It is almost that time of year!! Every paddler dreads it but its a fact of life living here in MD, its starting to get colder. It can be tricky for paddlers because you can overheat pretty quick in a wet suit so a lot of paddlers try and push the limits. Just remember when it doubt be safe, there were more paddle board related deaths this year then ever before, lets not let any of them happen tin MD.
The Bay temp is at 60 deg right now and dropping quick. The air temps vary this time of year but right now its mid 50’s, the old rule is when the air temp and the water temp are less then 100 its time to suite up but use your best judgement. For some people booties have already gone on, for others they will wait a few more weeks but here are a couple rules to go by for winter paddling:
- Wear a wet suit. If a full suit is to hot then get the pants and a jacket and boots but make sure you have something on. Don’t be a hero, if you fall that cold will hit you quicker then you think
- Wear a leash. Even if it is calm!!! If you fall you want to get back on your board as quick as possible, if your board gets away from you it can lead to serious trouble.
- Wear a PFD. The cold water can throw you in to shock. If you have a pfd on you wont go under which will hopefully give enough time for your paddling partner to come help. See step 4
- Don’t paddle solo in the cold. Groups are always safer
- Stay close to shore if possible. Big Neil does 6 miles every day all winter long but he never goes in water deeper then 4 ft, this way if something does happen he can walk out.
- Tell people your paddling and what time you should be back
- If it is really cold and choppy just don’t go. Its not worth the risk
Now stay safe and have some fun paddling all winter long 🙂