It is nice to go sailing, stand up paddling or paddle a canoe or a kayak in the waterways around Utsjoki, Nuorgam and Karigasniemi. Particularly sailing on the Tenojoki river is an unforgettable experience. In this article, you will find tips for safe navigation.

Utsjoki is an excellent destination for canoeing, stand up paddling or sailing. Several travel operators offer boat trips in the majestic landscapes of the Tenojoki river. You can also hire a boat, a SUP board, a canoe or kayak. 

While navigating the waterways, you should always pay attention to safety. A life jacket is the single most important accessory. The use of the life jacket decreases the drowning risk considerably. Prior to setting off, you should check the weather forecast. If a storm is called for, you should consider whether you should set off in a more pleasant weather. Inform your friends, family members or the staff of the travel services that you are leaving. Always keep a mobile phone packed in a waterproof bag with you in case of emergencies. Remember that alcohol and navigating in the waterways do not mix.


Please remember to make sure that your gear does not bring salmon parasites from other waterways to the Tenojoki river, as it is harmful for the Tenojoki salmon. Make sure that the boats, kayaks, SUP boards, canoes or other equipment are dry, when you put them in the waterways in the Utsjoki region.


Kalastus - Explore Utsjoki

If Boat Falls Over

  • Stay calm and keep a hold of the boat
  • Try to recover the oars
  • Go to the back of the boat and try to carefully climb on top of the keel of the boat 
  • When you get to the keel, lift the oars there and help your friend to get up as well. Paddle toward the shore and shout for help 
  • If the shore is far away, you should try flipping the boat the right side up. Both of you move to the same side and push with both feet and pull with both hands to get the boat to flip.
  • When both have entered the boat (by climbing from the back) bailing out the boat can begin. If the boat is rickety, it may be bailed out prior to climbing in it, if the water is not too cold. In the boat, the water is removed from the clothes.

Know Rules of Avoidance

A vehicle that overtakes must avoid the other vehicle. You may overtake from the side deemed safer, that is when boating, the habit of overtaking from the left does not apply as in motoring. The upcoming boat (head-on) is overtaken to the right. When boats are intersecting, the one coming up from the left is obliged to overtake as in road traffic.

The more agile shall avoid in maritime traffic, so a motorboat shall avoid a rowboat or a SUP board user. Particularly in flowing waters, a motorboat shall avoid muscle-powered transport.


Safely on SUP Board

Remember to secure the route from a local resident, because there may be strong currents in some places. It is advisable to go through the route with a local travel operator before setting off on a board. 

Remember to use a board leash: if you fall off in a stream, it may be impossible to get back to the board. In such places, the board leash should be tied in the “emergency release” belt tied to the waist. A normal board leash may get stuck in between an underwater stone or tree trunk and hence the flow will prevent the unloosening of the board leash, since reaching down with your hand is no longer possible to the trigger mechanism. In lower streams, it is advisable to use a helmet. 

If you are stand up paddling in the midsummer, you should use sun lotion. It is safer to go stand up paddling with a friend, but if you decide to set off alone, please inform someone of your ETA and place. You can bring a phone with you in a waterproof bag. Do not go so far away from the shore that you cannot swim back. Inflatable SUP boards can sometimes burst and when an accident occurs, a wetsuit and float jacket can save the day.

Use a wetsuit when necessary. When you go stand up paddling in the Tenojoki river, it would be good to use a warm 5/4mm wetsuit, for the water is cold even in the summer.


Checklist for Stand Up Paddler: 

  • Board leash in stagnant water, in running water the board leash is attached to the emergency release belt.
  • Float jacket and wetsuit
  • Distance from shore according to your swimming skills
  • Inform someone of your plans to go stand up paddling and your ETA.

Turvallinen vesillä liikkuminen - Explore Utsjoki

This sustainability website has been created as part of a project on Sustainable Tourism in Utsjoki. The project is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, the Regional Council of Lapland and the municipality of Utsjoki, the aim of which is to make Utsjoki an even more responsible travel destination and to steer the travellers to travel in a responsible. More information on the project can be found here (in Finnish only).

 Vastuullisuus - Explore Utsjoki 8Vastuullisuus - Explore Utsjoki 7Vastuullisuus - Explore Utsjoki 6