Kayaking has become very popular as a sport, diving or fishing activity. This is because kayaks are highly adaptable and convenient for multiple uses. However, as with any water activities, danger lurks and great caution should be exercised while kayaking to make your experience memorable and incident free and mitigate any mishaps that may happen while you are in the water.
Whether you are just beginning or are a professional, the following five tips will help you have a safe and fun kayaking experience and will prove useful in case a mishap happens while you are kayaking.
- Be aware of the water temperatures and weather conditions before setting out. This will help you prepare for any weather changes and the possibility of capsizing. Understanding the temperature and weather conditions will also help you wear appropriate clothing for a comfortable kayaking experience. If the water temperatures are low, a dry suit or wetsuit will keep you warm or comfortable while a long-sleeved shirt will provide you with protection from the sun. Furthermore, you should be aware of off-shore winds which may make it difficult for you to return to shore and plan appropriately.
- Wear appropriate clothes depending on the weather. To have a memorable and fun kayaking experience, you need to feel comfortable and the clothing you wear determines your comfort. If you are using a sit-in kayak, you will be shielded from some weather elements while sit-on-tops leave you generally exposed.
- Check your kayak and gear for wear and tear before setting out. There are many elements and forces in play while kayaking so having well-maintained equipment ensures that you are protected. You should also not exceed the weight limits of your kayak as that destabilizes the kayak and may cause capsizing.
- Do not forget to always wear your personal floatation device. Most jurisdictions require that every boat have a lifejacket on board. A lifejacket will not only keep your head above water in case you capsize but will also act as insulation to keep your body warm as you wait for help. If you will be paddling in rivers or surf zones, you need to wear a helmet to cushion you from injuries in case of collisions.
- Have a plan and stick to it! The plan should include where you will be kayaking, with whom and for how long. It is also important to tell someone about your plan to make rescues easier if an incident happens when you out there. Remember to carry plenty of water and food too to keep you hydrated and energized. Lastly, follow the boating regulations in the jurisdiction to avoid fines and incidents.
Following the above simple rules will not only ensure you have a fun and safe kayaking experience, but you will also be well prepared for delays and incidents. Remember to have at all the times the right equipment and gear, appropriate clothing, plenty of food and water and use common sense to have fun and memorable experiences kayaking.
Guest post by Lynn Genah
About the Author
Lynn Genah is a writer and an editor at The Best Specs.
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