Kayaking is one of the most incredible ways to spend time outdoors and explore the scenic nature all around you. Many people may be eager to give kayaking a try but have a few concerns around just how safe it actually is. As with many outdoor sports, there are a few risks involved, but you can take several safety precautions.
Despite the potential risks involved, there are many ways to ensure that you stay safe while kayaking. Some essential safety tips to follow are things like checking weather conditions, dressing appropriately, informing others of your outing, and wearing a life jacket.
There are already so many things in this world to worry or stress about, but do not let something like uncertainty stop you from experiencing the joyous adventure that kayaking has to offer! Let us get you ready for your next kayaking adventure by providing some essential safety tips.
Staying Safe While Kayaking
As with almost all sports and recreational activities, there is always the risk of things going wrong, with injury being the most common consequence. It is entirely understandable why some people haven’t experienced the excitement of kayaking due to the fear or perceived risk of being out on the water.
It is good to be aware of all risks involved when kayaking rather than being oblivious. However, although these are entirely legitimate concerns, there are many various things that you can do to ensure maximum safety while kayaking, from preparation beforehand to being equipped to handle problematic situations if or when they arise.
Being aware of the risks involved and the conditions you will be facing and ultimately being prepared accordingly is the most crucial step you need to take to ensure a great time out on the water!
Kayaking Safety Tips
Here are a couple of essential tips to keep in mind to ensure your safety while kayaking:
Check The Weather Conditions
Our first point is to do with preparation beforehand. Unfavorable weather conditions can make for a challenging and potentially dangerous time out on the water, particularly for a more inexperienced kayaker.
For example, strong winds can make paddling extremely difficult by reducing your overall kayak control and ultimately tire out even the fittest and experienced kayakers. This can, of course, be even more problematic if the direction of the wind pushes you away from the shore or your launching point, preventing you from getting to safety.
You should also keep a close eye on any storm warnings, as you wouldn’t want to be caught in one of those while out on the water.
If you are looking into ocean kayaking specifically, make sure to do some research into things like the height of the waves and how frequently they are breaking. A more experienced adrenaline-seeking kayaker might enjoy some rougher seas, but this can be dangerous for those not used to handling a kayak in these conditions.
Ultimately, when planning your kayaking outing, do your best to be flexible and move your trip to another day if the weather is less than favorable. Rather be on the safe side and only go kayaking in ideal weather conditions.
Dress Appropriately For The Conditions
Our second tip is linked to the first but is important enough to have its own section. Being aware ahead of time of the weather conditions is necessary to ensure that you are appropriately dressed for whatever you will be exposed to.
If you are kayaking in warmer weather, ensure that you wear comfortable clothing with breathable material. Also, if you will be kayaking in very open and sunny spots, make sure to wear a hat and put on a lot of sunscreen. The majority of kayaking outings involve a good few hours in the sun, so be sure to keep yourself protected.
Let Others Know Where You’ll Be Going
In many cases, kayaking involves driving a little further out to reach some of the more remote, scenic kayaking spots. This can understandably be a little daunting for some from a safety perspective, mainly if the location is far away enough to cause poor cellphone service.
It is always a great idea to let a few people know where you will be going for your kayaking outing, and if possible, a rough time of when you can expect to be back and what to do if they do not hear from you. This will give you a lot more peace of mind as a kayaker, knowing that if something were to go pear-shaped, you have a few people ready to help you out.
Wear A Life Jacket
Having a life jacket with you while kayaking can save your life. It is required by law to have a United States Coast Guard (USCG) approved life jacket for each person aboard a kayak.
Make sure to buy one of good quality and that it fits you perfectly. However, it isn’t law for people over the age of 13 to wear a life jacket at all times while kayaking, but it is certainly recommended for your safety.
Know The State Kayaking Laws and Regulations
The laws are regulations for kayaking are implemented for your safety. The majority of the laws around kayaking are the same across each state. However, some might have a few unique laws that you would need to know. Ensure you inform yourself of your state’s laws and regulations for kayaking to ensure that you remain safe and compliant.
Don’t Go Kayaking Alone
Two is almost always better than one, which is especially true when it comes to kayaking. Making sure that you have a friend or family member to go kayaking with you can go a long way in terms of your safety. That way, if anything happens to go wrong, like one of you incurring an injury, you know that someone is right there to help out immediately.
Take A Kayaking Safety Course
Many people often overlook taking a kayaking safety course, but they are highly beneficial for all kayakers. Kayaking safety courses will equip you with everything you need to know, including the basics of kayaking, how to handle rough waters, how to roll a kayak, and even more advanced rescue techniques like performing a wet exit.
Being prepared with the essential techniques for control and safety is a great way to make sure that you are confident for your next kayaking outing.
Kayaking is such a fun way to spend time in nature. Ensuring that you are properly prepared can make a world of difference to your experience. Many of the most common mishaps on the water can be avoided by following these kayak safety recommendations. Lastly, remember to have fun!