Hopefully at some point you’ve been taught to look left and right before your cross the road. And unsuprisingly, not getting run over at portages will definitely help your chances of finishing DW!
There are however, a few other safety tips worth noting for your training and the race itself.
If you haven’t done so already, read my last post to help you decide when it is safe to go out paddling in the first place.
Other safety tips worth noting:
- Always tell someone where you are going and when to expect you back. If you can, then put a tracker on (e.g. WhatsApp Live Location) so people know exactly where you are then that’s even better.
- Take a phone with you in a waterproof case so you can phone for help in an emergency.
- Take more food and water with you than you think you need. Even a short paddle can use up a lot of energy and if you’re stuck waiting for help to arrive then you’ll appreciate the extra snacks.
- Take a drybag in the boat with a change of clothes in it. Therefore if you do capsize and have an hour to paddle back to the car, you might have a chance of preventing hypothermia.
- Even if you are paddling in the daylight, take lights with you just in case. Hopefully you’ll only need them because you stopped off for a spontaneous pub lunch.
- Be careful with river/canal water as a small amount can make you ill. We once had sandwiches sat on our spraydecks which were not only soggy to eat, but also gave us dodgy stomachs the next day.
- Remember to take into account your own experience level. If you have only just started out paddling then build up gradually to faster rivers and longer distances. Go out with people who are more experienced than you so they can help you work out what you are capable of at your current stage of training.
Then after you’ve done all that stuff, don’t forget to enjoy the paddle!