As I say, dress appropriately, paddle a stable boat, don’t do or try anything crazy or risky, work on technique rather than speed, paddle close to shore and have an emergency plan. And then a backup emergency plan if the first one isn’t an option.
This is the time of year I share my GPS location with my significant other and provide details of how long it should take me outbound and then back. If my blip on the map stops for more than a minute or 90 seconds, that is bad sign.
I check the map where I am paddling and know where the houses on the shore are in case I need to get to somebody’s house for help.
Lastly, carry a full change of clothes in a dry bag in your boat and have yet another complete set with a heavy coat and blankets in your vehicle once you get back.
As we Eagle Scouts learned along the way, Be Prepared.