What Should You Do When Approaching A Low-Head Dam In A Canoe Or Kayak?

What Should You Do When Approaching A Low Head Dam In Kayak Or Canoe?

What Should You Do When Approaching A Low Head Dam In Kayak Or Canoe? Canoeing and kayaking are among the foremost fun water sports that are getting more popular than ever. While these activities are beneficial during a number of the way, they will be dangerous if you do not follow the required safety measures.

One of the foremost dangerous situations you’ll encounter while kayaking is encountering low-lying prey. The amount of deaths is increasing dramatically, especially now that these outdoor activities are a stress reliever for several folks.

With that said, we are here to speak to you about how you’ll handle this particular situation in order that you’ll have a pleasant time within the water and also stay safe.

Low-head Dam Dangers

Low-rise dams are man-made structures and usually run the complete width of the river. Its purpose is to boost water levels to enhance the water system within the area.

But for kayakers, there’s just one definition for these low-rise dams, they’re monstrous drowning machines.

Safety Tips For Kayaking

Still, if you need even much clearer reasons why you should avoid a low head dam, then the dangers are as follows:

  • Looking at the small drop and therefore the smooth flowing water doesn’t give the slightest indication of how dangerous the force of the water underneath is often. The force of the water is enough to tug you down.
  • You may be the strongest swimmer or kayaker, but there’s no way you’ll withstand the force of the Himalayas!
  • Debris, like branches, will seem so overwhelming regardless of how strong you’re. you’ll be constantly sucked and shot.
  • As the water flows over the dams, the flow creates a mechanism. it’s strong enough to tug any object near the surface towards the prey. Therefore, it’s an informed assumption that your kayak is going to be pulled into the prey, keeping you trapped against the prey.
  • Incoming water over the dam will drag you and your kayak underwater, making your escape difficult.

Low-Head Dam Dangers: What to Do If You Are In A Kayak?

If you come up against one among these low-lying dams while boating or kayaking on the river, don’t panic. Here are some things you can do to avoid fatal accidents.

1. Look Out!

Be on the lookout for a low-head dam. Albeit most of those dams aren’t marked, you’ll be lucky enough to note a warning sign or recognize the change in water pressure.

2. Paddle Away

Once you think that you simply are heading towards a low-lying dam, turn your kayak around and begin getting into the other direction. If possible, paddle to the closest shore or bank of the water. You should exert your efforts to avoid drifting with the current of the damn at all costs. Once you’re out of the water you’ll walk around the dam then return to the water from a safer location.

3. Make A Quick Plan

Finding a route to flee will assist you to handle the situation much faster. it’s essential to stay calm and composed. If you’re unacquainted with the world, you’ll seek help from other paddlers who might know you better.

4. Portage around the dam.

Once you get out of the water you can block the dam with your kayak around. To do this you need to move a reasonable distance from the dam, as the barrier water area can increase a significant distance.

Kayaking and Canoeing Safety: Your Guide to Low Head Dams

Although wearing a PFD won’t do much good in many circumstances, it is best if you’ve got one on anyway. confirm you’re taking a map with you each time you kayak somewhere new.

Also, make certain to see the kayak season map before planning your trips. it’s best to avoid kayaking after heavy rains because increased water pressure makes it harder to flee.

Lastly, whatever you are doing, don’t try to get past these dams. Some kayakers might think they will pull it off, but you ought to remember that you simply are going to be risking your life. it’s more rational to avoid this traumatic experience.


What is A Low Head Dam?

A low-rise dam (also referred to as a run-in dam) may be a man-made structure that generally runs the complete width of a river. Its purpose is to boost water levels to enhance the water system and irrigation within the area. However, the downside to those dams is that they will be particularly dangerous for kayakers, canoeists, and swimmers/bathers.

Low-altitude prey is usually very difficult to identify (making it especially dangerous) because it appears flat from the surface because it approaches. the particular dam is often located a couple of feet below the water’s surface, counting on conditions.

As the water flows over the dam, a mechanism is made (backwash or “boil”). This pulls anything near the surface towards the prey. So potentially your kayak can revisit into the prey after paddling over it, trapping you against the prey.

All the water flowing over the dam can drag you and your kayak underwater, making it very difficult to flee.

Why Are They so Dangerous?

They are not always marked and are even difficult to detect, which makes it more dangerous. They typically appear flat from the surface as you concentrate. Counting on conditions, the particular dam is found a couple of feet below the surface of the water. If you’re during a kayak, it’s particularly difficult to ascertain the water pressure within the area of the dam thanks to its elevation.

According to a search study, there are approximately 2,594 low-rise dams within us that don’t have the specified warning signs.

Final Thoughts

However, crossing a low-lying prey is horrifying, with a keen eye, and if you already know what to try to if you encounter one, the likelihood is that you will get over it. Take your precautions, check your maps, and if you ever find prey low in view, run!

1 thought on “What Should You Do When Approaching A Low Head Dam In Kayak Or Canoe?”

  1. Pingback: Safety Tips For Kayaking – Guide for Beginners - Globo Guide Kayaks

Comments are closed.