What Should You Do When Approaching a Low-Head Dam in a Canoe or Kayak?

Spending time on the water has become more and more popular all over the world. If you are on a kayak or a canoe and a paddle toy are all set. So you enjoy a good time by paddling on a kayak or a canoe along the surface of the water. But you have never met such a situation that you are paddling away, and suddenly you see warning signs of a Low-head Dam, written in red. Even you do not know what to do and how to evade a low head dam.

You are going so close to the dam, and you do not know, “What should you do when approaching a low-head dam in a canoe or kayak?”

In this situation, what will you do? You may jump off the kayak or canoe and walk around the dam. You may turn away from the dam and Paddle ashore.

Of course, there is a little chance to save you. You stand to injure yourself and capsize. However, if you know how to deal with the low-head dam accurately, the skill will undoubtedly prove useful for many journeys to make.

What is a Low-Head Dam?

A low-head head dam is a structure that generally spans from one side of a riverbank to the other, partially blocking the waterway and creating a backup of water behind the dam. As the water reaches the wall, it flows over the drop-off, which can be anywhere from 6 inches to 25 feet.

Low-head dams can be found in rivers or cannel and it makes stream across the country. Tens of thousands of them were built in the 1800s to power gristmills and small industries. While there are some modern uses for these dams, they have outlived their usefulness. The dam is needed for raising the water level for improving municipal and industrial water supplies, producing hydropower, and diverting irrigation water.

Generally, a low head dam spans from one side of the riverbank to the other for blocking the waterways. It also uses for creating a backup of water behind the dam. Usually, these low head dams are set up in rivers and streams as it is a man-made structure, so its purpose is to cover the entire width of a river or stream. It actually creates to raise water level; whenever the water reaches the wall. So for the usefulness of the low head dam, its buildup in many of the rivers.

Why This is so Dangerous

The low head dam is sometimes dangerous though they are not always marked. When the water comes around them, it creates strong turbulence and recirculation current that can push victims underwater. Thus this can create a repeating cycle. And this is the most challenging situation, especially for a kayak, which can be dangerous to spot. While you are in a kayak and don’t have any necessary elevation so the dam area, that often indicates its presence to avoid any accidents.

Another dangerous thing about the low head dam is strong water circulation, which is known as a boil. Like a washing machine, the boil drags kayaks, kayakers, and boats under the water. If caught in the boil, you should avoid the disaster by stopping you from padding or swimming.

Could be Danger?

It is tough to figure out how deep a low-head dam under the water surface. And it does not fix out above the surface. If you do not usually see these coming, that could be the danger. The sudden change might lead you to overturn. Usually, a dam creates a strong current and that can suck you under. It can drown under the water as it creates a strong amount currently. You can also be injured by the garbage caught in the current. And this sudden change might lead you to overturn.

What Should You Do When Approaching a Low-Head Dam in a Canoe or Kayak?

First of all, protective action is to get to the bank immediately. Take the kayak or boat out of the water and walk past the dam. This is the first action if you are attempting a stretch. But now if you want to go over the dam, go with as much speed as you master. You have to paddle for sometimes as you’ve already planned for it.

What Should You Do When Approaching a Low-Head Dam in a Canoe or Kayak?
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For avoiding disasters

The 1st and foremost attention is if you are new in the area. You need to take someone with you and speak to locals, whether it’s possible. It will help you to know about their experience and their advice. A bad thing about that is somehow, and even the experts won’t be able to carry off every time. So the best way to survive in a low head dam is

Don’t’ paddle your kayak unless you know things like this.

It is highly recommended that you make a good plan if you do not know the river. Try to pay to vary close to any signs as you journey along. You should have a good map and guides that can help you.

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Bottom Line

Water sports are getting more popular day by day. These are healthy outdoor activities and have fun on the water that you can enjoy much. Every kayaker should know that there ere some significant hazards on the water. That is known as Low-Head Dam, and it is deceivingly dangerous to all of the watercraft, particularly for kayakers.

We see in a statistic, and there are about 400 deadly accidents on water because of the low-head dam in the USA in a few past years. So you might avoid the low-head dam to save your life.

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