Careful planning and appropriate equipment, together with adequate boating skills, are the best guarantee of a successful canoe, rowing and fishing trip. A good trip plan is one that can be adapted to possible changes in the conditions. The following instructions are applicable for the planning of both short and longer trips.
• Reasonable competence in swimming is the best safety measure. However, always wear a buoyancy aid or life jacket that complies with official safety standards.
• Paddle or row as a group whenever possible.
• Always plan and conduct your trip to suit the level of your skill, fitness and experience. Paddling as a group should always be adjusted to the pace of the weakest member of the group. Before setting off, it is important to inform somebody about your destination or route plan as well as about changes in the plan.
• Anticipate the weather conditions on your route. Keep an eye on changes in the weather conditions and change your route if necessary. Always go ashore if the conditions turn threatening.
• Minimize the element of risk when planning your route.
• Avoid windy open stretches of lake and stay away from shipping channels. Portage the rapids overland, unless you have the adequate skill and equipment to shoot them. Study the various route options in advance.
• Learn to find your way with a map and compass as routes are not physically marked on the waterways. Do not paddle or row in the dark.
• Hypothermia is a serious hazard for boaters and canoeists. Be prepared for cold conditions by wearing clothing that is appropriate for the prevailing weather, by taking spare clothes with you and by making sure that your food and liquid intake is sufficient. Check the condition of the canoes, kayaks or boats and other equipment before setting off. Draw up a list of equipment for the trip, taking into account its duration and the weather conditions. Remember that the weather conditions may change.
• Go ashore to take a rest and stretch your legs often enough because over-tiredness increases the risk of an accident. On longer treks it is a good idea to include days off paddling or rowing in the schedule for resting and exploring the surroundings.
• Plan your trip according to how much time per day you intend to spend paddling. For holidaymakers, around six hours of paddling or rowing per day is recommended. Average daily distances of 10-16 km are suitable for novices paddling an open canoe on lakes; while more experienced canoeists can cover longer distances. The touring speed by kayak, which is faster, is about 5 km per hour.
In case of an emergency, CALL 112 and say: Who you are Where you are calling from, What has happened. Do not hang up!
• walk, ski or cycle freely in the countryside, except in gardens, in the immediate vicinity of people's homes, and in fields and plantations which could easily be damaged
• stay or set up camp temporarily in the countryside, a reasonable distance from homes
• pick wild berries, mushrooms and flowers, as long as they are not protected species fish with a rod and line
• row, sailor use a motorboat on waterways, with certain restrictions; swim or wash in inland waters and the sea
• walk, ski and fish on frozen lakes, rivers and the sea
• disturb other people or damage property
• disturb breeding birds, or their nests or young
• disturb reindeer or game animals
• cut down or damage living trees, or collect wood, moss or lichen on other people's property
• light open fires on other people's property, except in an emergency
• disturb the privacy of people's homes, by camping too near them, or making too much noise, for example
• leave litter
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