The greatest thing about kayaking is that whether you are an adventurous paddler or you just want to go for a relaxing afternoon paddle in the nearby lake, this outdoor activity can be remarkably safe and player-friendly.
However, it is still necessary to know all the risks and hazards associated with this water sport as well as how to deal with the fastest and most serious situations on the water so that you do not have to worry about “How can I be safe kayaking?”
How can I be safe kayaking?
Only bring the most essential gear with you
The equipment set essential for kayaking dramatically varies according to the adventure type you want to take.
Some accessories such as a kayak, life jacket (PFD), and paddle are must-have items, while other add-ons like a backrest, dry bags, scupper stoppers, and a hard rack system may not be important for all trips, but can play an irreplaceable role in storing gear and keeping you & your belongings dry & safe as well as giving you an enjoyable trip.
Choose a suitable paddling location
While the treacherous white-water gorge that all professionals love scares any novices, non-tidal waters that inexperienced kayakers prefer bore adventurer lovers. Even if it were the world’s best kayaking location, it is hard to please paddlers of all levels.
To find out the most suitable location for you, you should make a decision based on your experience and technique level, as well as ambitions.
The great kayaking environment must have numerous spots to go ashore for wave & wind protection, a good and seamless access point for landing and launching, and low motorized boat traffic.
Shallow waters, tranquil rivers or lakes, and calm bays without much noticeable current are a perfect starting point. Then, you can gradually move to more challenging waters like windy lakes or rivers with waves once your skills have been improved a lot. Don’t go beyond the limit, though!
Always wear a life jacket
There are a lot of types of both traditional inflatable life jackets and new-style foam flotation devices, each of which boasts its own maximum weight limitations and buoyancy as well as performance level. But they all not only act as an essential added layer of warmth in colder water but also provide optimal floatation in case of an unexpected swim or capsize.
As each type of life jacket is specifically designed for one kind of boating activity and water conditions, you’d better choose your gear based on yours. And to meet carriage requirements, the model you choose should be U.S. Coast Guard-approved.
Dress according to water & weather conditions
Rule of thumb: overdress is much better than getting too cold. So, make sure to check the weather forecast or even the water temperature while you are planning your trip. Be prepared for sudden weather changes can save you from any unexpected situations!
If rain is predicted, it is advised to bring a rain jacket with you and keep yourself warm with synthetic thermal or wool base layers. Also, appropriate kayaking clothes are a good investment for your own safety.
Those who want to go kayaking in cold weather should wear a dry or wet suit to keep them warm, even when they suddenly fall into the water. And those planning to go for a pond paddle in a sunny afternoon should wear a hat and long sleeves to protect their skin from the direct sun and scorching heat.
Never go alone
Never go solo unless you are a professional kayaker. Take along another experienced friend to decrease your margin for error, though. Having your buddy rescue is way faster than doing it yourself and in case you get hurt, there’s no such scenario as a self tow. More importantly, you will have much more fun by sharing your adventure.
It doesn’t count, though, if you go with a team but all members stretch out into soloists. So, be sure to keep your squad close at all times – within a whistle blast or earshot of another kayaker is ideal.
If you want to know “How can I be safe kayaking?” then you have arrived at the right place. Take a closer look at our article on some basic yet practical kayak safety!