Safety Tips for Paddlers
PADDLEFEST PADDLER SAFETY INFORMATION
1. The Ohio River Paddlefest is CLOSED to all non-affiliated powered boat traffic from Coney Island to the Roebling Suspension Bridge until 12 Noon on Saturday, June 22. Any paddlers on the Ohio River after 12 noon are no longer covered under the terms and conditions of 2012 Paddlefest then become a casual kayaker on the river. Paddlefest staff and volunteers will no longer be providing oversight to kayakers on the Ohio River after 12 noon.
2. All Paddlefest participants, working volunteers and staff on or within 10 feet of Coney Island’s Lake Como or the Ohio River are required to wear a Coast Guard approved PFD life vest properly and securely at all times during all Paddlefest lake or river events.
3. No INFLATABLES of any type will be recognized as participating in the Saturday Paddlefest event on the Ohio River.
4. No SWIMMERS will be recognized as participating in the Paddlefest event on the Ohio River.
5. Paddlefest participants in the Ohio River Paddle must have a whistle as part of their gear to alert others should assistance be needed. Most PFDs (life jackets) have a whistle affixed inside a pocket. A horn may also allowed to be used to gain emergency attention.
6. Paddlefest participants needing emergency assistance on the river can; (A) call a special cell phone number to be provided at event; (B) blow any type whistle or horn to seek attention; (C) look for and alert any of the powered safety boats or kayaking safety water marshals wearing bright vests.
7. Paddlefest participants, when seeking aid, needing help and if capable, should try to land on the Ohio shore as assistance can be provided more easily on the Ohio shore. However, if needed, any shoreline may be used.
8. In case of any emergency situation, Paddlefest participants, staff and volunteers will use the public 911 system by dialing 911 on their cell phones. It is important to identify the emergency location as specifically as possible and tell the 911 operator what shoreline the emergency can be reached easiest. If possible, contact Paddlefest staff or volunteers of the emergency after the 911 call is placed for help.
9. All Paddlefest participants are encouraged to look out for one another and report any unsafe or emergency situation to Paddlefest staff or volunteers as soon as possible. Should a situation on the water lead to injury, mishap or is life threatening do not hesitate to call 911.
10. All International Waterway, Federal, State and local waterway laws apply to Paddlefest participants on the Ohio River. Please ensure you are aware of these rules and regulations by visiting http://www.uscgboating.org/.
11. All Paddlefest participants must sign a liability waiver before paddling in the Saturday Ohio River paddle event. Any participant not signing the waiver will not be considered to be officially registered to participate in the 2012 Ohio River Paddlefest event.
12. Paddlers on the Ohio River during the Saturday Paddlefest event that did not register with Paddlefest or start the event at the Coney Island put-in point will not be considered as Paddlefest participants or subject to the insurance coverage of terms and/or conditions of participating in the 2012 Ohio River Paddlefest event.
13. 2012 Paddlefest participants, staff and volunteers should never put themselves into situations that are beyond the scope and capabilities of their equipment, health, physical capacity, experience, skill level or expertise that would jeopardize their personal safety or security or that of others.
TIPS FOR PADDLERS
Thank you for paddling with us. Water sports and activities can provide pleasure, relaxation and good times but can also be very unforgiving by making simple mistakes or not planning properly. Paddlefest Staff and volunteers work hard to make your time with us the safest it can be but we need everyone’s participation. To make your experience with us the best it can be, please read and abide by the following.
1. All personnel will be required to wear Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices (PFDs) whenever near the water.
2. These devices must be worn properly and securely at all times when in or near the water.
3. No one will be allowed to participate in Paddlefest if they appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
4. Paddlesfest volunteers and staff are available throughout the event identified by a volunteer T-shirts or wearing bright yellow vests paddling on the river.
5. Before signing up for Paddlesfest events, please consider your medical and physical condition and limitations. Paddling is fun but it is also strenuous exercise. Paddling time between Coney and downtown Cincinnati is roughly 2 hours. Consult your physician if you have medical conditions.
6. Special needs participants are welcomed. We ask that those needing special assistance to please contact event staff prior to the event so that we can make accommodations for any special needs.
7. During the Ohio River paddling event, the river will be open from shore to shore with powered safety boats and safety spotters among the flotilla.
8. If possible in case of any emergency, participants should try to get to the Ohio shoreline as the Kentucky shoreline is mostly trees and rural without easy access. Safety staff will be watching both shorelines.
9. Personnel needing assistance on the river should try to get the attention of the safety spotters (wearing red vests) or any of the powered boats. This can be done by blowing a whistle, waving arms or paddle. Many PFDs come with a whistle attached to a cord in one of the pockets.
10. When wading or swimming in the river, be aware of underwater obstructions, sharp objects or slick shorelines.
11. If your vessel capsizes, safety spotters and safety boats will assist but it is best to re-enter your vessel by getting to the shore first. It takes experienced kayaker skills to reenter kayaks or canoes while still in the water.
12. If you have children in your group, please watch over them and provide guidance in observing water safety rules.
13. When getting out at the Cincinnati Public Landing, watch for slick and wet concrete surfaces to include the cobblestones.
14. Here are some good things to bring along during your river paddle to make the event safer and more enjoyable:
a. Coast Guard Approved personal protection device (PFD). Commonly referred to as a life jacket or vest. If not rented, bring your own. Mandatory!
b. A water-proof whistle on a lanyard
c. A hat with brim to cover eyes, nose and ears. Hats with lanyards to keep on your head are a good idea!
d. Sunglasses with lanyard attached to prevent fall-offs
e. Water-proof plastic storage bags (zip-lock baggies are best) for cameras, cell phones, wallet, etc.
f. Sunblock lotion or cream.
g. Water resistant footwear for water activities. Thick soles and ankle supporting are best.
h. Dress for hot weather such as light colors or wicking material clothing.
i. A towel stored in a water-proof bag to keep dry.
j. Energy snacks (don’t forget the cheese coneys at the finish line).
k. Lastly, it is always just good planning sense to have personal identification on one self. A driver’s license is good enough. If you or a participating family member have a special medical need, ensure that information is also available such as a medic-alert tag.