5 essential kayaking safety tips

November 3, 2015

Kayaking is a wonderful activity for people who love to spend time in the outdoors. However, there are some risks and dangers associated with the sport. Check out this helpful safety info:

5 essential kayaking safety tips

1. Only go out in good weather

Anyone who is interested in learning to kayak should know several essential, basic safety tips to keep them safe when they're out on the water.

  • One of the most basic rules of kayaking is to go out only when the weather is good. Stormy weather can create dangerous waves and high wind can tip over kayaks and cause people to capsize.
  • Be sure to check the weather forecast, the expected wind gusts, and the tide to ensure that you don't experience any unexpected hazards.

2. Wear a life jacket

Life jackets are flotation devices that kayakers should always wear to keep them afloat if they fall in the water.

  • Life jackets help kayakers conserve energy, as well as ensure that kayakers won't have to tread water if they lose their kayak.
  • Life jackets also will help keep a person's head out of the water should they lose consciousness due to cold water shock.
  • The vibrant colours of life jackets make it easier for rescuers to locate kayakers in peril.

3. Let someone know your plan

Always let someone who is staying back on dry land know your kayaking plan.

  • Give them an overview of your route and your time schedule so that they know where you should be, and when.
  • This will ensure that in case something goes wrong or you don't show up when expected, they have a general idea of where to look for you.

4. Bring sufficient water

You always need to bring sufficient water with you on a kayaking trip.

  • Water helps kayakers stay hydrated and will help you survive if you get stranded.
  • A general rule of thumb for kayakers is one gallon of water per day per kayaker.

5. Stay away from rough water

Unless you're a trained white water kayaker, the easiest way to stay safe on a kayaking trip is to avoid rough water.

  • Never paddle into rapids or rough waves on purpose just because they look fun and adventurous. Travelling into rough water increases the risk of capsizing and losing the kayak to the waves.
  • If possible, paddle around rough patches in your kayak, or simply wait for a strong batch of waves to pass.

Kayaking is a fun and exciting sport, but it can be dangerous if you are unprepared. Follow this guide and plan your kayaking adventure before heading out.

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