DNR Warden Oginski's kayaking trip tips: They're life-savers!
DNR Conservation Warden Supervisor Dave Oginski of Ashland is a longtime canoeist who also kayaks in Lake Superior when the conditions are right – and he has prepared for his safe and fun paddle.
Here are some of his tips and websites to make your kayaking trip to one of the nation’s most popular lakes – Lake Superior – an adventure you’ll recall in stories for a long time. * Check wind conditions and weather forecasts:
No kayaker should venture onto Lake Superior without checking the winds and weather first. Here are two websites with trustworthy information:
o tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/ofs/lsofs/fore_wind.shtml – for wind
– for wind, weather * Know the signs, prevention of hypothermia:
This is a medical emergency that can cause death quickly and is a serious threat to kayakers. While hypothermia can happen in various water temperatures, it most often hits in colder conditions. Get smart and get prepared!* Take a course:
You’ll learn stroke techniques and the rescue techniques, as well as other cool stuff about the sport. Ask a reputable outfitter in your area or check out the list of websites below. A great place to check is the American Canoe Association, www.americancanoe.org.
Check their list for recommended courses and where you'll find their certified instructors. Also, while not specifically geared for kayaking in Lake Superior, you may consider an introductory, four-hour course, Paddlesports America, which has been approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and it is the official course for the U.S Cast Guard Auxiliary. Then, practice what you’re learned again and again – see #4.[/b]
* www.nasbla.org – The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators
* www.americancanoe.org - American Canoe Association
* www.cgaux.org – The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary offers the online course. Click on boating education.
* www.kayakonline.com – This is an easy-to-maneuver site contains where-to-go pages showing state by state kayak clubs, schools, training centers. Look for the link in the left column.
[b]# Practice life-saving skills:
The biggest fear in kayaking is flipping over. Master the skills to get yourself back up, being able to pump out the kayak or helping a buddy out of an emergency situation. Practice in a shallow area or even a pool. Also, get certified in CPR -- it's easy and a priceless skill.
– The American Red Cross can teach you CPR, swimming, lifesaving and more.Use the right kayak and get a bold color:
There are different types for swift water, inland lakes, sea kayaks. Go to a reputable outfitter and work with a knowledgeable sales person. Purchase or rent a kayak that will be easy to spot on the water. There will be other water craft and kayaks are low in the water, making them harder to spot.Kayak skirt will not save you:
The kayak skirt is made to prevent water from entering your craft but it’s not fail safe in turbulent seas protect you. However, that offers limited protection. Revisit tip #4.Paddle with buddies:
You’re safer and it’s more fun. Tell someone about your trip plan so they can contact help if you fail to show up when expected. NEVER PADDLE ALONE.Wear a colorful life-vest:
There are comfortable personal flotation vests made specifically for paddlers – meaning you’ll be able to move with ease while wearing it. Do not paddle without wearing one. And go for a bright color or bright pattern that will make you easier to see while on the water – red and yellow are good choices.Your trip gear bag items:
Take a dry bag and pack smart. Here are some valuable items: a cell phone, some dry clothes in the event you do get wet and need to stay warm, a hand pump should you flip and need to empty the craft, water shoes are helpful, and a compass or GPS so you know where you are.
Lake Superior is known for fog. Another valuable item is a portable marine radio, known to have saved a few kayaker lives during the last years. Other good items to include are: towline, waterproof matches, food and water, an extra paddle, first-aid and repair kits, signaling device (flare kit) whistle and maps. Wear a hat and sunscreen, too!Wet suit and dry suit:
Pack one. Lake Superior stays chilly, making the chances of hypothermia great. Again, talk with the reputable outfitter.Register your kayak:
It is mandatory in Minnesota, www.dnr.state.mn.us/licenses/watercraft/index.html.
Wisconsin has voluntary non-motorized registration. Chances of you getting your kayak back should it be lost are better if those who find your kayak can find you. Volunteer registration is $11. Add $3.75 to that if the craft needs to be transferred into the customer's name. You can register online. Go to www.dnr.wi.gov
and click on Boat-ATV-Snowmobile Registration. You also can find a registration agent near you by using this link: http://dnr.wi.gov/org/caer/cs/licenseagents/.
Or, you may mail a paper application found on this link: http://dnr.wi.gov/org/caer/cs/apps/9400193.pdf.Ask local experts: Two great sources for kayakers among others:www.nps.gov/apis/planyourvisit/kayaking.htm
– National Park Service – Apostle Islands. Contains a great map!
bayfield.org/lake_superior_activities_kayaking.php - Bayfield Chamber of CommerceWant more information?
Contact us: www.dnr.state.wi.us/contact/
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