Paddling Programs FAQs

What should I wear to a paddling program?

Paddling programs are held rain or shine, so dress for the weather. Wear clothes and shoes that can get wet and dirty.

Avoid cotton clothing, as cotton soaks up water like a sponge and will be heavy and uncomfortable when paddling. Cotton also stops insulating you from the cold when it’s wet, so you can become chilled very easily in wet cotton clothing, even on a warm day. Synthetic or wicking fabrics are recommended such as nylon, polyester, fleece, or wool. Raingear is recommended if the weather calls for it.

Old tennis shoes or sandals that attach to the foot are recommended. Do not wear flip-flops.

Bug spray and sunscreen are highly recommended.

What should I bring with me?

Bring a filled water bottle, bug spray, sun protection (hat, sunglasses with strap, sunscreen) and snacks (optional). A towel and a change of clothes to leave in the car are recommended. You may get wet on any paddle. All other equipment and gear will be provided for you.

What to bring: participant packing list.

The weather looks bad; will the paddle be cancelled?

Paddling programs are rain or shine programs, so a little bit of rain won’t scare us off. Paddles will only be cancelled for severe weather such as thunderstorms or high winds that can make an outing unsafe. The staff carefully monitors the weather before any paddling program. If the decision is made to cancel a paddle due to severe weather you will receive a phone call. Otherwise toss a raincoat in the car and come enjoy your paddle! 

Do I need my own lifejacket, paddle, boat, etc.?

No, all paddling equipment is provided.

What type of kayaks do you have? How many people do they hold?

We have a mixture of kayak types including sea kayaks, sit-on top kayaks and recreational kayaks. The majority of our kayaks seat one person. Different kayaks are more comfortable for different people; your paddle leader will help you choose the kayak that is best for you.

A limited number of tandem kayaks are available for participants with disabilities that would benefit from them. All paddling and other outdoor skills programs are ADA accessible. Please call 419-265-2920 to discuss accessibility arrangements.

Can my child paddle?

Children must be 8 or older to paddle a kayak, SUP or canoe for a pond paddle, and 12 or older to paddle on rivers/creeks. Children 4 or older can ride as a third passenger in a canoe (pond paddles only), but must be accompanied by two paddlers ages 8 or older, at least one of which must be an adult guardian.

Do I register everyone for the paddle?

Yes, register all program participants (including children) for every paddle. 

See our calendar of Outdoor Skills programs

Can I bring my own boat, lifejacket, paddle etc.?

You can. Metroparks has strict safety criteria for all gear used during programs. If your gear does not meet our safety standards you will not be allowed to paddle with it during our program. Any participant bringing their own boat/paddleboard must be able to transport, load and unload their watercraft and gear without staff assistance. Call your program leader several days before the paddle to be sure your watercraft meets our safety standards before attempting to bring it to a program.

Can I bring my dog?

Dogs are not permitted unless the program description specifically says it is a dog-friendly paddle.