143035_DBW Course_r3

Chapter 3 X Vessel Operation

PADDLING Paddlecraft—including canoes, rafts, kayaks, stand up paddleboards and utility boats—are each used in a different manner and in different waterways. Flatwater paddling includes lakes, bays, and low current rivers with few obstructions. Whitewater paddling includes faster flowing rivers with turbu lent water and steep terrain. California coastal paddling can include the surf zone with its own set of safety hazards. Like any sport, paddling education is key to safety and mastery. Hands-on beginning paddlecraft courses are avail able throughout California and are recommended before launching out on your own. Utility boats are usually used in harbors to travel between a moored boat and the shore. These boats must meet all safety requirements. Canoes and kayaks also are often paddled on flatwater among other marine traffic. You should know that it may be difficult for other boats to see and avoid paddlecraft. If you find yourself in a utility boat, canoe or kayak before taking a safe boating lesson, remember these basic safety points: ƒ Always wear a properly fitted life jacket and avoid alcohol use. Be prepared to enter the water, know how to swim and self rescue in river/current. Nothing says “amateur” like a paddler without a life jacket. ƒ If you paddle any paddlecraft at night, you must carry a flashlight and warn other boats of your presence to avoid a collision. ƒ Standing up or moving about in a canoe or kayak greatly increases the chance of capsizing. Keep your center of gravity low. ƒ Maintain three points of contact while moving around in a canoe or utility boat. (As you move a foot to step forward, you should be holding onto the boat with both hands, then with both feet down, move one hand at a time, etc.) ƒ Load the boat properly: keep the weight centered both from side to side and bow to stern. The lower and the closer the load in the boat is to the boat’s centerline, generally the more stable the boat will be, assuming there is adequate freeboard. Stay within the limits of the boat’s capacity rating on the capacity plate if one is present. ƒ Kneeling is the most stable position for canoe paddlers. ƒ Keep your shoulders inside the boat’s gunwales. When retrieving something from the water, reach with your paddle or guide the boat close to the object so you can grab the item from the water without leaning your shoulders over the gunwale. ƒ Never paddle alone. There is safety in numbers. ƒ Avoid extreme conditions including weather, distance from shore, water conditions, current beyond your skill level. FLATWATER PADDLING IN A UTILITY BOAT, CANOE OR KAYAK

Utility boat



WEBSITE Visit dbw.parks.ca.gov/ AquaticCenters or scan the QR code on this page for a list of facilities in your area offering on-the-water paddling courses.


California Course for Safe Boating

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