Some people go kayaking for the adventure whereas others go for leisure. Well, it doesn’t matter the reason why you are going kayaking, but there are a few important safety tips you need to keep in mind whenever you take out that kayak. In this kayaking for beginners guide, we have covered all the safety tips you need to master to ensure that you have the best kayaking experience.
You can sustain injuries when kayaking, and even drowning is possible, especially when you are working against rapids. Safety is always very important. Since you are dealing with water, things can go wrong and if they go wrong, they can really get nasty. When you are on the water, always develop a conservative attitude and apply it to everything you do.
Evergreen Tips of Kayaking for Beginners
Basic Safety Tips for Kayaking
We will be discussing more safety tips to help you reduce your chances of getting hurt when you are out paddling:
- Always wear a life jacket
Research conducted by The American Canoe Association reveals that 48% of all kayak fatalities are caused by failure to wear a life jacket. For canoeing, the percentage was reported at 85%.
There is no doubt that this is the number one kayaking safety tip. If you feel uncomfortable wearing a life jacket when paddling, you may want to consider buying a specific kayaking life jacket. These ones are designed specifically to be less restrictive and allow for flexibility when paddling.
- Dress for the weather conditions
It is always important to check the weather forecast before you go kayaking. It is also a good idea to check the water temperature. It is better to be safe than sorry. You need to be prepared for any changes in the weather.
When kayaking in colder weather, wear a dry or wetsuit to keep your warm, even you fall into the water. During sunny days, you will want to wear a hat and long sleeves to protect your skin. You need to invest in the right kayaking clothes because your safety depends on them.
If it looks like it’s going to rain, bring a rain jacket and wear wool to stay warm. You also need to be aware of the wind patterns in the area. Off-shore winds may make it difficult for you to get back on the shore.
- Abide by the local boating rules
Make sure that you familiarize yourself with the local boating rules. If you happen to be the only person boating, then you are lucky for two main reasons. You will be able to enjoy the surrounding in solitude and peace and don’t have to worry about colliding with other watercraft. However, if you are not alone, there are a number of things that you need to keep in mind.
It is always important to see and also be seen. So, you will want to wear bright clothes, keep a whistle within reach and use reflective tapes on paddles. This is especially important when you are kayaking in busy waters with motorized boats. If there is high motorized boat traffic, you will want to check to see what the colours of buoys mean. Most importantly, you need to understand the traffic rules on waterways.
- Wear a helmet
If you will be kayaking on rougher waters, such as rapids and fast-flowing rapids, it is recommended to wear a helmet. Actually, in some places, you may be required to put on a helmet whenever you go boating.
- Choose a good kayaking location
Depending on your abilities, experience, skill level and ambitions, the ideal kayaking location will vary. But every kayaking location has many spots to go ashore, low boat traffic and easy launching access.
It is recommended to start kayaking in shallow water, in quiet rivers or lakes or calm bays. After improving your skills and gaining confidence, you can proceed to waters that are less stable such as rivers with windy lakes and waves. However, don’t be overconfident. Always know your limits.
- Don’t drink and go kayaking
You probably know that alcohol and mental awareness don’t hand in hand. Don’t drink alcohol when kayaking on the water. After your kayaking session, you can set camp and have beer while watching the sunset.
- Practice how to re-enter your kayak when you are in the water
This is a very important safety tip for kayaking for beginners. You probably know how to get in and out of the kayak. However, getting into the kayak after falling into water is another thing. You need to practice how to re-enter the kayak when you are in the water.
If your kayak flips over, it can be challenging to turn it over, remove the water in it and climb in again. It is important that before you go kayaking; take your time to practice re-entering in a shallow spot.
- Tell a friend or relative about your plans
It is important that you tell a friend or relative about your kayaking plans. This basically includes your itinerary, location, planned camping spot, how long you will be gone and the number of people in your group. And make sure that you are sticking to the plan.
- Find more information about cold water safety
When it comes to kayaking, cold water safety is very important. The truth is that cold water is very dangerous. It reduces coordination, impairs your judgment and reduces your muscle strength.
Falling in a cold water lake can easily make your incapacitated in a few minutes. This is the main reason why it is important to always wear a life jacket. You may not be able to swim in cold water. If you will be kayaking in cold waters, then you need to wear a wetsuit.
- Check your kayak and equipment before going
Unless you have a brand new kayak and equipment, it is recommended to check everything to see if there are wear and tear before going out. Make sure that everything works perfectly as it should.
These are just but a few kayaking safety tips you should keep in mind. Despite the fact that you are supposed to enjoy this game, you also need to stay safe.