Tips and Techniques
Is the trail ok for beginners, kids and the elderly?
Yes. Lee County’s waterways are an average of 4 feet deep; most of the Great Calusa Blueway is protected from wind, and none of it is in the Gulf.
Will I need to know how to roll over in my kayak like you see on tv?
Eskimo rolls are not a necessary skill in Lee County’s calm waters.
Aren’t kayaks tippy?
Kayaks are made to keep your center of gravity low in the boat. Today’s kayaks are manufactured to be very stable.
Will I feel trapped in a kayak?
In addition to “sit-in” kayaks, many outfitters and parks offer “sit-on-top” kayaks that alleviate such feelings. Kayak anglers in particular like sit-on-tops so they can readily access their gear and easily get in and out to wade fish.
What if I capsize?
Stand up. Average water depth is 4 feet. It’s easy to get back into a canoe or kayak. Please always paddle with shoes on to avoid injuries from oyster bars or shells.
What are some safety recommendations?
State law requires you have aboard a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device; it must be readily accessible. Life vests must be worn by all paddlers under age 6. The Great Calusa Blueway and Lee County Parks & Recreation recommend paddlers always wear life vests.
Take along water, an extra paddle if available, line for the bow or stern, first-aid kit, whistle, flashlight, insect repellant, sunglasses, sunscreen, cell phone, water shoes and a map or chart.
Safety and navigation tips can be found on the inside flap of your trail maps. Among them are:
- Select a route that suits your ability.
- Check tides and wind; paddle with them.
- Keep an eye to the sky and be aware of changing weather.
- Leave a note with family, friends or your hotel about where you’re going and when you expect to return. Avoid paddling alone.
- Be cautious of changing currents around passes.
- Wear a life vest and carry a whistle and cell phone.
- Bring a flashlight for moonlight/sunset paddles. Point your bow into approaching powerboat wakes. Don’t assume powerboaters can see you.
- Don’t drink alcohol and paddle.
- Avoid inadvertently harassing wildlife; stay a distance away from nests and don’t chase sea mammals; listen and watch for signs of distress.