top of page

Prepare a Paddling Plan

Your Kayak or Canoe Trip Can be More Fun if You Plan Ahead for the Natural Elements

Skipping rocks

Plan on getting Wet!

Early  summer weather calls for light layers of quick drying, synthetic tops and bottoms. Cotton does not dry quickly and is not suitable for cloudy, cool, wet conditions.  A water and wind proof shell should also be readily available.

Preferred footwear includes old sneakers, secure sandals, or watershoes.  No flip-flops, loafers, or bare feet -- broken glass and other sharp objects are a constant threat. Never wear hip boots in your boat.

Spring and fall paddlers should consider wool or fleece socks, or neoprene booties. Don’t forget a warm hat.

Avoid using perfumes, colognes, and other “sweet” scents -- mosquitoes and biting flies love them as much as you do! 

Poison Ivy is VERY prevalent along the river corridor. Know how to identify it. If you do make contact, rinse well with water directly after exposure or, use an outdoor skin cleanser. 



Day Trip - Must have:

• Water (min.- 1 gal. per person/day)

• Personal Floation Device (each)

• Sunglasses ź Alarm whistle 

• Eyewear retainer (strap)

• Hat with brim for sun protection

• Boating Shoes (old Tennis shoes)

• Waterproof Sunblock

• Swimsuit & towel

• Change of clothing

•  Foul weather gear

• Insect repellent /Anti-itch cream

• Poison Ivy treatment

• First aid kit

• Extra glasses / contacts

• Trash bag ź Toilet Tissue

Day Trip, Optional:

• Additional Beverages

• Sturdy cooler with secure lid and ice

• Dry bags  ź Matches/lighter

• Fishing tackle, bait and license

• Camera  (waterproofed)

• Binoculars (waterproofed)

• Cellphone (in waterproof case)

• Dry change of clothing/shoes

Poison Ivy
solo kayaking

Kayak and Canoe Paddling Tips and Safety Guidelines 

  • Wear your life jacket.

  • Expect to get wet and wear appropriate quick-dry clothing.

  • Be prepared to swim.

  • Dress for the weather conditions.

  • Scout ahead in unfamiliar waters.

  • Avoid boating alone.

  • Leave a float plan and let them know when you return safely.

  • If you capsize, hold onto your boat on the upstream side.

  • Wear tennis shoes or wading shoes with wool, polypropylene, pile or neoprene socks.  Not flip-flops.

  • Never attempt to navigate over low-head dams.

  • Portage your boat around sections you feel are uncertain for you level of skill.

  • Never tie a rope to youself and your boat.

  • Kneel to increase stability in rough waters.

  • If you collide with obstacle, lean into it to avoid capsizing.

  • Never boat under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances.

  • Wear a whistle to alert others of your location.

In Pennsylvania, all unpowered water vessels must have some means of making an efficient oral or mechanical sound that could be heard by another vessel operator in time to avoid collision.


It is illegal in Pennsylvania to drink alcohol or be under the influence while operating a boat, even a non-motorized one. You can be charged with boating under the influence (BUI), Fined, and up to 60 days in jail.


Saving Yourself From a Painful Sunburn While Kayaking and Canoeing

Sunburn in a canoe

Avoid This!

Good times can be ruined by a bad case of sunburn. Here are a few tips to help you steer clear of those painful blisters.


Wear a Hat

Although it is not the most beneficial strategy to use for the prevention of sunburn (when it is used alone), wearing a hat is a great start. Along with keeping the sun out of your eyes, protecting your vision, a good wide-brimmed hat can keep the sun from the skin on your face and neck.

Cover Up

This is a tricky tip due to the fact that covering up too much can lead to obvious discomfort in the form of excessive heat. However, find a way to cover your body in thin, loose-fitting clothing so that large areas of your skin will not be exposed to the sun.

Wear Light Clothing

When you are deciding what to pack for your stay here, we recommend you choose light colored clothing. That recommendation especially stands for those who are planning on spending a large number of their time in the sun while they are here. The reason for this is because darker colors absorb more sunlight than lighter ones and will nonetheless attract more heat.

Apply Sunscreen

Applying sunscreen is one of the most popular forms of protection from the sun and its harmful UVA and UVB damage. Unfortunately, many people either do not use it, use too little, or do not reapply often enough. You should always apply sunscreen before going outdoors while reapply regularly.

Make sure that you are using AT LEAST SPF 15. The higher the SPF the more protection it contains. Lastly, make sure to check the expiration date.

Avoid Alcoholic Beverages

One thing that all drinkers are responsible for is the awareness of their own hydration. In case you did not know, alcohol consumption dehydrates the body. Because there is a lack of fluid in the system while drinking, drinkers are much more prone to sunburn. With that being said,

Polarizing Sunglasses

Make sure you protect your eyes from the reflection of the sun on the water surrounding you. Sunglasses with a minimum SPF 3 with polarising lenses filter reflected light more as well as providing greater visual comfort.

Polarized lenses

Owners of unpowered boats can launch their boats at Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) lakes and access areas if their boats display a PFBC launch use permit, OR boat registration OR PA state Parks launch permit, OR mooring permit. These river access areas are indicated in all River Fun Guides offered for sale on this website.

bottom of page