Port River & Barker Inlet
Always check tide times and a weather forecast before setting out. The tidal range at springs is over 2 metres, and at low water springs much of the area dries or is too shallow to paddle. Tides in Barker inlet are about 30 minutes later than at
It is much easier to paddle with the tide than against it. The flood tide is southwards, the ebb northwards in the
The flow in creeks can create some hazards. If swept onto a log or branches lean toward the obstacle. Push yourself clear. Lean away, into the current, when you’re up against something and you may well capsize and be swept under leading to entrapment.
The open areas are susceptible to the wind, and can develop a nasty chop: I have seen one metre waves in Lipson Reach in a strong north-westerly. If you’re not accustomed to paddling in wind and chop choose a day with a better forecast.
If you want to land for a break, do so only on sandy beaches or the sandbars which appear at low tide. Avoid areas with mangrove pneumatophores.
Always carry food and water, extra clothing in case it’s colder than you expected, first aid gear, towline, mobile phone and/or marine radio, etc. SA regulations do not require paddlers to carry flares, EPIRBs, and so on in this location, so spend your money on other gear.
Much of the area is inaccessible by land, so don’t plan on walking out if things go wrong. Make sure you have the ability to get yourself out of those situations by attending training with Canoe SA. If it really is life threatening, use mobile phone, marine VHF or marine 27MHz to call for aid. In a channel, use beacon numbers, otherwise grid references or GPS coordinates to locate your position. You will have left details of your plans with someone at home (the Float Plan is designed for this).