Heading off on a trip with your kayak strapped to the roof and your mates in the car, ready for adventure, is a feeling like nothing else. However, it’s important to remember that, as much fun as kayaking can be, there are dangers that you need to consider. Taking a proactive approach to kayaking safety will ensure that you and your fellow kayakers have as much fun as possible while staying safe on the water.
To stay safe when you are kayaking, you need to take the right precautions and prepare properly. Having the right equipment will help to keep you safe and comfortable when you are out on the water. If you do encounter any issues, it’s important that you know how to react to stay safe and to help anyone in trouble. With the right preparations, you can be sure that your next kayaking will be a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.
Let’s take a look at a few kayaking safety essentials that you should consider before you paddle out.
Proper Trip Planning
When you are planning where to go on your kayaking trip, you need to account for the ability levels of both yourself and your fellow paddlers. Make sure that you choose a route that is within your abilities. While it’s great to push yourself, you should do so responsibly and avoid taking on too much, too quickly. Take the time to choose a suitable destination and stay safe.
Essential Safety Equipment
Whether you are venturing out on a flat calm lake for an afternoon paddle or you are embarking on a multi-day adventure, you will need to bring some safety essentials. A personal flotation device (PFD) is crucial and should be worn at all times. Be sure to bring a whistle and attach it to your PFD so it is always within reach. Having a fully charged phone or other communication devices to keep you in touch with the shore is vital in case you need to raise the alarm. Finally, for longer paddles, you may decide to pack a bilge pump, a spare paddle, towline and a headlamp in case you end up out longer than expected.
Wear The Right Clothing
When you are floating on the water, you need to be prepared for the possibility that you could end up immersed in it, waiting for rescue. Check the water temperatures where you are planning to paddle and be sure to dress appropriately. If water temperatures are particularly cold, you might need a wetsuit or a drysuit to reduce the risk of hypothermia from occurring if you are in the water for some time.
Use The Buddy System
Always avoid kayaking alone. Even if you are an experienced paddler, you can quickly find yourself in trouble that might be difficult to get out of without help. Being rescued by a buddy is always faster than self-rescue, meaning you spend less time in the water. What’s more, if you are injured, you can’t tow yourself. Using the buddy system is important for kayaking safety and it also allows you to share the adventure with someone else!
Plan In Advance To Ensure You Stay Safe On The Water
Taking the time to plan your trip in advance will allow you to take the necessary precautions to ensure that you and your fellow paddlers stay safe. Always check the local weather conditions at your destination before you go so you can prepare accordingly and be sure to examine your kayak and other gear for damage before you set off. With everything in place and ready to go, you can hit the water with more peace of mind, knowing you are fully prepared for the adventure ahead.