Kayaking is a fantastic sport, but you don’t need us to tell you that. The barrier of entry is low too. This means you can be out on the water with your own kayak in no time at all.
However, as with any activity involving the great outdoors, it is best not to take things for granted.
While we hope you will never go kayaking alone as a beginner, these 5 tips will help ensure that you take responsibility for your own well being while enjoying this wonderful sport.
Choose the right kayak for your needs
Kayaks actually come in two main styles. Depending on the type of kayaking you plan to do, will determine the style of kayak you should use.
First off, there is the sit on top style kayak. These are generally used for recreational paddling on large lakes or slow moving rivers. If you do not plan on going long distances this style is the one for you.
The other style kayak sees you sitting inside the body of the craft. These are better for longer distances, open seas and faster rivers.
Length is also something you need to think about here. Most users find shorter kayaks easy to manoeuvre, while longer boats are better for those that wish to paddle for longer distances.
It is unwise to use the wrong kayak for any given environment. At the very least you will find your progress hampered by inefficiency; at the very worst, you may find yourself in a situation where your kayak isn’t up to the task, and you could be in danger.
Know the rules and use your head
Knowing the rules of the water is especially important when others are out there enjoying the pleasures it has to offer too.
From fellow paddlers, to swimmers to motorboat owners, there is a level of etiquette and safety that has to be employed.
In many ways it is like the rules of the road: those that are most vulnerable should pay extra heed to their position in the scheme of things. And while motor boats are meant to give you a clear berth of 100 feet while you’re your kayak, you’re going to end up a lot worse off should a collision occur – which means you need to be very aware of your surroundings.
Packing the right gear
There’s a lot of potential accessories when it comes to kayaking. As a beginner you will not have everything from the start – however, there are a few items that are essential, (apart from the obvious life jacket).
A dry bag should be one of the first items on your list. This closes up to be watertight and is very much needed for packing away your cell phone, money and dry clothes.
What you wear and the extra clothes you bring are also an important consideration. Dress adequately for the weather and the water temperature, (and for the amount of exertion you are likely to spend, too many layers and you’ll end up in a sweaty mess).
Water shoes are an essential requirement in case you go under.
If the sun is shining, you will want to have sun screen; there’s not a lot of shade out there on the water.
No matter the length of your trip, make sure you have enough water to hydrate yourself, plus a snack or two. All of this will be packed away in your dry bag too.
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Be aware of the weather
Before you even leave the house you should check online for the weather conditions in the area you plan to kayak in.
While out on the water you should be keeping an eye on the sky too. Watch for any foreboding looking cloud cover or sudden increase in winds.
If a storm is brewing, you should head for land and get out of the water as soon as you can.
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Be safe / have fun
In most states through out the US, it is illegal to go kayaking without a personal flotation device, or life jacket. Why anyone would want to break this law is another matter.
A sobering statistic for you: the U.S. Coast Guard has stated that 90% of victims that have drowned in a boating accident would have survived if a life jacket had been worn.
Safety first, the fun will naturally follow.
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Image Credits: Pixabay