Safety and Rescue

Paddling Safety - The Essentials

Kayaking is one of the safest outdoor sports, but it has the potential to be very dangerous. Following these rules will help keep you safe on the water.

Safety Warning

Paddlesports can be very dangerous and physically demanding. The user of this product should understand that participating in paddlesports may involve serious injury or death. Observe the following safety standards whenever using this product.

  • Get paddlesport instruction from a licensed or certified instructor.
  • Obtain certified first aid and rescue training and carry first aid and rescue equipment.
  • Always wear a nationally-approved personal flotation device.
  • Always wear a helmet where appropriate.
  • Dress appropriately for weather conditions; cold water and/or cold weather can result in hypothermia.
  • Check your equipment prior to each use for signs of wear or failure.
  • Never paddle alone.
  • You must not use alcohol or mind altering drugs prior to using this product.
  • Do not paddle in flood conditions.
  • Be aware of appropriate river water levels, tidal changes, dangerous currents and weather changes.
  • Scout unfamiliar waters; portage where appropriate.
  • Do not exceed your paddling ability; be honest with yourself.
  • Consult your physician prior to beginning your paddlesport training.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the use of this product.
  • If additional outfitting is added to this craft, use manufacturer’s approved materials only; do not impair entry or exit access.
  • Read owner’s information package prior to using this product.

The user of this product acknowledges both an understanding and an assumption of the risk involved in paddlesports.If you have any questions about this or any Old Town Product, call (207) 827-5513.


Check Conditions

It is important to check conditions such as weather and tides before going out in your kayak. Whether you are going on a multi-day excursion or just paddling for an afternoon, being aware of current conditions can help you plan a more safe and efficient trip. An excellent way to monitor sea conditions is to use the National Marine Forecast located at

Safety Equipment

Here are just some of the items to carry (and know how to use):

  • PFD
  • Throwable Flotation Device (for canoeing)
  • Bailer or Bilge Pump
  • Sponge
  • Tow Line
  • Rope Bag (for canoeing)
  • Dry Bag (with extra water, food, sunscreen, etc.)
  • First Aid Kit
  •  Paddle Float (or other rescue aid for kayaking) 
  • Flares
  • Weather Radio
  • Knife
  • Air Horn / whistle
  • Spare paddle
  • Repair Kit 

For Longer Trips:

  • Charts (in a waterproof
    chart case)
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Extra Clothing (kept dry)
  • Weather Radio


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