• Wear your life jacket. Some 80 percent of all recreational boating fatalities happen to people who are not wearing a life jacket.
  • Do not boat alone, be sure to be visible to other boaters, and be aware of what is around you (including behind).
  • Expect to get wet. Even the best paddlers sometimes capsize or swamp their boats. Bring extra clothing in a waterproof bag.
  • Be prepared to swim. If the water looks too hazardous to swim in, don’t go boating.
  • If you capsize, hold on to your boat, unless it presents a life threatening situation. If floating in current, position yourself on the upstream side of the capsized boat.
  • Scout ahead whenever possible. Know the river. Avoid surprises.
  • Be prepared for the weather. Get a forecast before you go. Sudden winds and rain can turn a pleasant trip into a risky, unpleasant venture.
  • Wear wading shoes or tennis shoes with wool, polypropylene, pile or neoprene socks.
  • Never take your boat over a low-head dam.
  • Portage (carry) your boat around any waterway section about which you feel uncertain.
  • Keep painter lines (ropes tied to the bow) and any other ropes coiled and secure.
  • Never tie a rope to yourself or to another boater, especially a child.
  • If you collide with an obstruction in a kayak, lean toward it. This will usually prevent capsizing or flooding the boat.
  • File a float plan with a reliable person, indicating where you are going and when you will return. Remember to contact the person when you have returned safely.

For more information: http://www.phillypaddler.com/