Stay Safe Paddling with These Top Tips


Nothing brings out paddlers like warm temperatures and fresh spring air.

Those enjoying Nebraska’s water bodies and water trails through May are urged to be cautious as air temperatures are rising, but the water is still cold and can be dangerous.

To stay safe, follow these Nebraska Game and Parks safety tips for paddlers:

  • There’s safety in numbers, so paddle with a friend or friends.
  • Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return home.
  • Watch the weather forecast; it can change quickly.
  • Be prepared; wear appropriate clothing for the water temperature.
  • Keep your phone and other essential supplies, such as a map and first-aid kit, in a waterproof case or bag. Attach it to your vessel in case you capsize.
  • Beware when paddling rising waters where otherwise visible obstacles may be hidden.
  • Know your physical limits and skill level, and don’t overdo it.
  • Avoid alcohol and drink plenty of water instead.

Game and Parks also reminds paddlers that every kayak or canoe on the state’s waters must have one U.S. Coast Guard-approved lifejacket of suitable size and readily accessible for each person on board. Each child on board age 12 and under must wear a properly sized lifejacket, as do paddleboard users of all ages.

For information on Nebraska water trails or to report your experience of a recent trip, visit; search “water trails.”