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How to Stay Safe While Kayaking

July 08, 2021

Do you have an interest in kayaking but are not sure how to stay safe? There is nothing to worry about since you are not the only one with that problem. The fear associated with kayaking has deterred many people from engaging in this fun activity.

To overcome that fear, you need to educate yourself about kayaking safety tips. That way, you will be able to foresee and avoid risky situations before they take place. In this post, we have shared some of the best kayaking safety tips you might want to use.

To get enough information, be sure to go through this post in its entirety. By the end of this post, you will gain enough confidence and head up to the waters right away.

Are Kayaks Entirely Safe?

This is now the elephant in the room, so let’s address it. The shortest answer is yes; kayaks are safe. But if you are not prepared, Kayaks might not be safe. The truth is, all water sports have their risks.

As such, it is important to have some safety tips at your fingertips. There is a wide range of dangers associated with kayaking, such as getting lost, drowning, cold water shock, and hypothermia.

If you are not careful enough, kayaking might turn out to be a deadly sport. You might encounter some accidents when paddling, but in most cases, such accidents can be prevented.

Kayaking should not be risky if you know all the rules that need to be followed.

Kayaking Safety Tips

1. Wear Your Life Jacket at all Times

You will be amazed to see how many people go to the water without wearing life jackets. No matter how good you are at kayaking, you must always put on your life jacket. The floater should be will fitting and maintained.

Your life jacket can be the only thing to save your life in case an accident happens. In 2019, for instance, 79% of individuals who died while kayaking didn’t have the life jacket.

When you are choosing the right jacket, be sure to check its labeling as well as the size guidance.

2. Never Drink Alcohol While Paddling

In the US and other countries globally, it is illegal to paddle while under the influence of alcohol. If you keep repeating this offense, you could be fined or jailed. Note that the law is put in place to ensure that you are safe when kayaking.

No matter how experienced you are, make sure to avoid drinking alcohol when you are about to paddle. Since alcohol is one of the depressants, it will slow down your response time.

Apart from making you slow, alcohol will also impair your decision-making abilities and affect your coordination.

When you are drunk, you will lose your balance and take unwise risks when out on the water.

3. Wear the Right Clothing for the Conditions

Are you planning to go out on a kayaking trip? You should consider which time of the year. Also, you must obey the weather conditions as well as the water temperature. For example, your choice of clothing should provide enough protection from the sun. It should also ensure that you are protected from the wind and other weather elements.

It is important to put on warm clothing when the weather is hot. The clothing should also be comfortable, especially if you are going to stay long on the water.

4. Let Someone Know When You Are Leaving

Once you have identified the best kayaking spot and mapped out the best route, before you leave, you must understand that anything can happen. If you don’t let someone know when you are leaving, you might die without anyone knowing.

Letting someone know when you are leaving and the time you will be back is the way to go. It is the best way to ensure that you get help in case a risk occurs. If you are only going to spend a few hours, send your friend or loved one a text that you are heading out to the water.

5. Your Location Should Be Visible

If you are an experienced kayaker, you might be tempted to go too far where no one can see you. However, that is not a good idea. You need to make sure other people can see you. If you are doing the sport on a large water body, the chances are that you are going to be the tiniest vessel.

There are tips you can use to ensure that you can always be seen. For example, use a kayak that is bright-colored. Also, use reflective tape to stay visible, even at night.

6. Always Have an Emergency Kit

Any paddler must always have an emergency kit. As we have seen, you put your life at risk when you go out on the water without carrying an emergency kit. It should also serve as part of your important kayaking gear.

The safety kit is what will keep you safe until someone comes to offer help. In your emergency kit, you should have food supplies, signaling devices, a first-aid kit, compass or GPS unit, etc.

Whenever you need help, you should have a reliable way of getting in touch with others. Therefore, if possible, be sure to carry your mobile phone.

7. Chose a Suitable Kayaking Location

If you are not very familiar with kayaking, you should start from shallow waters. Also, this should be a location that you are well familiar with.

Suppose you are kayaking at sea, be sure to stay close to the coastline. Choose the calm bays to avoid putting your life at risk. Note that at times, wind can turn calm water into a wavy spot, and you could lose your life.

Before you begin kayaking, be sure to ask people around that particular route. If it is a risky one, someone will tell you not to use it.

8. Learn Basic Safety Skills

Do not go out in the waters if you don’t have any basic kayaking safety skills. Anything can happen, and unless you are prepared with the right skills, your life will be at risk.

Experts suggest that you should take a brief course so that you are aware of what to expect. For instance, consider taking a look at the American Canoe Association Website. The site will help you find some of the best trainers in your location.

The class will show you what to do in case the water gets rough. You will also know the right equipment to use based on the type of water you are using.

9. Never Do It Alone

If you are kayaking alone and something bad happens, there will be low chances of getting help. It is impossible to know when an accident is going to take place.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced paddler, always go out on the water with a friend or a loved one. If something happens, you will work as a team to get out of risk. The best thing to take note of is that you must never attempt to kayak alone.

Closing Thoughts

It is important to have some safety tips on your fingertips. There is a wide range of dangers associated with kayaking, such as getting lost, drowning, cold water shock, and hypothermia.

Your life jacket can be the only thing to save your life in case an accident happens. In 2019, for instance, 79% of individuals who died while kayaking didn’t have the life jacket.