Added to all the other good advice.
First: get a boat with bulkheads or bags and a reasonable size skirt. If you want something short and plastic and durable, there are several short touring and cross-over boats that are fun and well designed. Like the jackson journey or dagger alchemy.
Second: learn the skills required to paddle it safely. This means not just the steering and support strokes to stay upright but the judgement to avoid hazards
Third: practice those skills on a regular basis in conditions that you might actually need them. A lot of people forget this one. They take a class, learn some skills, strokes, rescues and then never practice. Or they learn some rescues in a calm lake or pool then never test them out in the conditions they will be used.
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