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Safety Tips and Gear

Take a moment to consider the following as you prepare for your journey. It's important to know the waters on which you plan to boat, and users must know their own capabilities. The water levels may change seasonally or even daily; always be cognizant of your surroundings as well as other private and commercial boat traffic.  Remember that heavy rains and tides can significantly affect the flow conditions. For your safety and enjoyment, please boat only when water levels are appropriate for your skill level. The latest information can be found online at www.srh.noaa.gov/tbw/

Paddling Safety Tips

  • Wear your life jacket. Some 80% of all recreational boating fatalities happen to people who are not wearing a life jacket.
  • Expect to get wet. Even the best paddlers sometimes capsize or swamp their boats. Bring extra clothing in a waterproof bag.
  • Plan and be prepared.
  • Dispose of waste properly.
  • Respect wildlife.
  • Be considerate of others.
  • Be prepared for the weather. Get a forecast before you go. Sudden winds and rain are common and can turn a pleasant trip into a risky, unpleasant venture.
  • Be prepared to swim. If the water looks too hazardous to swim in, don't go paddling.
  • 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.
  • Wear wading shoes or tennis shoes with wool, polypropylene, pile or neoprene socks.
  • Portage (carry) your boat around any section of water about which you feel uncertain.
  • Never boat alone. Boating safety increases with numbers.
  • Never tie a rope to yourself or to another paddler, especially a child.
  • Kneel to increase stability before entering rougher water.
  • 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.

Additional Gear and Supplies

Consider bringing the following with you to make your trip more safe and comfortable.

  • Marine whistle                                                                                    
  • Flashlight
  • Drinking water
  • An extra paddle for each boat
  • First Aid kit
  • Cell phone
  • GPS System/Compass
  • Bow and stern line
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen/Sunglasses/Hat
  • Binoculars
  • Water shoes
  • Change of clothes
  • Watertight bag
  • Map

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City of St. Petersburg
P.O. Box 2842
St. Petersburg, FL 33731

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