The first sunny days are here and a lot of people are anxious to go on their first paddleboard session of the season. The lakes and rivers are starting to look appealing, but the thick ice cap the winter created has only JUST melted away. Keep these things in mind when heading out on the water in April-May:
Even though it might be warm outside, be aware that the water temperature is still very low. Of course, be sure to wear your personal flotation device. This will keep you floating in case that you fall in the water. It is very important to understand that when you fall into (ice) cold water (under 15 degrees Celsius), you can be victim to what is known as a thermal shock. The cold water puts your body in a state of shock. In this state, you won't be able to make rational decisions such as getting back on your board safely. This will then quickly lead to advanced hypothermia.
Alone on the water
Secondly, be mindful that at this time of year you will most likely to be one of the few (if not the only) people on the water. Make sure you tell others exactly where you are going and at what time you are planning to be back. Or even better, bring someone along with you. Stay close to the shore, don't paddle out far. Spring is not the time to try and push your limit or try to beat personal records.
Last but not least: the weather. During spring, the weather can change in an instant. You may head out during clear skies and no wind. But in a matter of hours it can become cold and rainy with heavy winds. Before you head out, you should always consult the forecast. Two useful programs:
Windy.com - Track wind conditions including their directions
www.accuweather.com - Track rain clouds with the weather radar
Thank you for reading and be safe on the water!
The Silver Shark team