How to Shuttle Kayaks, Canoes & People with Social Distance in Mind

Canoeing family with Bending Branches paddle
(photo courtesy of @brooke.w.jackson and @henry_jackson)

We’re dying to get out on the water after weeks of quarantine…but still want to practice safe social distancing. How do we do that?

Paddling is a Wonderful Way to Social Distance Socially!

One of the most basic human needs is to be with other humans. Especially when we’ve been forced to keep apart. Thankfully, it’s very easy to canoe, kayak or kayak fish with others while keeping a safe distance apart.

When we’re on the water, not only are we outside, we’re active. Both of these give our immune system and mental outlook on life a huge boost. All of us can use some encouragement right about now!

Keeping a 6-foot distance from each other is pretty much built in to paddle sports, given the size of our boats and the length of our paddles.

COVID-19 is Mainly Spread Person-to-Person

The CDC (Center for Disease Control in the US) released a statement in late May that COVID-19 is mainly spread through person-to-person contact. Their research has found very few have caught the virus by touching surfaces.

So while we still take care to wash our hands, wipe down surfaces and practice other general cleanliness, we don’t have to be overly fearful.

One simple practice is for you to handle your gear and your buddy to handle his or her gear. That way any problem germs stay contained.

The Benefits Can Outweigh the Risks

For anyone who’s active outside and on the water, we’ve been comfortable with a certain amount of risk in our lives. For that matter, getting out of bed every day involves some risk!

We live our lives weighing the benefits of everything we do against risk. Only you can decide if it’s worth it to you to continue paddling with this virus out there. But here are some benefits paddling gives you:

  • Improved immune system (which, after all, battles all viruses)
  • Strong core muscles with low-impact on joints
  • Improved mood, more creativity and sunnier outlook on life
  • Chance to focus on something besides the chaos in the world
  • Time with friends and family with relatively low risk
kayak angler ready for the water
(photo courtesy of @pj.fishes)

Social Distancing Practices May Vary

If you plan to paddle with members of your household, there’s no socially distancing needed. You already live together. Just go have fun!

When you want to canoe, kayak or kayak fish with those who aren’t in your household,
it doesn’t have to be complicated either. Simply choose a local spot and meet there rather than carpooling. Then, as already mentioned, each one handle your own gear and launch one at a time.

It’s even possible to share a canoe and keep your distance. After all, there’s several feet of space between the front seat and the back.

When You Need to Rent from an Outfitter

Paddle sports outfitters or retailers that are open and ready to serve you already have their COVID-19 policies in place. While they’ve most likely changed many things about their usual operation, they’ve been creative about how they can still do business.

Most of these places have updated their website home page or social media channels so you’ll know what to expect. If you’re not sure, call them.

The bottom line: Don’t let fear of a virus stop you from getting on the water! It’s very possible to do it safely.  

Do you have a question this article didn’t cover? Contact our Wisconsin-based Customer Service team today: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]

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