Kayaking relies on the proper balance of maneuvers and strokes between the kayak beginner, paddling machine, and paddle.
Even thought kayaking is a physical activity which requires a certain amount of core and arm strength, it is an outdoor activity that is open to virtually anyone. With one or two lessens completed it should be possible to master the most basic rules of this recreational activity.
Here are seven things to help stay safe on a first paddling session:
1 – Companion
For the newly initiated to kayaking, it benefits to start paddling with a companion. A solo kayaking session is rarely recommended – even the most skilled kayakers can get into unexpected difficulties.
Safety is certain to be increased when paddling in a group or at least with a single skilled companion.
2 – Know the Limits
Use waters that match the abilities of both the kayak and paddler. A high-quality kayak is sized in the region of 14-17-ft in length and designed to accept one, two, three kayakers.
A paddle session is certain to be more enjoyable if a decent quality kayak is used.
Certain waters require more skill than others, so avoid paddling in difficult rivers or lakes intended for the skilled kayaker when first starting out.
Plus, it helps to have decent swimming skills to increase safety in the event of capsizing.
3 – Let others know
Let a trust friend hold a kayaking plan which can be used in the event of difficulties and not arriving back at base on time.
A kayaking plan can include details such as the anticipated route, location and time of departure, names of people in the party, and expected time to return to base.
4 – Safety gear
Safety gear is essential on ALL kayaking trips. A standard requirement is the PFD (personal flotation device) which should be the type approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Other safety gear includes protective clothing and footwear which is more important when paddling in cold climates.
It benefits to get outfitted in clothing that matches the water temperature as opposed to the air. A reason for this is that should the kayak capsize you will soon notice how cold the water is without the proper clothing in place. The preferred kayak outfit includes quick-drying and layered clothing.
Plus, for the feet, wear the proper water shoes or strap-on sandals.
Use a dry bag or similar to protect personal gear, valuables, electronics, lunch, etc. Multiple signaling devices should be packed on board the kayak, such as a cell phone, flashlight, or whistle.
5 – Shoreline
Many of the rivers and lakes have large bodies of water which make it possible to become lost if too far from shore or poor weather conditions arrive. Keep the shoreline in sight to avoid getting lost.
6 – Skills
Attend a paddling or safety course to help improve the skills. Kayaking courses are available at local outfitters or similar services related to paddling.
Alternatively, join a kayaking club to help improve the on-water skills.
7 – Weather report
Before heading out on the rivers or lakes make sure to check the local marine weather forecast.
The weather can change quickly on certain stretches of water, which has the potential to swamp a kayak in high wind conditions.