Duke of Edinburgh Awards Ontario ( 

Starting in 2018 the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and PaddleSmart and teaming up together to support youth in preparing to explore and challenge themselves in the outdoors!  The Ontario branch of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards will be using PaddleSmart and Survive Outside as their base for learning about outdoor safety for those choosing to undertake one of the three award levels of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards!

This a new and expandable partnership geared toward supporting youth and sustainable shared programming between PaddleSmart, the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, Paddle Canada, National Paddling Week.

We hope success will lead to national Expansion in 2019 and be welcomed in up to 140 host countries abroad after that!



PaddleSmart / AdventureSmart




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PaddleSmart Presentations can be requested from

or electronic support materials may be available from PaddleSmart at Paddle Canada or by emailing

Help prepare new paddlers for their next water adventure. Topics of the program include:

  • Trip Planning - Leave the right information with a responsible person
  • Training -Where to seek it and recognize your ability and skills
  • Taking the Essentials - take the basic equipment for every paddlesport activity
  • Alcohol & Paddling - They Do Not Mix. 
  • Hypothermia - Recognize the signs and symptoms and treatment plan

Attend a free PaddleSmart session today!

Find and request one near you by visiting 

Notice to PaddleSmart Presenters: Please report and download any teaching resources and your class certificates all at the Presenters Login Page at

**For Paddle Canada Instructors/Educators/Camps and Associations looking for PaddleSmart information, please contact Dawn Callan at 1-888-252-6292 Ext 12 or at

More About AdventureSmart is a set of national programs designed to reduce the frequency and severity of Search and Rescue incidents. It is both a concept and an umbrella for prevention programs to encourage the general public to “Get informed and go outdoors”. Promoting the fun and outdoor recreation, AdventureSmart balances key safety messages with an individual’s responsibility for safety; encouraging the public to obtain the knowledge, skills, and equipment necessary for them to enjoy their outdoor pursuits. A key component of AdventureSmart is education and training and we offer a continuum of learning opportunities as described below.

Check out for all sorts of outdoor safety and awareness tips and workshops for all ages and environments!


Before setting out on your recreational paddling adventure,  make sure you follow the 3 T’s;

  • know the effects of alcohol and drugs—for your safety and the safety of others, you need to be attentive and responsive;

  • know the signs of hypo- and hyperthermia as well as how to treat it;

  • know how to get help and survive until rescue if an emergency arises.

    Learn More about Water Safety

    PaddleSmart: This presentation is designed for youth and adults who want to paddle, whether it is using stand-up paddleboards, kayaks or canoes. 

    Topics include trip planning, training and taking the essentials for water-based activities. Segments on moving water and coastal water can be added to the presentation depending on location.

    If you are interested in this presentation, check the events page for public presentations near you, or request a presentation to your group.

    Moving Water: Paddling in moving waters poses many challenges, not only on the water but should you be immersed. Before tackling moving water know the river features & hazards, how to avoid them and the universal river signals.

    Coastal Paddling: Paddling in Coastal waters is no easy task and requires a full understanding of everything going around in the waters. Before paddling or in coastal waters, make sure you do the 3 T’s, familiarize yourself with the different types of currents as well as safe wind and weather conditions for the location.

    Before you hit the seas, don’t forget your 3 T’s!


  • Coastal Currents: There are many different types of currents one can encounter. Do research on the types of currents you may experience before paddling on coastal waters.

  • Rip Currents: Rip currents are not undertows. They are a horizontal current and do not pull people under the water—they pull people away from shore.

  • Longshore Currents: Swimmers and paddle craft can be swept down the beach into a variety of hazards.

  • Tidal Bore: Swimmers and paddle craft can be flushed several kilometers out to sea very

    Hypothermia: Recognize the signs and symptoms of hypothermia and hyperthermia and know how to treat both early. Dress for the water, not the weather and ensure you stay hydrated!

    Alerting the SAR system: Different types of electronic devices that are helpful on the waterways. VHF Hand-held Marine Radios are an easy and effective means of communications within members of the same group. The channels are monitored by emergency services personnel such as Coast Guard and marine police units along with other recreational boaters. 

    Channel 16 is the hailing and rescue channel used by Canadian Coast Guard and other rescue authorities. Taking an operator’s course is highly recommended to ensure proper and effective use. Although marine radios are usually waterproof, salt water will degrade all connections. It is a good idea to tether the radio inside a waterproof sack. 

    Many paddlers carry other communication or alerting devices in case they become separated from their crafts.

    The most important piece is a lifejacket. Don’t just take it, wear it!

    AdventureSmart Paddling


Paddler’s Code

Follow along in this true story which highlights the importance of the canoe etiquette, paddler’s responsibility and manners and practicing the “3 T’s.”




The Right Gear

Taking the Essentials:

  • Flashlight

  • Fire making kit

  • Signaling device (i.e. whistle)

  • Extra food and water

  • Extra clothing

  • Navigational/communication devices

  • First aid kit

  • Emergency blanket/shelter

  • Pocket knife

  • Sun protection

Leave a Trip Plan with the responsible party, family member or friend.

Take equipment specific to paddling:

  • Life jacket or PFD (Personal Flotation Device) for each person on board

  • Buoyant heaving line

  • Sound-signaling device

  • Bailer or bilge pump

  • Helmet for kayak surfing, rafting, and whitewater paddling

  • Proper clothing including a dry suit, wetsuit or other cold water gear

  • Paddle float to aid in re-boarding

  • Extra clothing, spare paddle or blade, spray skirt, throw bag, and dry bag

  • Maps or local knowledge of hidden obstacle