Five Safety Tips to Remember When Renting a Kayak, Canoe or Paddleboard in Ottawa and Gatineau!

Published: June 29, 2022
Last updated: January 9, 2023
Paddle Board instructor demonstrates how to measure the paddle

 By Abby Dyer

At Locations Escape we believe that Ottawa summers are best spent cycling bike paths and paddling the Ottawa River all while enjoying the picturesque landscapes which are so well known by the residents and visitors of Canada’s Capital City. However, there are certain rules which all participants must follow in order to ensure safe, fun and memorable experiences. Whether you consider yourself a connoisseur of water sports or a beginner looking for some fun in the sun, water safety skills and knowledge are the keys to the variety of activities enjoyed on/in the water!

So, to help our patrons enjoy their activities to the fullest we have compiled a list of 5 Safety Tips to follow while on the Ottawa River!

1. Be Prepared

On the water conditions can seem to change almost instantaneously. A warm sunny day can transform into a high-risk situation in a matter of minutes; this is why it is so important to be prepared for anything, especially on longer excursions.

But how do you prepare yourself for spontaneous weather changes?

At Locations Escape we recommend that our paddlers bring water, sunscreen, snacks, a cell phone, and a spare change of clothes with them when renting a kayak, canoe or paddleboard from us. In regards to specific safety equipment, we equip each of our paddlers with waterproof safety kits containing the necessities to prepare for an on water emergency and a a lifejacker which must be worn at all times when on water.

2. Know Your Surroundings

Locations Escape is located on the shores of the Ottawa River at the gorgeous Jacques-Cartier Park in Gatineau, Quebec. We are very close to the Canadian Museum fo History a few steaps pass Alexandra Bridge. Many of our guests visit Ottawa from out of town or are unfamiliar with water activities on the Ottawa River. For those who are not confident with the river and its quirks, we suggest that you stick close to the shore of the river. This route provides you with sweet on water and off water views.

3. Be Aware of Your Limits

For all paddlers new and experienced it is integral that you understand your own personal limitations. Be sure to take into account the strength of the current and wind as these are factors that can make your paddling experience much harder or easier than expected! Safety and fun are our top priorities when it comes to paddling but neither of these an be properly enjoyed if you push yourself past your limits.

4. Proper Conduct

The Ottawa River is an fantastic spot to experience the sights and the host of historic landmarks such as  Parliment of Canada, Rideau Fall, and Rideau Canal Locks. Because of this, all those who wish to experience the on- water grandeur of this special body must obey certain rules designed to keep all of it’s patrons safe.

  • Always be on the lookout for other boating traffic or potential hazards. Crossing the middle of the river can bring you into conflict with other marine traffic and it makes you more vulnerable to changing weather conditions. Never assume another vessel can see you or that you are able to cross in front of a larger and faster vessel. These larger vessels have the right of way so it is important to keep in mind that smaller boats must yield when their paths cross.

  • Be aware that your vessel is less steady than other larger boats. Therefore, you must be hyper aware of the water conditions (such as large wakes) created by larger boats. If a wave is heading in your direction it is always best to turn your bow into the wave to slice through the wave.

  • When padding at dusk or at night your vessel must display a visible white light to alert other vessels of your presence. Additionally, you must carry a sound device which can be used to alert other boats of your presence. There is a whistle in the safety kit we provide to you when you rent a kayak, canoe or paddleboard in Ottawa from us.

5. Ask Questions:

At Locations Escape, we have knowledgeable and skilled staff who would love to answer any questions, concerns or worries you may have. Our goal is for you to enjoy your time on the water. After all, we all deserve to have a fun and stress free paddling experience!

Hopefully, after reading this post you feel more comfortable and confident participating in any water activity this summer on the Ottawa River. We are so excited about the summer weather and hope to see you at Jaques-Cartier Park to enjoy the beauty of Ottawa with us.

Thinking of going out for kayaking, canoeing or paddleboarding. You can reserve you rental here with us. If you have never paddleboarded before, consider joining one of our intro to paddelbaord classes on Sundays at 9:00 am!

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