What should you do when Approaching a Low-head Dam in a Canoe or Kayak
Did you know what low-head dams are called? Machines drown! You have a good probability of drowning if you reach a low-head dam in a kayak or canoe. As you can also see on there, “Please keep off the dam” warnings will be posted.
Don’t attempt to be a strong guy by brute-forcing your way through everything. Dams are quite dangerous. Rivers provide some of the most amazing canoeing experiences, but it’s important to remember that flowing water, especially slow-moving water, is a powerful force.
So, before you put your canoe into a moving river, you should fully understand what should you do when approaching a low-head dam in a canoe or kayak and how to avoid them. To begin with, rivers alter greatly from season to season, and sometimes even week to week.
Unless you have extensive knowledge of a river, the best part to do is complete some online research and consult a local outfitter. It’s also important to keep an eye out for any danger signs and, most importantly, swim with people who are familiar with the river.
A comprehensive guide on what should you do when approaching a low-head dam in a canoe or kayak?
1. What Is So Dangerous About A Low-Head Dam?
Low-head dams are among the most prevalent unnatural hazards on certain flowing rivers. In reality, while low-head barriers seem to be safe, they have already been accountable for a regrettable amount of deaths throughout the years.
The truth is that a powerful recirculation flow always exists at the bottom of low-head dams that should be protected at all costs.
A low-head dam is a man-made construction that raises the water level in a river. A low-head dam is difficult to notice since it spans the whole width of the river and creates a perfectly consistent drop.
These dams increase water supply and improve cultivation. Overall, these low-head dams are necessary. The pressure at the end of the fall, though, is what makes them so dangerous.
When canoeists, kayakers, and even experienced swimmers attempt to cross these dams, they usually find themselves in serious danger. They are not always difficult to notice, but they also make measuring the depth challenging when swimming or kayaking.
2. When Reaching A Low-Head Dam, What Should You Do?
Assume you’re paddling along on your kayak, having a fine time. Suddenly, you notice something unexpected. At first, it looked to be a quiet flat river surface, but it quickly turned into a waterfall. Basically, it’s a mini version.
Suddenly, a red sign warns of a low-head dam ahead. You must act quickly because time is running out, and you are approaching the deadline. Here are some options for dealing with the circumstance.
- Take a step out of your kayak.
- Stay away from the dam.
- Take over the entire it on foot.
So, what will you do when you’re nearing a low-head dam? The only viable response is to avoid it entirely. Start paddling beyond the dam’s boiling point while keeping a safe distance. Do not go any further once you see the warning sign.
Cross the dam on foot by paddling your boat over to the nearest bank. You have no choice but to walk from around the dam. You’ve probably seen experienced canoeists and kayakers take on all these low-head dams head-on.
The last piece of advice is not to panic if you come upon a low-head dam. It might just be a weekend, and you’ve secured your kayak in the truck bed for the duration of your vacation. If the river has a low-head dam, the pleasure may change to tragedy. Paddle across to the closest shore or bank as quickly as you spot evidence of an impending dam.
It is always a good idea to go with someone who knows what they’re doing. Also, we have summarized on what should you do when approaching a low-head dam in a canoe or kayak.
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