Paddling Solo Safely: Tech that Will Give You Peace of Thoughts

Utilizing Tech for Paddling Alone Safely

A very long time in the past in a galaxy far, far-off, I wrote a publish on helpful apps that will help you keep safer on water – particularly when you paddle alone.  Let’s face it, regardless of the admonishions of well-meaning family and friends members, typically all of us paddle solo. In truth, many people want it.  I do know I do when I’m concentrating on a Paddle Monster exercise. 

The truth of it’s, although, we will’t all the time coordinate exercise instances with buddies.  If it’s a selection between paddling solo and never paddling all, effectively, I’ll all the time select the previous. Similar with a lot of the different outside actions I do. 

That mentioned, it’s all the time a good suggestion to let somebody know the place you’re going and whenever you intend to return. Even when it’s a brief exercise and particularly when it’s an extended one, or a paddle journey.

Expedition paddlers have been doing this the quaint or analog approach for years, submitting one thing referred to as a float plan with official businesses in addition to associates earlier than a day-long or multi-day paddle tour. 

But it surely’s a apply that’s good to get into even what we’re simply going out for an hour, and it doesn’t haven to be as detailed or broadly distributed. A textual content or a telephone name letting a non-paddling good friend know the next can suffice:

  The place you’re paddling particularly.

  What time you may be on the water.

  What time you anticipate to return.

  What craft you’re paddling: sort, model, colour, size.

  What you’re sporting: prime/pants/hat colour.

If you’re carried out, don’t overlook to ship the “I’m okay” message.

The issue with the textual content or voicemail or e mail message, although, is two-fold:

  In your rush to get after your exercise you may overlook.

  There’s no approach to monitor the place you is likely to be when you do get into bother and need assistance.

Enter the GPS/Location Primarily based App

Helpful apps could make that total course of simpler if not automated, as effectively support emergency responders find you if one thing goes flawed, because of the GPS perform of those apps, used along side a cell phone or smartwatch. And that’s the reason I take advantage of them after I paddle alone.

Loads has modified since I wrote that first article on paddling location apps in 2014. 

  Over half of the apps talked about in that first story are now not accessible. 

  Others have improved.  

  The units have improved – each the watches and the telephones.  

  Battery life is healthier.

  Energy drain from the apps isn’t as dangerous.

  Cell phone water resistancy is significantly improved.

Regardless, I virtually all the time have my iPhone in a water-resistant case of some kind and have it hooked up to my life vest with a lanyard. An extended one.

Garmin LiveTrack

Free with Garmin Join and a appropriate gadget.

Garmin’s monitoring perform is out there to Garmin sensible gadget customers by way of it’s Join App.  You’ll discover it within the Extra part of the app, below Security and Monitoring.

Many if not most of us Paddle Monsters most likely use a Garmin gadget with Join already. LiveTrack is simple to arrange, and it may be set to mechanically e mail your contacts of your whereabouts whenever you push the button and begin recording an exercise or exercise in your sensible watch.   The e-mail contains an invite to click on on a hyperlink that may permit your contact to comply with you throughout your paddle and observe your exercise stats.  The hyperlink will probably be lively till you cease your exercise, or you may set it to be seen for twenty-four hours after your exercise. For greatest security, use that 24 hour visibility. It may be a helpful device for paddling alone safely.

Huge Apple Flaw

Apple iPhone customers will probably be extraordinarily annoyed concerning the incapability to text the hyperlink to contacts.  There may be loads of conflicting information on the interwebs as to why the textual content choice isn’t supported on the iOS platform.  Backside line is,  iPhone/Garmin customers can solely alert and share by way of e mail or Twitter or Fb. In case your supposed recipient is one who doesn’t verify e mail or social media typically, they could not know you’re out and about in any respect, not to mention that you’ve completed your paddle safely (or not, because the case is likely to be.) This has been a sore spot with my predominant emergency contact who doesn’t verify private e mail or Twitter through the work day.  “Can’t you set it to textual content me as a substitute?” Nope. So what I find yourself doing is sending her a textual content saying “Hey, I’m about to go paddle for an hour or so.”  After which a “Hey, I’m off the water,” comply with up textual content, which sort of defeats the built-in objective.  At the very least she is aware of one thing’s flawed if she doesn’t hear from me and can know the place to direct authorities by checking the hyperlink.  Android customers apparently have the selection to ship by way of textual content or e mail.

Garmin’s Stay Occasion characteristic can be utilized in the identical approach, however just for Android customers.  It’s designed to let your cheering squad know when to be on the end line by estimating your end time throughout races.  I’ve heard of parents utilizing it in the identical approach as LiveTrack although, as an emergency again up.  I want Apple would change its thoughts about this however there isn’t a indication that may occur.  


Paddle Logger

$39.99/1 yr

$24.99/ 6 months

$6.99 month to month

That is my automated reply to sending that textual content to my emergency contact.  The subscription charge is a small value for me to pay for security and I get backup paddle knowledge in case I would like it.

