Kayaking is a very popular recreational activity that can offer hours of fun if safety measures are followed.
Like all sports, there are dangers if precautions are not taken.
Here are some safety rules and tips that should be adhered to at all times:
Weather and Water Alerts
Those who enjoy water activities know they should be aware of water temperatures and change in the weather at all times. Ignoring these two factors can lead to significant harm and in some cases death. Always be prepared to take action if weather conditions change not in your favor. Weather conditions obviously cause water currents that could capsize your kayak putting you in harm’s way.
- It is strongly suggested that you wear a wet/dry suit to keep you warm should waters turn colder than normal. The suit will also protect you should something happen and you do capsize, giving you time to get your kayak back in an upright position. You should also don a long sleeve shirt to protect your skin from the sun or use a good sunscreen with a high SPF of 15 or higher.
- Kayaking rules for clothing pretty much depend on whether you are sitting in a kayak or one that you sit on top. Obviously, if you are in a sit-in kayak you will get better protection from the elements than riding on top.
Boat Rules Should Be Followed By All
- The same water rules adhered by sailboats and speedboats should be followed by kayaks. Always be aware of wind conditions off shore that could impair your ability to return to shore. Boating rules are in place for a reason and that is to protect all who are on the water. You should know and follow all the boating rules for the area you will be in.
- Know the weight capacity of your kayak and never exceed that amount. Check all your equipment to make sure everything is in proper condition. All equipment should be checked thoroughly before ever leaving shore.
- You should never be on medications, whether non-prescription or prescription and never drink alcohol. More deaths on the water have occurred by those who do not follow this advice.
- As a kayaker, you should be fully trained on proper paddling techniques, first aid and water safety. If you have not been trained, do not go out on a kayak until you are properly trained.
- Do a mental check list of all self-rescue tips for all elements of weather and water conditions. What to do in calm, shallow, warm waters as well as extreme weather and water conditions.
- Make sure you have your personal flotation device (PFD) with you at all times. Be Aware, the U.S. Coast Guard regulations require all kayakers have a life jacket on board at all times. Before taking off from the shore, put on your life jacket. Should you capsize your life jacket will keep your head above water and keep you afloat until help can reach you or you can adjust your kayak back to an upright position. There are specific life jackets that are designed for paddlers, get one that fits properly and always wear it when paddling.
- If you will be kayaking on a river or surf zone, always wear a helmet as this form of kayaking is a great deal more dangerous.
- Make sure you have water and food with you to keep yourself hydrated.
- Make sure someone knows your kayaking plan. Where you are going, how long you expect to be gone and what you plan on doing. Also, let them know if there are others in your party and make sure you stay together and you stick to your plan. Should something happen, this person will be able to alert authorities that could save your life.
- If you are visiting an area you have never been before, check with people who know the currents, weather patterns and offshore conditions. Find out where there are escape routes, should the weather turn nasty and you need to get out of the water quickly.
Following these kayaking rules and regulations will allow you to have a great kayaking adventure that is safe and fun.
Stay Safe, Stay Out Of Trouble, Stay Alive!
- Before heading out on your kayak there are certain things you should know ahead of time. Whether a canoe or a kayak, there are items you are required to have on board. Do a mental checklist to make sure all safety measures and equipment are in place and all recommendations and requirements are going to be implemented.
- If possible, do not go out alone. It’s always a good idea to have at least one other person in your party. Not only is it safer, but is a heck of a lot more fun.
- Stay away from wildlife, whether they are cute or not, you should never attempt to approach them. They are wild for a reason. Do not harm the environment Do Not Liter, it’s disrespectful to others and is bad for water life.
- Always be aware of other boats in the area, kayaks are small and can be hard for larger boats to pick up on.
What is required?
Kit to comply with kayaking rules, U.S. Coast Guard, and state law include:
- Personal flotation device (PFD)
- Whistle (or similar LOUD, noise making device)
- Helmet (a must-have safety feature for whitewater paddling)
- White light (LED lights, torch, etc.) for night time kayaking