Kayaking is a great, amusing sport. This water activity is easy to learn and doesn’t require that much upper body strength as some may assume. For this sport, you will need a kayak, which is- a small watercraft that is typically propelled by a double-bladed paddle. The right way to paddle is to use your trunk and core to move the boat forward; all you have to do is put your paddle in the water and rotate your core to slightly pull your body towards the paddle. However, despite being an easy sport, it requires some safety measures, so read on to know what they are.
1. No Alcohol or Drugs
Like when doing many other activities, you shouldn’t be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. There are legal repercussions to drinking while kayaking, and it puts your safety while doing the activity in danger as well. The effort you put into kayaking can already be exhausting so adding alcohol or drugs to the equation can affect your body balance and you can overturn the kayak and fall into the water. Besides, alcohol lowers the body temperature, making falling into the cold water extremely dangerous.
2. Safety Gear And Essentials
You should never go kayaking without your safety gear. To maintain your safety on the water, you need to bring along a few essential items. To begin with, you must never go kayaking without your PFD (personal flotation device). Try to find a PFD that fits well so it doesn’t bother you as much. Even if you’re planning to get back early, bring a flashlight or a headlamp. You never know what might go down. Moreover, you should pack a whistle as you might need it to call for help.
Always bring your phone with you. If something goes wrong, you will immediately want to call for help. You can find waterproof phone covers online if you’re worried about your phone getting wet. Lastly, this one is a basic tip: always bring a first-aid kit along.
3. Wear Appropriate Clothes for Your Climate
Wearing appropriate clothes is based on your personal preference and the climate where you are going to go kayaking. One thing that keeps you warm in the water is wet suits which can work in different conditions. If you’re kayaking in colder conditions, you will want to wear some sort of insulating fabric and layer it with a thin layer like jackets or pants. If you’re kayaking in tropical conditions, you will want to wear a bathing suit and layer it with light summer clothes, though you should also bring a jacket just in case.
You would also want to wear sunglasses and maybe a hat too to protect yourself from the sun if it is a sunny day. You can check the weather and wear what you find appropriate for that specific day’s condition. Even if this has been already mentioned: wear your PFD, always!
4. Beware Of the following
There are a few things that you will want to keep an eye out for. For starters, you should never go kayaking without checking the weather. You should as well check the wave tides and always be ready to cancel out your plans if the water or the weather is not stable. Before you go on the water, beware of the shore winds and check the wind conditions as this might make it hard for you to return to the shore. Checkout your kayak’s weight capacity and make sure you’re not exceeding it. Before going on the water, check for tears in your kayak.
5. Take Precautions
Keep in mind that there is no such thing as “being too safe”. Always take precautions whenever you decide to go kayaking. While this might sound weird to some, wearing a helmet is crucial when you go kayaking. Paddling in a surf zone or the river can be dangerous as you might fall out of the boat and hit your head, the helmet just ensures your safety in case that happens. Plan out and train on a self-rescue plan. You should try this out in calm, warm water and then try it out in more extreme conditions with the help of a trainer.
6. Don’t Go Kayaking Alone Or Share Your Plan With Someone
You shouldn’t be out on the water alone especially if you’re new to the sport. Make kayaking a group activity just in case things don’t go as planned so that you can each help one another. If you decide to go alone, make sure you tell someone about your plans, including where you’re going, when you’re going, and how long they should expect you to be gone. In case something does happen, that person will be able to help you.
Make sure you follow the previously mentioned tips whenever you’re out on the water to have a safe and fun kayaking trip. Take all the necessary precautions and remember to prioritize your wellbeing at all times and never risk your safety, even if it means canceling plans last minute.
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