By: Ellen H Petersen
As the weather and water warm up, it’s time to get back in our kayaks and on our paddleboards into the lake and enjoy all it has to offer. When paddling on Lake Roaming Shores, it is easy to relax and take in all of the sights near the shoreline. Because it is so soothing, it is easy to sometimes forget that there are always potential dangers in/on any kind of watercraft. Here are some basic safety rules to follow to make your time paddling fun as well as free of danger.
Before leaving, tell someone where you are going and your expected time of return. Check your local weather forecast and be aware that conditions can change quickly. Also, check your equipment for wear and tear and do not exceed the weight capacity for your kayak or paddleboard. On a kayak, keep a small waterproof bag with a rope and a small first aid kit. Always wear a well fitted life jacket (it should fit snugly without being too tight) with a whistle. It should always be worn, not just carried with you. It is a good habit to apply a layer of sunscreen before leaving.
Paddle during daylight hours and check time of sunset and allow for plenty of time to return before dark. Paddle close to the shoreline and groups should travel behind one another. Situational awareness of all that is going on around you can prevent accidents from happening. Watch out for fast moving watercraft that create wakes. If lightning or severe weather occurs, go to the shoreline and get onto land until all danger has passed. Avoid dehydration and always keep a full water bottle with you. Dress properly: light loose clothing, hat/visor, open, lightweight water shoes. Remember to use quiet voices as sound carries easily over water. Never mix drugs or alcohol with water sports. When on a paddleboard, tether a leash to one ankle, it will keep your board from blowing away. Be sure that you know how to get back on your board from the water and practice that skill. The Roaming Shores Community Safety Preparedness will hold a kayak/paddleboard class this summer- look for announcements for when that will be held at the club house beach. Most importantly, enjoy your paddle; it is good for the body, mind and soul!