If you enjoy the night sky on the beach, you’ll probably like it better while paddling on the sea. The cool night air ruffling your hair, the salty smell of the sea or lake, as the case maybe, exhilarating isn’t it especially after we all have been stuck inside our homes for months. Then there is the added incentive of watching the different marine species that come out only in the dark.
Here are a few things that you need to take into account before you embark on your nightly adventures:
Proper Location: You always need to keep your safety at the top of your list of priorities and thus, the best shall always be a calm lake, bay or a harbor. The ocean might not be the best option as there might be issues regarding visibility. You’ll also do well to check regulations because some locations have hourly restrictions.
Plan ahead: Plan the route ahead of time and let someone know your expected return time and let them pick you up at a given destination. Try to look for a place where you can pack your car or can easily get back to it via a bus or a train. When considering the route, always paddle with the wind at all times, otherwise you risk battling upwind on your expedition return. If you need to return to the same place, use islands whenever possible; they can easily provide wind cover.
Pack Smart: If you’re planning to paddle at night you need to bring all that might be needed for such an expedition! In case you’re planning an overnight expedition, it is recommended that you pack lighter things in a dry backpack, the clothes and sleeping bag. Don’t forget a real life vest, a head torch, some insect repellent, some personal medication and a spare set of underwear. Consider watches you can easily read in low light, otherwise, with all the fun that comes with evening paddling; you may lose track of time.
Bring a friend along: Better than going alone, why not persuade a friend to come along? You’ll be able to support each other when undertaking this amazing activity and can have a backup in case of emergency.
Get a ‘Good’ Paddle: The type of paddle you will use during your evening paddling can make a big difference in your stand up paddling experience. Many rental companies use the Alloy paddle, which by the industry standard is indestructible, but, they are heavy and do not have flex. It is always better to consider carbon fiber paddles, they are lighter and offer more flex.
Lights: The U.S coast guards require that any water vessel abides by the safety regulation and this means having a light when paddling at night. So, carry a flashlight or a lantern onboard with white light. The light should be shown to the approaching vessels and not continuously displayed. This prevents collision with other water vessels. Adding a light under your board could also be a runway of attracting marine species which could be fun to watch. You should not however, display too much light which could impair the night vision of others whom you may be sharing the water. For this reason, high-intensity lights are highly discouraged. Do not also create confusing lights or colors which may be interpreted differently by other paddlers of boaters. The U.S coast guard also requires night paddles to have a PFD, as well as a sound producing device on the vessel. It is also advised that you wear a leash.
Consider a tour: If you are not used to paddling at night, or are new to paddling or don’t have proper gear then it is always better to consider glow tours that you can take advantage of from shops, resorts, and hotels. Some of these tours have certified equipment as well as trained guides. So, you’ll be in safe hands and also be able to have fun!
Go on then, grab a friend and of course the right equipment and set off on your excellent, one of a kind nightly adventure.