British Summer Time ends on 28 October and already the sun is setting just after 7pm. Wednesday evening club paddles are finishing at dusk will soon cease to begin again next spring.
But don’t despair – Hamptoneers still go out paddling after dark in informal groups and there are some member-led night paddles.
Paddling after dark can be a great experience on a calm night with the reflections of boat and street lights it can be very tranquil. But there are a few precautions needed:
1. Put a white light fore and aft on your boat so that other boats can see you, (put them in a small clear bag if not waterproof). A head torch is also very useful as the light is higher above the water and if you fall in you’re easier to spot.
2. Wear reflective clothing and/or light coloured clothing, reflective strips on your paddle are also good to catch attention.
3. Keep an extra sharp lookout for rowing boats which can be travelling very fast and their light is very low down so not always easy to see.
4. Ideally, go out with a partner so you can keep an eye on each other in case either gets into difficulty.
5. Wear a PFD
In the colder weather
1. If you’re unsure of your abilities paddle with a more experienced member.
2. Wear layers of quick drying clothes, a waterproof top and a warm hat.
3. Carry a change of clothes with you in a dry bag.
4. Consider buying rubber paddling boots and gloves (members have a 15% discount at Whitewater Canoes in Shepperton Marina).
5. Wear a PDF and before setting off check the weather forecast and the river conditions.