Safety Tips for Kayaking | You Should Follow
Kayaking is a fun outdoor activity that also provides you with many health benefits like increased muscle strength for the arms, shoulders, chest and much more. Kayaking is regarded as a safe and user-friendly activity but sometimes things can go wrong when you are in the water.
It is important if you know the hazards and risks that are associated with kayaking so that you can take the right precaution to prevent death and other injuries. Just like other recreation activities, there is a high possibility of accidents or injuries. However, if you follow safety tips for kayaking, you can avoid dangerous situations and stay safe throughout your kayaking adventure.
The following are simple rules that you should follow always when you are kayaking
1. Do not drink and paddle
We are all familiar with the phrase “do not drink and drive” This applies to kayaking. You cannot mix alcohol and paddling if you want to stay safe when kayaking. Drinking impairs your judgement and you might end up making the wrong decisions which can cause trouble.
2. Observe the weather
Before you begin your kayaking trip, make sure you have the right information about the current weather condition and the water temperature. This will help you prepare for the weather and prevent chances of capsizing. For instance, if you will be paddling in the cold water, make sure that you have a wet or dry suit to keep you warm and comfy. When it is sunny, you can wear a long sleeve shirt provide you with sun protection.
You should always invest in the right clothing to suit the climate. This will also depend on the type of kayak that you have. For example, a sit-inside kayak provides you with a shield from various weather conditions. If you have a sit-on-top, you are more exposed so you need the right clothing.
You can also check the cold water guide survival guide published by the American Canoe Association. This guide informs kayaks, canoe, raft, and SUP instructors worldwide whether the water you will be going will be below 60 degrees F.
3. Carry essential safety gear
There are several safety gear that you should carry. Make sure you know how to use each of these items well to avoid having problems. The following are some of the essential safety gear that you should carry:
Personal floatation device-
Make sure you get a personal flotation device that fits you well and you should always have it on. Never go for a kayaking adventure without a PFD.
This is an important item that you need to attach to your PFD. If you need to seek attention, blast it once. If you want help, blast it thrice. If you do not know how many blasts you have made, continue blowing until you get help from rescue team.
You need to carry an extra paddle in your kayak.
This is an important item to carry just you blow the whistle and it is out of the range of the person on the shore. Having a communication device will help you call for help because it can cover any place. You can carry your cell phone and put it in a waterproof case.
This item will help you just in case you don’t make it to the shore on your own.
Sometimes you might stay longer than you had planned. This is where a headlamp will save you.
4. Never go alone
It is always a good idea to go with a friend. But if you are an experienced kayaker, you can go alone. Having a person with you will make rescue easy in cases of emergencies as compared to when you are alone. Again, I think kayaking will be fun if you bring a friend as compared to going solo.
If you are going as a group, make sure that you all stay close. It doesn’t make sense if you have a friend and each one is a solo paddler. Everybody should be close to each other all the times.
Fins more information about the local weather and potential hazards
Check out the forecast and weather updates as you paddle. If there is a possibility of a storm or lightning, you have no option but to end your day. Of course, you do not want to risk knowing that the weather condition is not friendly.
You should also gather some more information about the local hazards. You can get the information from a government agency or knowledgeable sources that do water patrol. This will help you know potential local hazards like unexpected swells, wind and much more.
Another thing you should take note is to avoid collisions. Basically, there will be other big boats on the water and in most cases, they can’t see kayaks. If there is a boat coming close to you, you can note its position using a clock. Keep looking to find out if its position has changed.
If you notice that you are near to collide, turn you vessel until the other boat moves in another direction. You should take note if the vessels behind you though the vessel approaching you should be responsible.
5. Come up with a paddle plan and share
A paddle plan is important since it includes the place where you are going, the activity you will engage in, how long you will be there, how many people you are and much more. It is important to stick to your plan and also tell someone your paddle plan.
6. Choose the right paddling location based on your skills
This is an important kayaking tip for all kayakers. A suitable kayaking environment should have protection from waves, wind and should provide a nice access to landing. You can check for cal bays and rivers without noticeable current.
Kayaking can be fun if you follow the right safety tips. Being on the water can pose potential hazards but if you are well informed and take the precautions needed, then you can be sure or enjoying your kayaking trip.