USC’s Outdoor Recreation offers rentals and safety tips for summer

IMG_6516 by Whitney Smith 

If you are in the Columbia area this summer and want to engage in outdoor activities, University of South Carolina’s Outdoor Recreation Rental Shop may be the perfect place to stop by and pick up the equipment you will need for your trip to Lake Murray or down the Broad River.

Who can rent and how to rent equipment

USC’s Rental Shop allows all currently enrolled students, faculty and staff to rent equipment, such as stand up paddle boards, surfboards and kayaks, at minimal costs. The only thing that students, faculty or staff need to secure a rental is their VIP number. Interested renters are able to reserve equipment up to one week in advance, and  all rental fees must be paid at the time of the reservation, via cash, check, or CarolinaCard.

There is no limit to how many times students, faculty or staff can rent, and the only equipment in which renters have to be “trained” in using are whitewater kayaks. Those who wish to rent whitewater kayaks must be assessed during a kayak role clinic during the academic year to ensure the safety of the renter. 

Not sure what to rent?

University of South Carolina Outdoor Recreation Director Liz Jones said, “Our most popular rental is the sit-on-top kayaks. They are really good for flat water like Lake Murray and don’t require a ton of skills or past experience with kayaking.”

Safety equipment is also included in the rental fee, and the ORec staff can provide the straps you need to tie equipment down to your car and will teach you how to properly load the equipment.

Another popular rental during the summer is inner-tubes. The hot Columbia weather makes floating down the river an ideal way to spend the afternoon, and ORec offers inner-tube rentals starting at $5. Check out the ORec Equipment Rental list with pricing on equipment rentals for the day, weekend or week. 

How to safely enjoy equipment rentals on the water

“The most important thing to remember when using equipment on the water is to know where you are going and what the water levels are going to be like during your time there,” Jones said.“Know the location your putting in and taking out and plan for potential breaks along the way if you are going for a longer distance.”

When using equipment on whitewater and rivers, be sure to stay on the inside of bends and watch out for fallen trees, rocks or anything that allows the current to flow through it while holding you. Also remember to make sure that you are a competent swimmer with the ability to handle underwater or moving water.

What are some other safety tips to remember before taking your equipment out? Don’t exceed your skill level and know your limits when it comes to the physical abilities needed for the equipment you plan on using and the bodies of water you plan on going to. Always wear a lifejacket, the proper footwear and sunscreen. For more information about best practices for paddlers and paddlesport programs, contact The American Canoe Association.

For more information, contact Outdoor Recreation.

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