Western Australia has an extensive coastline and paddling is an integral part of how we use it. Recreational kayak fishing, ocean paddling events, surf life saving events, adventure racing and much more all can be considered extreme. How extreme often depends on the chosen paddling environments, paddling route and each individual’s capability and preparedness to paddle in certain environments and conditions.
Many organisations and individuals have documented or published material relating to safe ocean paddling practices. The Department of Sport and Recreation in conjunction with Surf Life Saving WA and Canoeing WA have developed the Ocean Paddling – Be Safe programme to ensure safe, ocean paddling along our West Australian coastline.
The ‘Ocean Paddling – Be Safe’ programme is designed to guide safe participation, management and organisation of recreational ocean paddling.
A framework has been developed to enable paddlers to think about what approach they should take to ensure safe ocean paddling practices. When the framework is applied informed decisions can be made about safe ocean paddling practices relevant to the paddling activity you are participating in. The framework is outcomes based and is supported by guidelines not rules or law. It allows for every individual to take away what they need in order to be safe when ocean paddling.
The ‘Be Safe’ framework for ocean paddling safety is supported by key pillars:
- General and Safety Equipment
- Competency and Capability
- Environment & Climate
- Individual Behaviour
- Individual Awareness
So make sure every time you go out paddling – whether on your own, in a group, doing a race or at a club – Be Safe.