Check the weather forecast, in particular the wind strength and direction, and the likely impact of this on your plans.
For tidal waterways, check the time and height of the tide and the subsequent tidal effect. The state of the tide will affect the speed and direction of the flow as well as the water level.
Work out how fast and how far you can paddle given the wind strength and tidal flow. The tidal flow can be very strong in some areas.
Make sure you have suitable equipment for the trip that is in working condition. This includes complying with NSW lifejacket regulations.
Wear appropriate clothing for the conditions and be prepared for the possibility of taking an unexpected dip. It is important to have adequate protection from the sun, the cold, and sharp objects such as oyster shells.
Pack sunscreen lotion, insect repellent, and a simple first aid kit to cope with things like cuts, sprains, and headaches. Include any personal medications.
Take plenty of food and double the water you think you might drink.
Make sure you have the necessary paddling skills. This includes knowing what to do if you capsize.
Get some friends to go with you. There is safety in numbers.
Let someone know where you are going and when you will be back.