KAYAKING SAFETY TIPS : STAY SAFE ON THE WATER

When we talk about any of the water sports, then safety is always a concern. Just few precautions and safety guidelines to help you enjoy and stay comfortable while going out for water sports activity like kayaking. Let’s look at some of the basic safety guidelines while going out for kayaking, which are as follows:

CHECK OUT THE WEATHER:
Always check the forecast and the local weather i.e. if there is any possibility of rain, strong wind, lightening, etc. then better to put off your day for kayaking. Because it gets risky to go for kayaking in unsettled weather conditions. If the weather report predicts the calm and pleasant weather condition, then your enjoyment gets doubled for sure. It’s also good to gather the info about currents, tides, places to avoid and any other local hazards from the local paddlers before planning to go out for kayaking. The more info you gather, the more it helps you decide when is the safest time to go for kayaking.

HAVE PROPER EQUIPMENTS:
It’s very important to have all the basic essential gears i.e. kayak, double-bladed paddle, helmet, life-jacket, safety goggles, waterproof bag, whistle, and phone/VHF radio for communication, with you while going out for kayaking. It’s also advised to check the condition of your equipment i.e. whether any of the gear is in wear and tear condition. Always have the equipment which are in good condition before you head out for kayaking, which is very essential to stay safe.

APPROPRIATE CLOTHING:
Always choose a dress for the day i.e. choose your clothes according to the climate. If the day is expected to be sunny, then choose your clothes according to that and if the day is a little cold, then wear clothes according to that. And it’s also best to wear water-resistant clothes, so that you’ll not get wet easily by water splashes or small waves. Better wear full-sleeve t-shirt, it also helps to protect you from sun-tanning or you can also wear clothes in layers. If your clothes are too tight or heavy, then it gets difficult for you to paddle your kayak properly and to swim in case your kayak flips. The more appropriate your clothes are, the more comfortably you paddle and the more you are on the move. And never forget to wear your PFD (Personal Floating Device) to stay safe in case your kayak flips.

KNOW YOUR LIMITS:
Always go slow especially if you are a beginner. Don’t push yourself too much, don’t try to be a hero, and don’t try new techniques or new paths especially if you are alone. It’s always best to know your limits and enjoy around that. And always cover that much distance which is easier for you to return back from. If you want to try something new, better to try in your class under the guidance of an expert. But when you go out for kayaking without the expert, then it’s better to stay in your limits and stay safe.

LEARN PROPERLY:
Always take an introductory class from an expert to know everything about kayaking in depth i.e. how to maintain balance while sitting in your kayak, how to hold your paddle, how to launch your kayak, basic kayak strokes, how to take safety measures, how to take help in case your kayak flips, how to re-enter your kayak after you fall into the water, learn to rescue, learn basic boat rules, etc. Don’t try anything on your own, firstly learn and then implement. From an expert, you’ll also get to know about which place is safe or which place should be avoided, and when is the safest time to go for kayaking and return. In short, learn everything about kayaking to stay safe when you are on the move.

BETTER TO GO IN GROUP:
It’s always best to go for kayaking in a group or with your friend. Going out in a group not only helps to have more fun while experiencing this adventure but you also get the help in case you get in some trouble. You can handle the situation better and can easily get rescued if a need arises, when you are with someone especially if you are a beginner. If you are an expert, then it’s still ok to go solo, but even then you’ll get the benefit in some unpredictable situations when you go with someone. And it’s also suggested to make and share your paddle plan with your group and try to stick to that. And it’s also good to learn hand gestures to communicate with each-other when you are going in a group. Consider these basic tips to stay safe while going out for kayaking.

WISELY CHOOSE YOUR LOCATION:
There are plenty of kayaking spots where you can enjoy this activity. But it’s very important to choose the location according to your capability, experience, and skills. Always start in shallow and calm waterways to learn the skills. After you gain the experience, now you can change the location and navigate on little unstable waterways and so on. Don’t be over-confident and choose the location wisely by considering your safety as a priority.

KNOW THE WATER TEMPERATURE:
It’s very important to know the water-temperature when you are planning to go out. As cold water is dangerous because it reduces your muscle strength and judgment, so you should know the basics of cold water safety tips for sure. In case you fall in cold water i.e. temperature less than 60 degree Fahrenheit, it will shock your body and will make it difficult for you to swim. When you go for kayaking in cold water, then you must wear a wet-suit. Before heading towards kayaking, better to know the water temperature and then plan your trip accordingly to stay safe.

PFD:
Personal Floating Device is a must to wear when you go out for any water based activity. It’s always suggested to wear your life-jacket or any other PFD throughout the trip and never remove this in-between. Even special PFD’s are also available which are designed for paddlers. Make sure it fits you properly. It’s the best safety gear in case you fall in the water.

 

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