Cold Water Paddling – Be Prepared

Cold Water Paddling – Be Prepared

White water paddling is often at its best real early in the season as the ice melts.

The annual migratory urge is incredibly strong as we seek to put our paddles back in the water at a time when there are no bugs, lots of river power and very cold water. While the urge is not to be denied, there are increased risks that need to be respected. Lets be prepared.

Situation - it is a sunny spring day in early April and the air temperature is a comfortable 18 degrees centigrade. Our paddling muscles are just aching to get going. Reality checks tell us the water can still be a great deal lower, and at 0-1 degree C it has the ability to suck life preserving heat from our bodies at an incredible rate. There are also a lot of other freaky things afoot on our rivers in Spring, like increased presence of sweepers and human made strainers, flooded river banks, powerful currents, and ice.

While there are many short lived rivers that beg to be paddled in early spring, there are risks ranging from slight personal discomfort, thru hypothermia, a spoiled trip, loss of physical control, or even drowning. Are there strategies for avoiding and dealing with the increased challenges of Spring (cold water) paddling?

Lets Consider – What are some of the Hazards and Risks?

Strategies to Consider

Happy paddling!