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1. Kayak Safety
Safety - Basic Precautions
on Friday 13 August 2010
by Kayak_Kev author list print the content item create pdf file of the content item
in Getting Started
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Basic Kayak Safety/Precautions

  • Never Paddle Alone - We highly recommend kayaking with a group of 3 or more individuals and we do not condone paddling alone. Even if there are 30 kayakers, you should have a pre-established "buddy system." This buddy system ensures that no one paddler is left alone.

  • Know Your Limits - Every kayaker has a different endurance level; don't be afraid to let other paddlers know you're getting worn down. Equally important, routinely check your fellow kayakers to ensure they aren't showing various signs of fatigue. The worst thing you can do is end up becoming too fatigued because you decided to paddle too far for too long. Your energy isn't only required for traveling, but also for emergency situations such as falling into the water. Know your experience level and abilities; don't tackle something you're unprepared for just because the group is going that way. Communication is key!

  • Swimming Experience - Never try kayaking unless you are 100% certain you can swim for a sufficient amount of time. For an average swimmer, kayaking is more than safe. Your buddy should never be more than a short swim away. Realistically, swimming to your buddy's boat should be the farthest distance you should have to swim.

  • Re-Entering Your Kayak - Before you begin your kayaking trip, you should be able to get back into your kayak on your own (known as a wet entry). Although it involves getting wet, it's an important step. If you enter your kayak incorrectly you will fill the cockpit with water, making any future 'wet entry' attemps near impossible. Practice which method works best for you. We'll add an article on this shortly.

  • Weather Conditions - Check the weather before you plan your kayaking adventure. Continually check the weather and understant what various weather patterns mean. A fast moving storm can change the conditions of the water without notice. A massive collection of new walkie talkies have weather channels on them. Some even have weather alerts that will turn on if there is a storm advisory.

  • Route Planning - Have a pre-determined route that you're going to travel. Ensure that each person in your group understands the route that you're taking, the checkpoints you'll be breaking at and the final destination location. It's also very wise to notify someone else that is not on the trip of the time you are expecting to return. (If possible, bring cellphones in dry bags to check in with others)

  • Bring Proper Gear - It's extremely important that you have the proper gear; both on you and in your boat. Never get in a kayak without having thought about what you might need. This includes a PFD (personal flotation device), hydration, bilge pumps, etc. You should also wear high visibility gear so that other boaters can easily spot you. (Whether in an emergency situation or just to avoid collission.)

Author: Kevin Johnson
Editor: Cory Brody

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