Staying Safe on Lake Powell:
This is the Wild, Wild West out here so be prepared!
Top 10 ways to stay safe on the water:
1: You should always wear a life jacket while on the water. It’s Arizona law that you have one with you. Do make sure you ALWAYS wear your leash on your paddleboard, this is very important in this dynamic environment as conditions can change rapidly. Wind is unpredictable and can bring large swells(up to 6 ft) with it and you do not want to lose your board. Leash up! Even kayaks can be a challenge in the wind here. There are NO LIFEGUARDS here. Kids under 13 must wear a life jacket at all times.
2: Take plenty of water! This is extremely important. Paddling is a physical sport. Dehydration in hot weather can cause heat exhaustion and heat stroke, both life-threatening conditions. This can happen very fast here in the desert! Take more than you think you will need- it’s better to have too much than not enough. Drink up!
3: Weather here can be extremely sneaky (especially the wind!), so make sure you keep an eye on the sky while you’re out and about. If the weather looks like it’s going to get windy or stormy, head to shore and head back, or wait for it to pass. Again, wind can really be an issue here, it is unpredictable and can bring large swells(up to 6 ft) so be aware!
4: Not only can the sun and weather be dangerous, others enjoying the lake can be as well. Make sure you watch out for and stay clear of all boats, jet skis, and swimmers because they may not see you! Some water craft may make large waves that can make you unstable and cause you to fall off your board or tip your kayak. Always get down on your knees on your paddleboard when you are unstable or unsure of the situation. Listen for boats in the canyons and move to the side especially at blind corners. Do your best to make sure boats see you!
5: Watch your alcohol consumption. Alcohol and sun do not mix. Many problems can arise from intoxication in heat, the most serious being heat stroke caused by dehydration which is deadly. If you are going to drink alcohol, eat something with it, and drink plenty of water and electrolytes. It’s just common sense!
6: Know your limits! If you know you’re not a strong swimmer make sure you wear a life jacket while you’re out on the lake, also do not travel long distances on the lake that you may not have the energy to travel back from. Paddling out is voluntary, returning is mandatory!
7: Always tell somebody where you’re going, when you’re leaving, and when you’re coming back. This ensures that if you find yourself in a sticky situation that somebody will come looking for you. But remember, don’t change your plans without letting that person know what you’re doing. FYI-Helicopter rescue costs $26,000.00 so play it smart.
8: Stay energized! Take plenty of high-protein snacks for sustained energy. These can be stored easily in a waterproof bag and attached to your board or kayak.
9: The sun here can be extremely damaging to your skin, not to mention painful. Make sure you wear strong sunscreen, a hat and protective clothing while you’re out on the lake. In the winter months, the water gets cold and can cause Hypothermia so wetsuits and booties are highly recommended!
10: Stay within earshot of your paddle buddies so you don’t get separated. That way you always can keep an eye on each other!
Have fun! Paddling is a great way to keep active and get outdoors.