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Kayak Safety Tips To Live By

Kayak Safety Tips To Live By

Kayak safety tips to live by

Kayaking will give you a tonne of memories, pump up your adrenaline and satiate your desire for water sports for a long time. But, safety first. Here is a exhaustive list of kayak safety tips that can prepare you for the upcoming adventure.

Basic guidelines

Start by checking the weather conditions, the weather forecast will tell you a lot about how to plan ahead of your adventure. Avoid kayaking when adverse weather predictions have been cited. Keep dry bags on board. Look out for potential hazards, heavy rain indication and bad weather. Calm conditions will make your experience smooth and relaxing. Paddling in a dangerous situation will lead to stress and unwanted pressure so always plan ahead. Keep a spare paddle on board, memorize safety techniques and learn safety rules of entering and re entering the kayaks.

Paddle in your skill level

Planning a trip within your capabilities is essential. If you are planning to kayak at the sea then it is a good idea to take a sea kayaking course. Know what the coast guard regulations require. Learn basic self rescue tactics. Sea kayaks will vary from flat water kayaks.

Work as a Team

Make sure every person in your team understands the risks and safety guidelines. Each member should undertand their role. Especially those who are paddling, should have a clear idea of what to do and how to move the kayak around safely. You should be able to comfortably swim around the quiet lakes in case of sudden immersion.

Plan your route

Your kayaking adventure will turn out to be more memorable if you look for places that are better-suited for kayaking rather than random water bodies. So, look for an appropriate paddling location. Avoid kayaking in poor visibility, always tell at least one person who is not on the kayak about your expected time of return.

Research your route, make sure to you know the route and the landscape both. It is a good idea to research the traffic in the area that you are planning to kayak at. You should be mindful of other travellers, the chances of bumping into someone, whether there is nearby support in case it's needed, where will you stop for rest and the plan to return. Make sure you calculate the time needed to get to your location, rest and paddle back to the point zero.

Why is Kayak Safety Important?

Kayaking is not a life threatening sport, especially when you practice adequate safety practices.

Dress appropriately

Getting a PFD (personal flotation device) is essential. Make sure everyone has theirs as well. Depending on the water temprature wear a wet suit or a dry suit. Dress in layers.

Wear sun protection and SPF.

Avoid wearing cotton. Because, cotton will remain wet, clothing made from synthetic fabrics will be a better choice. It is quick drying and will offer wind-protection.

Dress according to the weather conditions, account for the water temperature, add a water-resistant layer, pack shades for a sunny day and some snacks.

Dress for immersion

The paddling rule of thumb is: dress for immersion, or: dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature. Cotton not only gets wet fast, it stay wet for a long time. Wear clothes on both top and bottom made of quick-dry materials like nylon and polyester. 

Check out a wide collection of everything you can add to your wardrobe for this trip.

Practice basic safety maneuvers

Pack safety equipment, this means you should have a spare paddle, a first aid kit, life jackets and a floating tube onboard. Have a basic first aid kit on board for minor accidents such as getting brushed by tree branches or other times is always a good idea, not that you will have to use it.

Plus, for safety, learn self rescue tricks, know how to navigate in case of an emergency, have a safety plan in place. This includes keeping a cellphone that has reach onboard. Keep people updated about your expected time of return. Before the plan talk about swimming with your gang and find out if everyone is comfortable swimming should there be a need. Check the water and tides beforehand. Also remember to keep heads safe in all crisis, do not panic, with teamwork and proper planning you can stay safe in the least foreseeable events.

You should be aware of your fitness levels as well as your team's. Learn the main kayaking strokes and make sure that everyone on board knows them as well. Keep drinking water onboard for any trip at all. Physcial activities can be dehydrating, especially if it is a sunny day. You should have adequate drinking water to support your plan.

Wear a life jacket

Make sure your life jacket is suitable for paddling. Kayaking specific PFDs have large armholes and keep the bulk of the flotation away from the shoulders and upper chest to give you the fullest range of arm and upper body motion while paddling. Life jackets are essential even on calm waters. Invest in great pfds designed specifically for kayaking or paddling. 

If you are in a pinch just buy one from here.

Don't drink and paddle

The last thing you want it feeling a bit whoozy when paddling. It will give you brain fog even if you are a little tipsy. The amount of physical acitvity will drain you out if you are also drinking. You can always stop at a serene spot, have a drink take a little break and return to paddling again. But, be mindful of the amount you are taking and it's effect on your body. It is not fun to be trapped.

How likely is it to flip a kayak?

Kayaks are generally safe to use and hardly tip over. Nevertheless, the risk of tipping depends on the sort of kayak and the type of water where you are paddling. For example, it's extremely hard to tip over when paddling with a recreational kayak on a relatively calm river — unless you really want it to trip over.

Which is safer sit in or sit on kayak?

There's no question that a sit inside kayak will perform better than a sit on top kayak. There are several reasons for this: Your center of gravity is lower, which allows the kayak to be narrower and still maintain stability. A narrower kayak moves through the water more efficiently than the wider sit-on-top.

What risks are involved in kayaking?

Look out for and avoid possible hazards such as overhanging or submerged tree branches, a high volume of water, unpredictable currents or a large swell, cold water, other craft, marine life or snakes.

What do you do if your kayak flips over?

Position yourself on the side of your kayak directly in the middle. Boost your body over the top of your overturned kayak and grab the opposite side/edge with your hands. Slowly pull the kayak towards your body and roll it right-side up as you slide back into the water. Placid river levels and flat water bodies are ideal for paddling to reduce flip over risk.

Is kayaking beginner friendly?

Kayaking is a great sport for any beginner to learn. Like cycling, it's relatively simple to pick up. Within a few hours you'll be paddling along happily. There are so many different types of kayaks used for kayaking – from flatwater kayaking to sea kayaking and whitewater kayaking.

For beginners, it is ideal to plan an adventure with an experienced instructor the first time. Or having an experienced kayaker onboard. Experienced kayakers will have a lot of insight to offer to make kayaking adventures seamless. Learn how to retrieve the kayak from the water, make sure every person is wearing a personal floatation device, there is adequate safety gear in place and that you are prepared.

Remember to read through these safety tips before the adventure. And remember to have fun when you are at it! Happy Kayaking!

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