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Paddling (Canoeing, Kayaking, and Rafting)

Canada’s vast coastlines, amazing lakes and winding rivers are a dream to explore by canoe, kayak or raft. Ocean paddling requires knowledge of ocean currents, weather patterns and how to survive a storm. River paddling requires an understanding of the power of the river and the ability to roll or survive a flip in very cold water.

Rules of the Road

Although the rules of the road for paddlers give the paddler the right-of-way over power and sailboats, prudence demands that you try to stay away from larger boats, and if you have to cross the path of a power boat, do so at a right-angle to the wake.

Wear your Life Jacket or PFD

The inherent instability of canoes and kayaks means wearing your lifej acket or PFD is critical to your safety.

Whatever you love to do, have all the necessary skills and gear to be safe on the water:

  • Take a safe boating course and make sure all your gear is in good shape.
  • Check the weather forecast and be prepared for it to change.
  • Be visible. It is especially difficult for power-driven vessel operators to see canoes/kayaks. Choose bright colours—red, yellow or orange - for your PFD and canoe/kayak.
  • Keep signaling devices within reach.
  • Stay current on self and assisted-rescues.
  • Learn to swim well—especially fully-clothed. Chilly waters can render you hypothermic in minutes.
  • Learn basic navigation skills and be prepared to signal for help if necessary.
  • Never paddle alone.
The Right Gear  +

From world-class whitewater, to a whale of an encounter, Canada's amazing waters are yours to explore!

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Photo: Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism (banner); Government of Yukon