Paddling a Canadian canoe on Coniston Water copyright Dave Willis

Paddleboarding and kayaking

The Lake District provides fantastic opportunities to take to the water in a canoe, kayak or paddleboard. Beginners can have a go, guided by experts. Once more confident, create your own adventure exploring the many islands, beautiful rivers and stunning coastline.

Below watch a paddleboard safety video and how to hire equipment. While the water can look tempting on a calm summer day, Lake District weather can easily change. You should always be aware of the weather and its impact on the water.

Check out the Local Weatherline Forecast (website) and our lake activities guide (page) which explains activities you can do on our four main lakes, including where you can go kayaking, canoeing and paddleboarding in the Lake District.

Paddleboarding safety

Hiring canoes, kayaks and paddleboards

You can hire equipment from outdoor centres around Coniston, Derwentwater, Ullswater and Windermere. For hiring canoes, kayaks and paddleboards you can do so via the following websites:

Canoeing guides

Maps of Lakes for water users

Kayak and canoes

The term canoe is often used to refer to both canoes and kayaks. Canadian canoe: Usually an open boat which can accommodate more than one person (sitting or kneeling) and is propelled by a paddle with a blade only at one end. Historically, canoes were used by indigenous Canadians to transport people and goods on the lakes and rivers. Kayaks: a covered craft designed for one person which is propelled with a double ended paddle. A kayak was an Inuit fishing craft used on the sea and paddled with a long harpoon.

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Paddleboarding and kayaking safety

Explore how to take to the water safely on a canoe, kayak or paddleboard with safety videos and some top tips. Guided by this, you can discover the stunning islands, rivers and coastline of the Lake District confidently. Before heading out onto the water, take a look at our Lake Rangers' short water safety videos featured below. While the water can look tempting on a calm summer day, Lake District weather can easily change, so you should always keep an eye on the weather forecast.

Top tips for paddleboards, kayaks and canoes

  • Wind direction can change suddenly, be prepared, it can make paddling much harder
  • Look out for large boats turning, they need plenty of room!
  • Always pass two ferry lengths to the rear of the car ferry
  • Canoe, kayak and paddleboard with someone else, or hire a guide
  • staying close to shore is a good way to ensure you don't get into trouble

Watch our paddleboarding safety video

Whether you are a sit-down or stand-up paddleboarder, take a few moments to prepare for a safe and fun experience on the lakes by watching this short paddleboarding video.

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Different personal floatation devices and checks

A personal flotation device should be worn during any water sport activity. Ensure you are wearing the appropriate type for your chosen activity and you know how to care for it.

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Swimming tow floats

If you are thinking about swimming in the Lakes from your vessel or shore then please make sure you follow the advice from our Lake Rangers about being visible to boat users.

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Or check out Biosecurity for boat and kayak users

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