The use of inflatable Canoes, Kayaks and Stand Up Paddle-Boards is becoming increasingly more popular country wide and the rivers Crouch and Roach are amongst the many interesting and scenic waters to be explored and enjoyed using these type of craft.
As with all types of waterborne activity always consider safety first, take all steps to ensure that you and those accompanying you remember your day out for the right reasons and you remain safe and unharmed.
Below is listed some general information and some more specific data pertinent to the rivers Crouch and Roach which fall under the jurisdiction of the Crouch Harbour Authority.
• Maintain and inspect your craft on every occasion before setting out, inflate it correctly and pack a manual pump.
• Wear suitable clothing for all seasons, including sun protection. Also remember that it is always colder on the water than on land.
• Always get a Weather Forecast and check wind speed before going out onto the water. When the wind is from the North remember that it is usually stronger and colder than from the West. On the River Crouch Easterlies and Westerlies are also strong because there are no obstacles to weaken them. Wind against tide will produce waves and choppy conditions. Conditions can and often change rapidly. If in doubt do not venture afloat.
• Tell someone ashore where you are going and what time you expect to return. If possible, take a means of communication with you [mobile phone or VHF radio]
Wear a personal floatation device or Life-Jacket with a whistle, a useful means of calling for help. Wear a SUP Leash. Even if you are a good swimmer, the river can be very fast moving and there can be undercurrents.
If you fall in the water you may be injured or rendered unconscious. The leash will ensure that you are never far from your SUP Board. This will enable you to pull the board towards yourself and also make you more visible in the water. Make sure that your Buoyancy Aid fits you well and that zips and straps are done up
SUP’s Rules of the Road/Hazards
SUPs and Kayaks are classed as powered vessels and should give way to sail and not impede their progress. Keep near to the bank when paddling, the main centre channel is used by larger powered vessels. If you are on a collision course with another boat and it is safe to do so, it is usual to pass so the other boat is on your left as you pass.
Be aware at all times when you are on the water and keep looking around you.
• Never go out wearing headphones.
• Give mooring buoys a wide berth.
• Cruisers on moorings can swing round, especially in strong winds or tides.
• Keep looking out for powerboats, so that you can anticipate their wake. They are meant to slow down, but it doesn’t mean that they always do!
• Always steer into their wake, don’t let it hit you side on.
• Give a wide berth to people fishing on boats or river banks.
• If you are paddling in narrow, shallower waters, such as the other side of the weir in Battlesbridge, look out for overhanging branches and tree roots in the water.
Remember that when the water rises or goes down you may not be able to get over or under these.
Cold Water Shock
If you do fall into the water, the cold water will be a shock to your body initially:
- You will gasp for air, then breathe rapidly.
• It will reduce your ability to hold your breath to a few seconds, so protect your mouth and airways.
• Your heart will be working harder, so don’t try and swim, just relax.
• These effects will be at their worst in the first 30 seconds but will have gone within 3 minutes.
• Know where you are going, have a map or chart.
• Pay particular attention to the direction of the tide not just when you set off but decide if it is likely to change whilst you are out. Remember the current and velocity is not only different by location but varies considerably during the period between high water and low water.
• KEEP A GOOD LOOKOUT AT ALL TIMES – NEVER ASSUME THAT PERSONS ON ANOTHER VESSEL HAVE SEEN YOU AND WILL STAY CLEAR.
• Be aware of the wash created by other vessels underway in your vicinity.
• It is strongly recommended that you stay close to the shore-line and do not encroach into the shipping fairway and main navigation channel.
• Enjoy the wonderful wildlife our rivers have to offer but do not disturb or intrude unnecessarily into their habitat.
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