Proper Prep for Paddlers

Proper preparation can make the difference between a great experience and an unpleasant one. Please take the time to learn the basics before joining one of our adventures, or renting  our watercraft.

Safety & Education

Smart Start for Paddlers

Produced by the National Safe Boating Council and the American Canoe Association, the Smart Start for Paddlers interactive presentation is targeting kids, but is an outstanding introduction for any newcomer to paddlesports. Make sure to click on the "Popcorn" buttons to open additional information on the numerous topics covered.

Smart Start for Paddlers  

Top Ten Tips for Paddling Safely

The ACA's Top Ten Tips videos are entertaining, and virtually identical – There's one for canoeing or kayaking, and another for stand up paddlers:

Top Ten Tips for Canoeing & Kayaking Safely

Top Ten Tips for Stand Up Paddleboarding Safely

Extra Credit – Earn a $5.00 Coupon!

The free Paddle Safety Course is sanctioned by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) & recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard. Take the course, pass the exam, print and and bring your certificate to receive a $5.00 coupon valid for any services or merchandise offered by Quiet Waters Paddling Adventures!

NASBLA Paddle Safety Course

Proper Clothing, Footwear, and Gear

While the middle Rio Grande is a very mellow, Class I river with few serious challenges at average flows, it is always wise to prepare for the possibility of an unintended swim. People rarely capsize, but it can and does happen, and being prepared for the possibility is just common sense.

Footwear – The most common injuries during river activities are foot injuries, so protect your feet with secure footwear. Sharp rocks and occasional broken glass are potential hazards both along the riverbanks and the riverbed itself. As there's plenty of mud along the Rio Grande's riverbanks, choose footwear that can be thoroughly cleaned or hosed off following your trip. Water shoes, strap-on river sandals or old sneakers are all good choices. Bare feet and flip-flops are not acceptable. If needed, we do have appropriate, high-quality water shoes available at our shop for $15.00 (including tax) in adult sizes, $13.00 in youth sizes.

In the cooler months, wool, acrylic or neoprene socks are a good idea, and neoprene booties are ideal if you have them.

Clothing - Avoid cotton, especially early and late in the season! Layer clothing, using quick-drying synthetics such as polyester, lycra, nylon, neoprene or wool. All of these materials dry fairly quickly and most importantly, continue to provide insulation when wet.

Cooler Weather Considerations – When the combined air and water temperatures are below 130° F, (Typically December through March) we will provide wetsuits and splash wear for additional protection and comfort. Please see our “Cooler Weather Paddling” page for more on paddling in the cooler months: Cooler Weather Paddling

Sun Protection – With 310 days of sunshine and an elevation of nearly a mile, sunglasses and sunscreen are all important. We have good values on these items in our shop.

Cellular Phone – This is a required item for self-guided adventures, and a good option for the guided adventures. A fully charged cell phone allows communication with us while on the river.

Cameras, GPS Devices, Beach Towels, Change of Clothes – If you choose to bring these items, please make sure they are properly protected from moisture. Dry bags (available for purchase) are ideal, but double bagging with heavy garbage bags may work as well.