Georgia Boater Education Course


CHAPTER 7: Water Activities & The Marine Environment


Canoes and kayaks need to be treated with the same respect as other boats; and many of the same safe boating practices that apply to powerboats also apply to paddlers. In fact, because canoes and kayaks are less stable than other boats, they can be even more dangerous if proper precautions aren’t followed.

Let’s look at some of the areas where paddlers get into trouble on the water and how you can avoid a similar emergency in your canoe or kayak.

A recent study of paddle sport accidents found that:

  • 75% of fatalities took place in canoes rather than kayaks.
  • 83% of victims in fatal canoe accidents were not wearing a lifejacket. So, like with other boats, wearing a lifejacket is your best way to stay safe.
  • 50% of fatal canoe accidents involved someone moving around in the canoe or another weight shift in the boat.
  • 50% of canoe and kayak related fatalities involved someone fishing at the time of the accident.
  • Finally, at least 25% of victims in fatal canoe accidents are believed to have consumed alcohol before the accident.

So, the lessons for canoers and kayakers are: wear a lifejacket, stay stable in the boat, especially when fishing, and never drink and boat.