One of the best things about kayaking is that it can be an incredibly safe and user-friendly activity. But it’s important to know that when things do go wrong, the fact that you are not on dry land, but water means that situations can become very bad, very fast. This is why it’s extremely important to understand the risks and hazards involved before you go kayaking and that you assume a safety conscious attitude when making decisions on the water.
Now avoiding dangerous situations on the water can be surprisingly easy, and all you have to do is follow a few simple safety rules. Here, we have compiled a list of five essential rules that will drastically improve your safety while you’re on the water:
1.The first one is pretty simple, don’t ever drink alcohol and paddle. The two definitely don’t go well together.
- Always wear a life jacket while you’re on the water, no matter what. One of the biggest reasons that people take it off is because they find it uncomfortable to kayak with it strapped on. But this is incredibly worth the investment in a kayaking-specific life jacket because they are specially designed to be comfortable and as unrestricting as possible when you are sitting or paddling in a kayak.
3.It is highly essential to keep the current conditions in mind before dressing up. Cold water represents the most significant danger because immersion in cold water can quickly lead to hypothermia. If you are still planning on going to paddle in cold or cooler water, you need to be more cautious and moderate with all your decisions especially if you have someone with you. It is necessary to paddle in calm conditions, stay close to the shore and never be alone in case of any emergencies.
- It is highly imperative to choose an appropriate paddling location for your skill level. The ideal kayaking environment for a person or a group has protection from wind and waves, a good and easily reachable access point for launching and landing, lots of places to get ashore and very little motorised boat traffic. You can try out calm bays or quiet lakes and river ways without a noticeable current. As a general rule, if you attempt to go into unknown water that is not protected from wind and waves or if you plan to travel further from shore than you can comfortably swim back, it is highly recommended that you take a sea kayaking course, which among many other things teaches you invaluable water rescue skills.
- The final tip is to practice re-entering your kayak from the water before you have to do it in real life. Re-entering a sit-on-top kayak is a lot easier than a sit-inside kayak because it doesn’t swamp that easily. As a matter of fact, just emptying your sit-inside kayak is a major problem on the water, especially if you don’t have a bulkhead in your kayak, which is simply a wall in the kayak that divides into separate compartments so the whole kayak won’t swamp if you flip it by accident. The thing is, if you can’t re-enter your kayak from the water with confidence, then it is only important that you stay close enough to the shore that you can comfortably swim if need be.