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5 top tips for family fun on the water this summer

Summer is the perfect time to explore the outdoor playground that nature gives us by canoe or kayak. The variety of craft you can choose to paddle gives endless possibilities; from open canoes the whole family can fit in, to individual kayaks and stand up paddleboards for more independent adventurers.

Here are some top tips for getting the most from your paddling fun this summer:

1. Learn the basics

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We all want to keep our family safe. By going to a starter session or course at your local club or centre you can learn the basics on safety and technique. You will also be able to get lots of tips from the club community on where to go paddling. Check out our Canoe Near You map to find your nearest club or centre.

You can also hire boats from a Quality Mark Hire Provider. They will kit you out with the equipment and safety gear you need for a day on the water, as well as helping you with a route to follow.

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2. Be ready for the adventure


Keep smiles on faces all day by being well prepared for your day on the water. Make sure everyone has a correctly fitted buoyancy aid. Check the weather forecast and pack appropriate layers of clothing; don’t forget a spare set of clothes, just in case someone gets splashed. Sunscreen is an absolute must, even if it’s not going to be a super hot day.

Taking a picnic and plenty of fluids will keep tummies full throughout the day. If in doubt take more than you think you need. A variety of snacks means even the fussiest of eaters will be kept happy.

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3. Let imagination lead the day


Don’t we all wish we still had the imagination of children? Their ability see the whole world through different eyes brings an entire range of possibilities to your day. If they want to be pirates, frogs, merpeople or otters for the day then let them be! Create your own games and stories as you go and let the waterways burst into a whole new life.

If you're not sure where to go to start your fairytale why not try one of our Canoe Trails? With around 150 trails containing all the information you need for an independent trip, you're sure to find the perfect one for you.

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4. Combine the fun


There are lots of activities which you can do at the same time as paddling. Help protect our waterways by looking out for invasive species and reporting them to the waterways authorities. Check out the Canal and River Trust’s Rogues Gallery to find out more about non-native plants and animals invading our waterways. You could also do a family litter pick as you paddle along. Just be sure to wear gloves and dispose of any rubbish you collect safely.

Turn your trip into a treasure hunt by searching for geocaches along the way. Use your GPS device or phone to track down one of thousands of hidden caches all around the country. This National Trust article explains all you need to know!

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5. Make a weekend of it

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Canoe camping is a fantastic way to turn a day out into a mini holiday. What better way to end a day on the water than roasting marshmallows and sipping hot chocolate around the campfire?

For a little more knowledge on what to pack and how to pack it take a peek at this article on the Cotswold Outdoor website. You can also contact the Canoe Camping club, who are always happy to help people get started on their adventures!

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For lots more knowledge on getting on your family on the water this summer visit our Getting Started area.