Boating Safety

Boating on Barcroft - Safety and Instruction

The BoatUS Foundation's Online Course is the only FREE Online Boating Safety Course approved by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources. You can register for this course here:

Small Craft Safety

Here are some basic tips to help ensure your boating experience is safe and enjoyable:

The standard boating distress signal is illustrated in the figure to the right.

The Standard Boating Distress Signal

By following basic small craft safety guidelines, you can help ensure that your boating experience is both enjoyable and safe.

Remember, always put safety first when heading out on the water!

We recommend that all boaters review the American Red Cross Small Craft Safety course, which can be viewed on YouTube. The 30 minute video (part one of the course) can't be embedded, but you can view it on YouTube by clicking here. Please note that this will take you to the YouTube website, and away from this website.

In the event of an emergency, dial 911. You can also call on the Lake Barcroft duty lifeguard manager at (571) 220-5578. Between 9PM and 9AM, call the head lifeguard, Kevin Hardy, at (717) 752-7576.

Basic Kayak Instruction

Always wear a personal flotation device (PFD).

When holding your paddle, your hands should be shoulder-width apart and your elbows should be slightly bent.

Get in and out of your kayak from a stable and flat surface. Keep the kayak parallel to the shore; place one foot in the kayak and then the other.

Sit in the kayak with your knees bent and your feet flat on the footrests.

To paddle, use your torso, not just your arms. Keep your paddle close to the side of the kayak. Pull the paddle through the water in a straight line and rotate your torso with each stroke.

Use your paddle as a rudder to turn the kayak. To turn left, paddle on the right side. To turn right, paddle on the left side.

Always be aware of your surroundings. Check the weather forecast before heading out, and avoid paddling in areas with hazards such as debris.

Stay hydrated and protected from the sun. Bring water, sunscreen, and a hat or sunglasses to wear while kayaking.

Respect the environment and other people on the lake. Leave no trace, avoid disturbing wildlife, and yield to other boaters when necessary.

You can view a four-minute video produced by REI describing the basics of kayaking here:

Basic Canoe Instruction

Before you start, make sure you have all necessary equipment including a canoe, paddles, personal flotation devices (PFDs), and any other safety gear required by local regulations. It's also a good idea to check the weather forecast and water conditions before heading out.

When you're ready to get in the canoe, start by positioning it parallel to the shore in shallow water. Step into the canoe one foot at a time, and sit down on the seat in the center of the boat. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed, and adjust the seat if necessary.

To paddle the canoe, hold the paddle with both hands, with your hands about shoulder-width apart on the shaft. Dip the paddle into the water on one side of the canoe, and pull it back towards your hip, using your core and upper body to power the stroke. Alternate paddling on either side of the canoe to maintain a straight course.

To turn the canoe, paddle on one side of the boat while holding the paddle at a slight angle towards the stern. This will cause the canoe to turn towards the opposite side. To turn in the other direction, switch sides and angle the paddle towards the bow.

Remember to always wear your PFD and stay aware of your surroundings, including other boats and any hazards in the water. Avoid standing up or leaning too far to one side, as this can cause the canoe to capsize. With practice and a bit of patience, you'll soon be able to navigate the water with confidence and enjoy your time canoeing.

You can view a five-minute video produced by PaddleTV describing the basics of canoeing here:

Basic Paddleboard Instruction

Start on calm, flat water for your first paddleboarding experience. This will help you get used to standing on the board and balancing before you venture out into more challenging water conditions.

Make sure you have the right equipment before you begin. You will need a paddleboard, paddle, and personal flotation device (PFD). Choose a board that is stable and wide enough for your skill level and weight.

Position yourself on the board: Stand on the board with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointing forward, and knees slightly bent. Keep your weight centered over the board and avoid leaning too far forward or backward.

Hold the paddle with both hands, shoulder-width apart, and your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. The concave side of the blade should be facing you.

To move forward, place the paddle in the water near the front of the board and pull it back towards your ankle, keeping the blade perpendicular to the board. Switch sides and repeat. To turn, paddle harder on one side than the other.

Keep your eyes focused on the horizon and avoid looking down at the board. Keep your core engaged and your weight centered over the board.

Always wear a PFD when paddleboarding. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid crowded areas. If you fall off the board, try to stay calm and climb back on as quickly as possible.

You can view a four-minute video produced by SUPBoarder describing the basics of paddleboarding here:

You can also view and download more extensive written paddleboarding instructions by clicking here.

Lake Barcroft Depth Map

The depth survey produced in 2021 for the Lake Barcroft Watershed Improvement District is shown below:

Full_Survey_2021 Depth Map.pdf

Lake Barcroft Anchoring Map

Anchoring areas are restricted as shown below: