Northern Forest Canoe Trail urges paddler safety on rivers, lakes

Posted April 27, 2011, at 11:34 a.m.
Northern Forest Canoe Trail
Map courtesy Northern Forest Canoe Trail
Northern Forest Canoe Trail
Robert Causey, with his cocker spaniel, Merlyn, paddles his Old Town Scout canoe beneath billowing cumulus clouds during an outing on Pushaw Lake.
Photo by Jeff Strout
Robert Causey, with his cocker spaniel, Merlyn, paddles his Old Town Scout canoe beneath billowing cumulus clouds during an outing on Pushaw Lake.

WAITSFIELD, Vt. — As you pull your paddling gear out of winter storage, it’s also a good idea to refresh your safe paddling skills and awareness. The Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) features paddling safety and survival brochures on its website that provide clear information about how to set yourself up for safe and fun paddling adventures. “Wear It! Life Jackets Matter” and “Cold Water Survival” are free to the public at http://www.northernforestcanoetrail.org.

“Paddlers are always eager to get back out on the water after the long winter, and we love this energy,” says Northern Forest Canoe Trail Executive Director Kate Williams. “Our safety information helps paddlers plan and prepare for spring conditions which include cold water temperatures, variable water levels, and unpredictable currents.”

“Wear It! Life Jackets Matter” stresses the importance of wearing a personal flotation device (PFD), and provides information on how to choose the right type and tips on finding the perfect fit. Nearly 70 percent of all drownings involving canoes, kayaks or rafts might have been avoided if the victim had been wearing a life jacket according to the U.S. Coast Guard Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety.

“Cold Water Survival” gives suggestions on how to prepare for paddling in water temperatures ranging from 32.5 degrees to 60 and higher, how to assess and treat symptoms of hypothermia, and describes the significant risks associated with cold water immersion and how to set yourself up to manage these risks.

The brochures were created in partnership with Kokatat, the American Canoe Association, and the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is a 740-mile inland paddling trail tracing historic travel routes across New York, Vermont, Québec, New Hampshire, and Maine. NFCT connects people to the Trail’s natural environment, human heritage, and contemporary communities by stewarding, promoting, and providing access to canoe and kayak experiences along this route.  NFCT, Inc was incorporated in 2000 and is a 501(c)3 membership organization.

To learn more about paddling the NFCT, to become a member, and to purchase a guidebook and maps, visit http://www.northernforestcanoetrail.org or call 802-496-2285.

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