Leading Cause of Death for Paddling Canoes and Kayaks

A troubling trend has been the increase of deaths in small crafts, including canoes and kayaks. In the last two years alone, six people have drowned while paddling. Four of the victims were children, including Payton Lunsford, who drowned when her canoe overturned. Although paddling is a dangerous activity, the dangers are heightened when using small crafts, such as a canoe. best fishing kayaks

A study of the causes of fatalities in paddling small craft revealed that a majority of fatalities occurred in shallow water. Sixty-four percent of accidents occurred on lakes or rivers. Only two fatalities occurred on the Atlantic Ocean. Twenty-nine percent of the deaths occurred on weekends. Most deaths occurred between noon and 6 p.m. In addition, seventy-two percent of the fatalities occurred during the summer.

The most common causes of paddling fatalities in Maine were alcohol use, inexperience, and not wearing a personal flotation device. Paddling fatalities are among the fastest growing segments of boating. Between 2000 and 2007, canoe and kayak sales grew by 23% while powerboat sales dropped five percent. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services looked at the data for paddle sports deaths and found that the top three causes of death were alcohol use, alcohol consumption, and not wearing a PFD while paddling.

While many paddlers follow the guidelines for proper craft handling, many still ignore safety precautions. These include wearing a life jacket, proper clothing, and knowledge about how to handle the craft. Another leading cause of death in paddling is dehydration. Dehydration is caused by excessive sweating and insufficient water intake. When dehydration becomes severe, the body begins to shut down and cells die.

Paddling partners should also be taught the proper way to handle their equipment and paddle. A proper stroke will keep a paddler on course while paddling. A paddler should be aware of the proper technique and stance. In addition, they should also be aware of the correct technique for landing. In a small craft, it is important to avoid stoking the boat in the water.

Accidents involving paddlers in small crafts are extremely rare. However, the risks can be substantial, so careful consideration of safety measures is essential. Expert kayakers rarely die, but if they do, they are usually in water that is not particularly difficult. A kayaker who is properly trained should always wear a life jacket. The best way to avoid a canoe accident is to avoid these common mistakes.

In case of a capsize, it is imperative to look over your partner for assistance. If the canoe is overturned in moving water, a fellow boater can assist with the rescue by dragging it to the shore. A kayaker may also help by utilizing a hand-operated bilge pump. After the rescue, paddlers should stay with their crafts until they have reached shore.