In the arctic there is a saying that ones intellect is the 1st line of defense of any cold weather and or water activity. Think before one acts and or heads out and about paddling. Stay updated on issues w paddling and or cold weather activity. USCG issues regular safety updates and bulletins. Recent posting on PFD recall and issues is very good reading. Highly suggestive to read over accident reports of past incidents so you can see how things go wrong so they are not repeated. if anyone wants to get into cold water paddling zap a note along, be glad to meet up and introduce folks. In cold water paddling the person w the least amount of experience sets the pace of activity. rushing about is a sure way to bring about an issue that more often then not is preventable.