Especially because it's the holiday weekend, there will be many more people out on various bodies of water. Yes, that means there are more eyes out there to look out for your safety, but your safety does start with you.
Here's the list of paddling safety tips from the Iowa DNR:
- Always wear your life jacket. Kids 12 and under must wear a life jacket at all times when underway on a recreational vessel on any Iowa water. It’s also law that those 13 and over, if not wearing their life jacket, must have a life jacket on board their vessel.
- Learn about and study your route in advance. Be able to read the water and effectively steer and propel your boat.
- Paddle with a group, not by yourself.
- Tell a friend or loved one where you will be paddling, including what access to what access, and when you are expected to return. It will be easier to find you if you need help.
- Bring along a dry bag with a set of extra clothes you can change into if you get wet, a first-aid kit and a protected cell phone or weather radio.
- Pack plenty of water to stay hydrated. Wear light, loose fitting clothing that dries quickly. Wear a hat, sunglasses and plenty of sunscreen.
- Explore the Iowa DNR’s water trail map library at www.iowadnr.gov/Things-to-Do/Canoeing-Kayaking/Water-Trail-Maps-Brochures for individual water trail maps, including access points and some history information.
Safe paddling, and happy Independence Day Weekend!