10 tips to get kids into canoeing and kayaking

Ahead of National Go Canoeing Week 2013 brush-up on your water safety and paddling skills so you and the family can take to the water

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From Saturday 18th to Sunday 26th May 400 canoe and kayak clubs and centers across the country will be celebrating National Go Canoeing Week 2013.

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All abilities are catered for with starter sessions, guided tours and, for the paddle-savvy, there’s canoe trails to try out. Visit the website to find out about events near you and check out our top 10 tips to make your day go swimmingly…

  1. Paddle as a family to help kids get used to the water. A 16-foot Canadian canoe can fit two adults, two small children, a dog and even a picnic, so it’s a great way to overcome any first-trip nerves. Just make sure you can control the boat – so have a go without the whole family in it first.
  2. Wear the right clothes. Make sure everyone is wearing a life jacket, helmet, shoes, layers and sunglasses. Pop on some sun cream before you head out, too. You can store extra layers in the canoe, too.
  3. Choose the right route for your family. As a rule-of-thumb, your kids can paddle as far as they can walk, so scope out the best route before you head off.
  4. Pack essentials such as a mobile phone (it’s a good idea to put this in a waterproof bag), first aid kit, waterproof jacket, water and snacks incase you do wander a bit further than planned.
  5. Once you’re out on the water, keep away from wildlife and their nests and try not to crash into the banks, which can damage vegetation.
  6. Don’t paddle alone and if you decide not to join a guided tour, make sure the club or center know where you’re going and when you’re planning to return.
  7. Check the weather before you set off so you’re not caught off-guard.
  8. Contact your local center to find out the minimum age requirement to take part in starter sessions, guided tours or self-guided tours.
  9. If your kids really are unsure, pop along and watch a session ahead of Go Canoeing Week to get them used to the idea and the surroundings.
  10. Don’t be put off if you’ve never canoed before – the idea is to get people of all abilities on the water.
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Find out more about National Go Canoeing Week 2013, how you can get involved and more about your local centers on the website.

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