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Stay safe on the water

With the easing of restrictions on outdoor sport and recreation we recognise that many will tempted to go back out on the water and go for a paddle.

In order to keep safe British Canoeing has provided the following advice to ensure you stay well within your limits on the water.

  • Check your equipment before you set off
  • Tell others of your plans, and when you are expecting to get back off the water
  • Paddle in environments and conditions that you are familiar
  • Paddle independently only if you are very experienced and competent
  • Paddle to exercise and not adventure
  • Carry a means of calling for help handy at all times
  • Check the weather
  • Paddle in familiar locations, and favourable conditions

A safety checklist is available on our Go Paddling website

Paddlers are entirely responsible for their own safety at all times and that currently the resources of the waterways authorities and the emergency services are very limited.

At present there are no RNLI lifeguards on beaches and although volunteer lifeboat crews are fully operational, it is important that only experienced paddlers who are familiar with a location should paddle on coastal waters.

Please closely follow the RNLI safety advice.

  • Take care near cliffs - know your route and your limitations
  • Have a plan - check the weather forecast and tide times
  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float
  • If boating, ensure your equipment is functioning and maintained
  • In any coastal emergency dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard

Whilst travel to exercise is not prohibited, our strong advice is that paddlers should paddle locally if possible.

In the interest of respecting the views of our countryside partners and protecting rural locations from the spread of coronavirus, British Canoeing is discouraging travel to remote and rural locations, as well as long journeys to go paddling.


Further information

Kayaking safety checklist

A return to paddling in England