The first warm days of spring can get many people excited to get back on the water. Last weekend after I left the shop I called my 12 year old son, Will, and told him I was on my way to take him kayaking. The first thing I asked him was, “Do you know where your life jacket is?” Followed by, “Uh, yeah, I think so.” It’s so easy to grab your boat and go. Be sure to remember to go over your safety gear before heading back out on the water. While the air temperature may seem warm the water is likely to be 20-40 degrees colder.

I’m always in “Coach Mode” whenever I’m on the water. Meaning safety is always my top priority. Having a plan, access to communications, and making sure your gear is in proper working order is a must any time you go out. More importantly during these first few outings of the season.

Since I’m lucky enough to have water access a few blocks from my home there are many occasions when I go paddling or rowing on my own. That’s why having a Float Plan is important. A Float Plan is basically your way of communicating to someone where you are going. I usually give my Float Plan to my husband as I’m walking out the door and he is in the middle of watching a Premier League Soccer Game. He usually gives me a nod as I tell him where I’m headed while simultaneously hurling a barrage of insults at the TV. That’s when I follow up with a text just to be sure he knows where I’m going.

Next, access to communication while out on the water is a must. I always have my phone with me when I’m out on the water. Stored in a waterproof case it’s there in the event of an emergency. Lastly, I make sure I have my PFD, SUP leash, whistle, and a light. Be sure to check with your state’s regulations regarding watercraft requirements.

Spring isn’t the only season I’m out on the water. With regards to Stand Up Paddling I ty to get out every chance I get. Thanks to the expression, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”, along with my obsession with gear, I have no excuse to not paddle in the colder months. Neoprene booties allow me to get out during winter and early spring outings. They keep your feet warm after wading through freezing water and throughout your paddle. Wetsuits are great if you fall in but can get really hot once you get moving. A great alternative to a wetsuit is Hydroskin which provides lightweight immersion protection but doesn’t suffocate you like a wetsuit would.

Have fun getting out on the water now that the weather is warming up! Bring your kids and be safe.

Nicky Stimpson

Author Nicky Stimpson

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