The Paddle Logger interface is easy and straightforward to make use of.  The PaddleLive premium characteristic permits you to notify by way of textual content as many emergency contacts as you want. As soon as arrange, all you need to do is bear in mind to hit the beginning button on the app in your telephone, after which hit the Finish button when completed.  The extra I take advantage of Paddle Logger, the extra I prefer it.  And all my contacts report receiving my begin/end texts constantly.

Paddle Logger’s PaddleLive textual content alerts

Paddle Logger will even notify your contacts when you fail to verify in.  Within the PaddleLive settings, you identify how lengthy it will likely be earlier than the app sends up a “purple alert” to your contacts – wherever from one to 4 hours after beginning the app.  In case you are doing a paddle that extends past 4 hours, you may modify the settings to will let you prolong that session for as much as 4 hours past, however to do this you’ll have to hit the “prolong session” button on the app.

Within the occasion a purple alert goes out, your contacts will probably be despatched a textual content asking them to verify in with you in addition to a hyperlink that may present your final identified gps coordinates, how a lot battery time your telephone has, when your began your paddle and whenever you have been anticipated to complete.

If you happen to get into bother at any level in your paddle, you may ship up a “flare” your self that may ship out the hyperlink in addition to the request for the contact to verify in with you.

The Paddle Logger people have been associates of Paddle Monsters for some time – and the app is built-in with the Digital Paddle Race collection began final yr.  I’d suggest this app for the security characteristic no matter our reference to them.

Paddle Logger works effectively on the Apple Watch, making it much more handy.

Strava Beacon

$5.00 a month/when billed yearly ($60)

If you happen to use the Strava app to report your paddles and different varieties of exercises, its subscription service features a perform just like that of Paddle Logger’s. You’ll be able to set it to inform as much as three contacts, and when you toggle the Beacon perform on, it should ship out a message alerting your contacts that you’re paddling (or no matter) and offering them with a hyperlink the place they’ll comply with you reside, in actual time. When you cease, the contact can see that the exercise has ended.  It’s also possible to ship texts via the app to your contacts at any time through the exercise.

Strava Beacon received’t mechanically notify your contacts that you’ve stopped or that you’re later than your anticipated end time. So it received’t ship up these purple alerts like Paddle Logger does. You’ll be able to customise your preliminary outgoing textual content message to incorporate an anticipated end time, however this isn’t practically as helpful as Paddle Logger’s performance.  In case you are already a Strava subscriber and also you don’t wish to add one other app to those you pay for, then positively make the most of this perform. For my part, Paddler Logger is the higher deal – over all it’s cheaper yearly and supplies a greater, simpler to make use of security notification perform. And hey, it’s paddle particular!

Life 360

Life 360 has gone via adjustments, like most apps have, since I first wrote about it in 2014. It has most noticeably modified its pricing tiers.  Whereas it stays probably the greatest household location monitoring and notification apps, it’s not as helpful because it was for our paddling security functions. Particularly when Garmin is doing it totally free and Paddle Logger has an inexpensive premium characteristic that features emergency pinging.

Apple’s Discover My App

In case you are an Apple person, the Discover My app can be utilized to share your location with designated associates, providing a perform just like Life360’s however with out subscription charges. It isn’t probably the most intuitive, however you may set it as much as share your location solely whenever you arrive or depart particular places.  It’s not like your pals get to trace your whereabouts on a regular basis.  In truth, the security alerts toggle within the setup is designed to let you realize if somebody is monitoring you with out your permission.  Don’t confuse that with a security alerts perform like Paddler Logger’s.

The placement sharing perform is accessible via the Message app as effectively.

Bear in mind, whereas helpful this performance is not going to ship out alerts do you have to not return to a location at or inside a sure time, nor will it inform your contact in case your battery is low.

In case you are an Apple person and you’re searching for a no-cost, fundamental notification service then that is an choice.  It is also again up.


On the flip facet, FollowMee hasn’t modified a lot in any respect. To the purpose the place I’m stunned that it’s nonetheless round.  It’s technical and considerably cumbersome compared to what Garmin, Paddle Logger and Strava provide so, until you actually don’t wish to use a type of, it’s onerous to contemplate it as a contender in 2021.

Basic Suggestions

Earlier than you arrange any of those apps, do the next:

  • Make sure to let your emergency contacts know that you’re doing it.
  • Have an in depth dialog about what they need to do when you go lacking. Higher but, write it down for them.
  • You probably have a couple of emergency contact (and you must!) make certain all of them know who your different contacts are to allow them to coordinate an emergency response.
  • Let your contacts know the place you routinely carry your pockets and/or insurance coverage card and even automobile keys so they’ll know the place to search for these if you find yourself in hospital or pressing care.

Be at liberty to share your favourite location sharing app within the feedback!

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