4 need-to-know tips for winter kayaking

November 3, 2015

Kayaking in the winter presents more challenges and risks than the summer. It's more important than ever to follow these safety tips to avoid potentially fatal situations.

4 need-to-know tips for winter kayaking

4 need-to-know tips to kayak in winter

Kayaking is a fun outdoor activity that allows people to take in the beauty of nature.

  • Although the summer months are a popular time for kayaking, it's possible to kayak in the winter if you follow a few simple tips and stay warm.

1. Dress for the water temperature

When you kayak, there's always a chance that you'll tip over and fall into the water, even if you're an extremely experienced kayaker.

  • No matter what the air temperature, make sure you dress for the temperature of the water in case you get wet.
  • Wear a dry suit, waterproof socks, water shoes and other protective clothing under your outerwear.
  • Dressing for the water temperature can help you avoid hypothermia in case of an unexpected accident.

2. Wear a life vest

It's more important in winter than in any other season to wear a life vest.

  • Life vests help keep you afloat and allow you to keep your mouth and nose above the water, which is particularly important if you experience shock from the cold water.
  • Life vests help you conserve energy if you fall into the water and reduce the need to tread water.
  • Life vests also make rescuing a capsized kayaker easier because they help you remain visible and above the water.

3. Be careful on the shoreline

In the winter, the shoreline will probably be very slippery and may be covered in ice.

  • Be very careful when entering the water with your kayak, and walk slowly and deliberately to avoid injury.
  • It's a good idea to prepare for a difficult landing, since slippery shorelines can make it challenging to land a kayak, crawl over icy ground and travel over dry land.

4. Travel with a friend

  • Kayaking is an activity you can do on your own, but it's essential that you travel with at least one other person during the winter.
  • Because the risks are much greater due to cold water and slippery conditions during the winter, you may need assistance from another person should anything go wrong.
  • Make sure that both you and the other person are trained, experienced kayakers because safe winter kayaking requires an advanced skill level.
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