As the paddling community continues to grow in staggering numbers, kayaking as a sport is lacking the necessary guidelines and safety procedures to ensure and maintain a climate of safety with access to resources of trained professionals. There is only one Paddle Sports Safety testing program available and although recognized, they are based outside the country; with nothing being provided by any agency and/or organization within the US.
USGS stats state that 152 deaths and 124 injuries relating to 276 casualties that occurred in 2016 from paddle craft alone. Add another 509 drownings, 82 of which had some sort of life preserver, leaving the remaining balance of 404 that were not wearing anything at all. These numbers are from 2016 alone and compared to total deaths of 2495 from 2006 – 2013; all stemming from some sort of paddle craft accident.
All these numbers compare to only 783 fatalities within the whitewater paddling community spanning from 1975-2011. We feel this is mostly in part due to lack of education.
Unquestionably as the number of individuals entering the water ways each day (as seen below), without any instruction whatsoever, these numbers will only increase.
Personal Floatation Devices (PFD) are still consider an afterthought as it is reported that only 21% of all adults wear their PFD’s while boating, and are more often used as seat cushions or backrest. Above all hazards, capsizing is the number one reason why people drown when participating in paddlesports activities.
Why do we need your help?
We need to bring awareness to the paddling community through education and suggested requirements involving standardized paddlesports safety protocols. Our goal is to provide succinct safety information at the time of purchase and/or registration (where required) of any paddle craft throughout the US. To do this, it must start at the source by enlisting the help of all manufacturers, retailers and registration issuing agency, to comply.
We can’t do it without YOU!
By donating to the American Kayaking Association, you’re helping save lives.