Cold Water Paddling
Cold water paddling requires an understanding of air and water temperature, proper clothing and experience in survival skills. Cold water doesn't necessarily mean paddling in Alaska - read on.
How Cold is Cold?
Northern areas of the United States including the northern east coast have shorter paddling seasons. There are only a few short months between May and September to enjoy the warmth that lucky southern and west coast paddlers do.
In these colder regions you may get an early or late warm day where the air temperature reaches near or above 80 degrees. What most don't realize is that even with this warm air, the water temperature could still be at 40
degrees. This is serious.
If you plan to extend your paddling season into the Spring and Fall, you will need to know more about water temperature.
For beginners especially - safety is a prerequisite - do not paddle in water temperatures below 60 degrees.
Only when you have mastered a full understanding of hypothermia, are trained and outfitted with the proper clothing are you ready.
Water temperatures below 60 degrees are a serious threat to your ability to save yourself without proper instruction or clothing designed to retain body heat. Rapid heat loss leads to hypothermia, cold shock and fatality. Only after training from a certified instructor and a thorough understanding of the life
saving skills unique to cold water paddling - would I recommend paddling in cold water temperatures.
How do you find out the current water temperature?
NOAA.gov (National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration). There
you will find all the daily weather and more. Take some time to paddle around
their site. When you're on their site - at the prompt that says: Local
Forecast enter your City-State. Then in the "search" feature type in:
water temperature (hit the enter key).
Another way to find the current weather and water temperature is
NOAA's weather radio - NWR (National Weather Radio). It
covers 50 states, adjacent coastal waters, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands
and the US Pacific Territories. Continual broadcasts are found on the VHF
(MHz) bands as follows: 162.400 - 162.425 - 162.450 - 162.475 -
162.525 - 162.550
So please ... beginners - be patient before attempting paddling in water
temperatures below 60 degrees. Instead, this would be a good time to seek qualified training.
You can start by finding paddling lessons in your area.
From Cold Water Paddling - back to Kayaking Safety
From Cold Water Paddling - back to How to Kayak