Is kayaking risky? It is the same as asking, is climbing risky? No, but if you do it in the wrong shoes and in adverse weather conditions, the results can be catastrophic. Well, in the kayak, it is the same. But what precautions should we take during our kayak trip? To make your trip safe, here we will mention some useful safety tips for kayaking that you must implement to increase safety in this activity.
Being in the sea, a lagoon, or lake, you must follow specific rules for greater safety in any type of kayak. There are always possibilities of minor injuries or accidents, so common sense and following rules are basic.
Before Going Out To Sea
Review if you carry everything: equipment, safety devices, food, hydration, and first aid kit. Adjust the safety material list according to the type of trip or the environment.
- It is very important that you don’t exceed the maximum load weight for your kayak. This weight varies depending on the boat you own, but the maximum load weight range is 200 Kg. Check the weight allowed for your kayak model.
- If you don’t know how to swim… learn, the time has come.
- Carry the safety elements at hand in case you have to use them in the water. Remember to carry everything you carry on deck. It has only the essentials on the covers.
- Study the weather forecast. Knowing the weather conditions and water temperature is imperative.
- Avoid taking unnecessary risks. Do not go sailing in case of wind, waves, or poor visibility. Keep in mind that on the coast, the weather conditions can change very quickly.
- Make a navigation plan and tell someone on the ground who can notify to the rescue services. Fundamental data of the navigation plan: Departure and arrival points. Scheduled Schedule. Itinerary. Alternatives in case of emergency. Description of the kayaks, their colors, and the number of paddlers. Description and data of their own cars.
- In a group, make a meeting before boarding to know how many we left, where we stopped, and where we disembark. Have someone count the number of kayaks and collect the phones of all the members.
- Study the possible difficulties of the itinerary and prepare a navigation chart noting directions, distances, and landing points in case of emergency. This is very important in case you do not know the navigation area.
- Do not alter the Navigation Plan except by force majeure. If you change it, report it immediately.
- At the end of the journey, always notify the person on the ground who follows the navigation plan.
- Always wear your PFD or life jacket, this is essential and can make a difference in an emergency.
- Don’t take unnecessary risks, know your own physical and technical limits. Know the limits of your colleagues, and do not let them exceed it. Find out with the experience what wind force or waves you can endure when kayaking.
- Avoid sailing alone. Try to do it in a group, it is more fun and much safer (minimum 3 kayaks).
- Maintain visual contact with your traveling companions, especially if you are ahead. The kayaks do not have rear-view mirrors, and that means stopping every so often and seeing where the rear ones go. Don’t delay the group march, and don’t get ahead of yourself. It is preferable to waste time waiting for companions than looking for them in the water.
- Establish a basic signal system for the group.
- Be cautious; if you do nonsense, you put the rest in danger.
- Respect other water users and avoid the risks of shock. We should never assume that the other boat has seen us and will maneuver adequately.
- Avoid going out to sea at sunset; if night falls, it will be complicated to see you.
- There is no need to stray unnecessarily from the coast.
- Wear a helmet in the rockiest areas. The helmet should fit you well, not tightly, comfortably, and have a safety strap that fits over your chin.
- Try to make your kayak and clothes showy colors, although without falling into exaggeration.
- If you have the experience, don’t leave a rookie in distress alone. If you are a novice and you look bad ask for company. Nerves increase if you are alone, and problems get worse.
What Happens If I Fall From The Kayak?
Falling out of the kayak is something that can happen to novices and experts. There are different ways to get back on; according to experts, there is an option that is the easiest for open kayaks.
- If the kayak is flipped, you will need to turn it. To do this, try to get to the bottom, grab the holes in the scuppers. Bring your knees to this part, lie down, and the boat will tip over.
- Next, position yourself with your head close to the boat seating area, facing the kayak. Try to float in the water, push yourself with your feet until you have your navel almost out of the water.
- Reach the furthest part of the boat, then push yourself in, so that your navel is in the boat’s center, specifically the cabin.
- Turn to your back so that you end up in the seat in the correct position. Sit down, swing your feet, and you’re done. You can start again.
If you are in a group, you will receive help, and it will be much easier to return to your boat. But, it is best to know this technique well to avoid giving in to panic.
Common sense is necessary for this practice, avoid taking unnecessary risks, and using the accessories mentioned above correctly. If you are going to kayak with children, pay special attention to safety.
Besides, you should review the conditions of the kayak and accessories. That everything is in perfect condition for a safe and pleasant trip.
Don’t forget that if you are going to spend long periods in the kayak, you should prepare yourself with the appropriate clothes, depending on the weather. If it is very hot, use sunscreen and bring more water. Remember also that what you use may be the difference when you get out of the water if you fall.
Always keep in mind the activities, your abilities, who you are with, and the weather. All this will make the difference in having a pleasant walk. Never forget the life jacket, it is key, it does not matter if you are an expert swimmer, having it increases the chances of surviving in the water, and you will avoid wasting energy.
The use of kayaking is a healthy and exciting practice. You will have unforgettable experiences. You simply must take into account these safety tips for kayaking and always be honest with your own navigation skills.