The Oregon State Marine Board, American Canoe Association, and Washington State Parks reminds boaters to do three important things this time of year if you plan to head out onto open waters:
1. Wear a properly fitting life jacket for your activity. Paddling-specific life jackets are available and provide enough buoyancy to keep your head and chest above the water. There are many designs and styles that do not restrict movement. The old “Mae West” horse collar style are long gone.
2. Expect to get wet. Planning for the weather and being prepared makes a difference. Prepare for the water temperature, NOT the air temperature. When boating in open water or a large waterbody, the wind and conditions can change instantly, so wear a wet suit or dry suit in addition to your life jacket. Cold water immersion is the number one cause for boating-related fatalities in the Pacific Northwest.
3. Always paddle in pairs or in a group. Also, have a whistle attached to your life jacket so you can signal members in your party where you are, in case you get separated.
We want you to have a wonderful experience out on the water. It’s an amazing way to connect with nature, with your spirit, and get exercise. Investing in proper gear is worth every penny…for the comfort and a more enjoyable time on the water. Boat Safe. Be prepared. Plan ahead.