Kayaking is a fun and unique way to explore new places and see the beautiful nature around you. Compared to most other outdoor activities that require walking or hiking, you get to give your legs a rest and give your arms a bit of a workout. The risk of getting hurt while kayaking is low, however, because kayaking deals with water, bad situations have the potential to become very serious very quickly. So here are some essential kayaking tips so you can stay safe and have fun.
1. Safety First
When you are out on the water, your first priority is staying safe, so always wear a PFD (personal flotation devices) – also known as a life jacket. Make sure it fits tightly and is only loose enough so that it won’t interfere with your breathing. Also, it is a good idea to pedal with others. It is more fun and also safer in case of an emergency. Having a kayaking buddy is also advised if you are using a covered sit-in a kayak because if you capsize, one kayak can be used to prop up the other kayak in order to tip the water out.
2. Be Visible
Always wear bright colors on your kayak, paddle and clothing can go a long way. This not only improves your chances in the event of an emergency but also helps motorized water vehicles spot you and give you the space you need to be safe.
3. Secure Your Belongings
While kayaking alone you should always pack communication devices such as mobile phones, VHF radio, whistle, torch, water and light snacks, waterproof bags, and pouches to protect electric and personal items. You also need skin and eye protection. Get a quality dry bag, and make sure it is securely attached to your kayak when you head out.
4. Get A Good Kayak
Having the right equipment is key for your safety and good time kayaking. If you are just starting out you can choose a “sit-on-top” kayak rather than a “sit-in” kayak. Sit-on-top kayaks are easy to get on and off of, so they are good for casual uses, they are easier to paddle because they have an open-top. They are comfortable when air and water are warm and they have scupper holes that make them self-draining. They are usually wider, more stable, and much more comfortable compared to sit-in kayaks that are more narrow, move faster, track straight, and have covered cargo compartments. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, there are blogs that compare Kayak features to help you understand the differences. Look for ones that are good for peddling to a destination because it is more efficient. Also, make sure they are comfortable when air and water are cold and the position of your body will give you great control, which is useful in rough water.
5. Know The Limits To Your Boat
You should always research your kayaks because each type is intended for a certain type of peddling. For example, recreational kayaks are stable but slow and don’t handle rough conditions well. On the other hand, sea kayaks are built to handle the rough conditions of open waters but are fairly unstable. Know how your kayak was designed and also it is important to be aware of the conditions of your boat. Inspect it regularly for damage or wear that clouds its seaworthiness.
6. Know The Area
While starting out in familiar places is a good idea, solo kayakers no doubt will want to try somewhere new. Before taking your kayak in the water, get to know the area on land, taking note of landmarks and distances between then, if you are peddling on a canal or river. For sea kayaking, have a look at the coastline’s topography so you won’t be surprised by having to navigate a rocky area. It is also important to be aware of others around you such as other peddlers and boats. Always avoid areas popular for power vessels for safety.
7. Take A Peddling Class
With peddling class, not only will you learn how to pedal but you can also improve your peddling technique, and learn how to avoid and deal with emergency situations. You can also meet other people in your area and go paddling with them, especially if you are a beginner – because peddling in groups is safer.
Safety should always be your first priority especially if you peddle alone. Remember to check your gear before use so you don’t have to worry about that while you enjoy the beautiful site of nature and calming water sounds. So be safe and have fun on the water.