Paddlesports are fun, easy, and economical but safety must be your priority!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Educated Boaters are Safe Boaters!

Wear a Life Jacket! The name says it all.

Paddlesport participation has grown dramatically in recent years.  Low entry cost, easy storage, less maintenance and flexibility are some of the reasons many people have decided to become paddlers, compared to power or sailing craft.

Paddlesports are on the rise, setting a records for the number of participants. About 22 million Americans — 7.4 percent of the population — enjoy paddling.

Kayaking, Stand Up Paddleboarding and kayak fishing have grown dramatically. Between 90,000 and 105,000 canoes and 350,000 kayaks are sold annually, according to industry figures.

However, all of this growth in paddlesports has a dark side. Unlike power boats, with the growth in paddlesports, the number of fatalities has gone up. In the most recent reporting year, 2015, 29% of boating deaths were paddlecraft related; in 2016, fatalities climbed even higher. Current efforts to reach the paddling public have fallen dramatically short. The Coast Guard Auxiliary Strategic Plan for 2017 focuses Auxiliary efforts on addressing the problem by expanding outreach to the paddlecraft community.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary AUXPAD program helps fill the knowledge gap for novice paddlers. AUXPAD consists of two components, AUXPAD Ashore and AUXPAD Afloat.

AUXPAD Ashore includes all of the traditional methods that the Auxiliary uses to reach the boating public, including public affairs events, public education classes, marine dealer visits and vessel safety examinations.  All of these tools are available to approach the paddling public.

AUXPAD Afloat places qualified AUXPAD Operators in direct contact with recreational paddlecraft users on the water.  It promotes paddlecraft RBS via personal example and gives Auxiliarists an opportunity to interact with the paddlecraft community to share RBS messages.

The RBS Outreach Directorate has established a Paddlecraft Safety Division which will help guide the AUXPAD program and Auxiliary efforts to reach the paddlecraft community with safety messages.

 

This article is a reprint from the Recreational Boating Safety Directorate. For more information and pamphlet downloads, please click the link below.

 

Paddlers Safety Information from the US Coast Guard Auxiliary RBS

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