Resources

Safety

For safe paddling in the Long Point area, it is necessary to be mindful of several considerations:

  • Paddle with friends. Only very experienced paddlers (with a failsafe roll, strong knowledge of several self-rescue techniques, and trustworthy navigation skills) should paddle alone in the Thousand Islands. Group paddling is strongly recommended; to create a safer paddling scenario where partners can assist in navigation, capsize events or first aid situations.
  • Watch for other vessels. The Inner Bay of Lake Erie is a busy place full of recreational motor craft, sailboats, and commercial touring boats.
  • Watch for rocks. The hundreds of submerged shoals in the river shouldn't provide too much difficulty for paddlers. In fact these areas are often clear of all other type of vessel and can usually be navigated by paddle. However, be weary of shoals when high winds gather large waves that can break in an erratic manner on shoals.
  • Beware strong currents.  Paddlers should avoid paddling directly through areas with strong currents, and should rather stay near shore to minimize the risk of being capsized.
  • Respect stormy weather. Storms brew very quickly over Lake Erie. If it looks like weather approaching, it will very likely arrive before you expect it. Have a map case on deck, and be aware of your location on the water at all times so that you can quickly determine the best location to land and the fastest route to it. Emergency landings ashore or on the islands should be made on public lands, but in cases of grave danger do what is necessary to be safe.
  • Stay warm. Cold and wet is a dangerous combination in any wilderness situation. Be sure to be cold weather ready when paddling the river during all seasons. Water temperatures are cold in all months except June-August, and air temperatures can be cool on summer evenings.
  • Stay in touch. When paddling in the area, be sure to carry appropriate communication equipment. A VHF radio is the standard communication device for boaters, but may prove too bulky for paddlers. A cell phone is far more convenient, and is effective for the region has good cellular phone coverage.
  • Be seen. Be visible when you are on the water so that fellow boaters can see you. Use common sense to improve the chances of being quickly seen on the water--wear colourful clothing, use navigation lights in conditions of poor visibility, or paddle as a group. For signalling an emergency, carry a waterproof high-beam flashlight, or better yet at least 3 flares (smoke or fire).
  • Be heard. Three short whistle blasts will signal to others in the immediate vicinity your distress. VHF radio channel 16 is used for EMERGENCY and CALLING purposes only. In case of grave and imminent danger, use channel 16 and repeat MAYDAY three times. When you require assistance but face no immediate danger, use channel 16 and repeat PAN PAN three times. With a cellular phone, dial *16 for the Canadian Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Centre. Give a vessel description, position, nature of problem, and type of assistance required. Contact Marine Search and Rescue (1-800-267-5111) in an emergency situation when a fellow paddler or other boater is missing and presumed overboard.
  • Be safe. The Safe Boating Guide is published by the Canadian Coast Guard. It encourages boaters to manage their own safety by avoiding unnecessary risks and planning each trip with safety in mind. The Guide stresses 5 easy rules, all relevant for paddlers: Buckle Up (your PFD); Drive (Paddle) Sober; Look First; Wear the Gear; Get Trained. Recreational users should consult this publication. It is available free of charge at 1-800-267-6687, http://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca
  • Have the necessary maps. Paddlers should obtain the appropriate navigation charts, topographic maps or NOAA charts for the region. They can be purchased on-line, ordered by telephone, or directly from suppliers (outfitters and marinas) in the Thousand Islands. These should be thoroughly consulted during trip planning, and close at hand while on trip. Notice to Mariners are issued by the Canadian Coast Guard monthly to update and provide important information regarding marine charts and publications. These notices can be obtained at http://www.notmar.gc.ca

Etiquette

  • The Inner Bay of Lake Erie is used by all types of watercraft, from canoe and kayak to pleasure cruiser to ocean freighter. Several rules guide river travel. Primary is the "paddle-sail-power" right of way hierarchy that gives priority to self-propelled craft, then sail-powered, and finally motorized craft. While this rule is in the paddler's favour, it is often forgotten. Be cautious when approaching other craft. Note that this rule does not apply to freighters! (Most tonnage rules) Steer clear of these vessels, and exercise extreme caution.
  • Stay close to shore. To minimize the hazards associated with other watercraft, stay close to shore and away from the recreational boating and shipping channels
  • Cross cautiously and quickly. When the need arises to cross a recreational or shipping channel, do so with caution by checking in all directions for approaching vessels. If the crossing is clear, gather the group to cross the channel in a pod so as to minimize the time necessary for the first and last paddler in the group to make the crossing, keeping a brisk paddling pace.
  • Stay to starboard. If you alter your route in response to an approaching vessel, steer to your right. This is a standard convention that you should assume other vessels will assume in their approach. If both vessels steer to starboard, hazardous collisions will be reduced!
  • Assist in distress. If you happen to be in the vicinity of another in distress, be quick to respond. Ensure that the scene is safe for you to assist. Use your communication equipment to contact the professional response facilities onshore.
  • Be mindful of other people you encounter on the water. The majority of islands in the river are private property, and while many islands owners are happy to say hello and may even welcome you ashore for a friendly chat, please respect their privacy. Also, remember to respect the privacy of other boaters who may be anchored for the evening in a sheltered bay. Give a wide berth as you paddle the channels.

Outfitters and Tour Companies

Grand Experiences Canoe and Kayak Outfitters
http://www.grand-experiences.com/
113 Grand River Street North
Paris, ON N3L 2M4
1-888-258-0441
1-519-442-3654
info@grand-experiences.com

Grand River Rafting Company
http://www.grandriverrafting.ca/
1-519-442-2519
info@grandriverrafting.ca

Long Point Eco-Adventures
www.lpfun.ca
1730 Front Road
St Williams, ON
1-877-743-8687
info@lpfun.ca 

Other Resources

http://www.paddling.net/ - Excellent overall resource for canoeing/kayaking

http://www.northshorestandup.ca/ - 25km stand-up paddle boarding event on the North shore of Lake Erie

© 2017 LPRCA. All Rights Reserved.