Knowing Boat Etiquette & Safety for Canoeing


We want to talk about boat etiquette and boat safety. Basically a couple things to think about when you go kayaking. You always are required to at least have one life jacket per person in each boat. Now having a life jacket or the PFD in the boat doesn’t do you a lot of good if you’ve flipped the boat and you’re swimming.

So it makes more sense to wear the life jacket, make sure it’s nice and snug, and it fits okay. And again, you test that by lifting up, if the life jacket doesn’t rise up, you’ve got it properly fitted for your body. Now the next thing we want to talk about is basic boat etiquette. Out on the lake there are powerboats, rowing shells, many different types of watercraft.

Now I’m in a ten-foot kayak, which is very easy for me to turn and get out of my own way, and get out of other’s way. The rule of thumb on the lake is basically that the smaller the boat must yield the right of way, and it doesn’t matter who came first, who’s going where, it’s always the smaller boat yields the right of way.

Because basically if I’m in a ten foot kayak and there’s a thirty foot power boat coming at me, there’s a good chance the power boat can’t see me, or that they can’t move in time if they do see me, so I want to watch out for my safety and stay out of their way.

Like I said, rule of thumb, you’re in the smallest boat, it’s your job to stay out of their way. Think about it like being on the highway in a Volkswagen and having a semi comes up behind you. Whose problem is it? It’s yours, you want to be careful and you want to watch out for your own safety.