The Bay of Plenty is a paddling paradise so here are some simple tips to keep you safe when you head out on the water.
- Equipment: you MUST carry a correctly fitting lifejacket or personal floatation device (PFD). We recommend you wear one at all times.
- Make sure you have at least one form of waterproof communication, like a cell phone in a waterproof bag or a VHF radio.
- Wear suitable warm clothing.
- Carry a bailer or pump.
- Check the weather and tides before heading out.
- Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.
- Kayak with mates.
- Be visible. Sticking reflective day glow or high visibility tape to your paddle blades is a good idea.
- Know your limitations.
- Talk to a local if you’re paddling in a new area - contact your local canoe/kayak retailer or local Coastguard unit.
- Make sure your kayak is clearly marked with emergency contact details.
- Check the weather. It’s vital to know what the wind is forecast to do during your paddleboarding adventure.
- Check the tides so you know what to expect during your time out on the water.
- Avoid offshore winds. These are the ones that blow you away from the shore. Plan your trip and launching site with this in mind.
- Paddle with a mate. It’s more fun and safer with a friend or in a group.
- Carry at least one form of waterproof communications - this could be a VHF radio or cell phone in a waterproof bag.
- Learning. Take a lesson from a professional paddleboard instructor to learn good techniques early and gain maximum enjoyment from this sport.
- Safety. Avoid areas where there are lots of other boats, strong currents and dangerous rocks. Don’t be afraid to adopt the ‘safe position’ (paddle from a kneeling position) to get back to the shore if you’re finding it too hard or unstable, or there is too much wind.
- When paddleboarding on flat water you must carry a PFD and we recommend you wear it at all times. Your paddleboard is the biggest flotation device you have, so stay with it. Wear a leash when paddling on flat water.
- Stand up paddle boards in the surf are exempt from carrying communications or carrying a PFD, as long as you are wearing a leash.
- In fast flowing rivers it is recommended that you wear a PFD but do not wear your leash.
Paddling at night
Maritime rules require kayakers to carry a torch to prevent collision. However, holding a torch may prevent you from paddling effectively and therefore being seen! Wearing a head torch allows your arms to be free to paddle. Or, mounting an all-round white light on your rear deck above head-height means you will be visible from all directions.