
Abandoning the plan is not failure Yes, I could have packed up the toys and tried another day. And while I could have gone to shore at any time and had a lovely hike back to safety, there were points at which this might have been happened after a dunking. Hypothermia is not on my bucket list.
How fortunate to have learned so much in only one day. Plus I was able to walk away from these valuable lessons. I’m grateful for a couple days of sore muscles that assisted reflection on choices made.
“You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm” ~Colette