There’s no denying the fun and exhilaration water sports bring. Amidst the thrill, however, is inevitable danger. You are never risk-free in the waters, deep waters especially.
One of the most loved water sports is kayaking. But as an extreme sport, it poses a lot of safety hazards. A person should be in great physical shape and armed with proper knowledge and equipment to be able to safely manoeuvre a kayak.
Fresh water andpaddlers aim to experience total fun and thrill from kayaking. Safety, however, is an equally important concern, as in any other water activity. Complacency is a total no-no. Be prepared, and never cease to be mindful in the middle of all the excitement, so you can properly deal with whatever circumstances you may encounter as you go paddling.
Here are important safety guidelines to keep in mind when you go kayaking:
Condition yourself physically and mentally
Physical strength and agility are important for an extreme water sport like kayaking. These won’t be enough, though. You also have to acquire enough knowledge and develop presence of mind to help you deal with unexpected occurrences in the waters.
- Know how to swim
- Make sure you are physically able to paddle a kayak
- Let an expert teach you about proper paddling manoeuvres
- Learn how to get yourself back into the kayak if it capsizes
- Under the watch of an expert, try out the kayak before paddling into deep waters, especially if you’re a first-timer
- Always bear in mind all other safety guidelines, kayaking rules and techniques
ALWAYS wear a lifejacket and use proper clothing
Numerous drowning incidents could have been prevented had lifejackets or other personal flotation devices been worn by victims. A kayak doesn’t have the kind of stability thatdo; all the more reason why you need to wear a lifejacket securely, even if you’re an expert swimmer.
- Make sure the lifejacket is fitted and strapped well into your body
- Ensure that it comes with a whistle
- Never take your lifejacket off until you’re safely on land
- Wear an appropriate body suit to keep you warm amidst cold winds and waters
- Wear proper headgear and footwear
Never go paddling alone
As tempting as it is to ride on a kayak alone and bask in nature’s beauty all by yourself, it is also utterly unsafe. So even if you’re an expert and the weather condition is fine, resist paddling alone. If you’re a beginner, make sure that you are accompanied by at least one kayaking expert to help you in difficult situations. There’s just no way of foreseeing what can happen as you venture into the waters. Better be safe than sorry.
Make sure the kayak is in optimum condition
One defect in your kayak is enough reason to cancel your water trip. The kayak and its paddles should be in good condition in order to withstand changing water currents and tides. If you plan to buy your own kayak, choose one from a quality and trusted brand. Here at Waves Overseas, we offer a wide selection of top-quality, durable and budget-friendly kayaks, canoes,, aluminium boats and boating equipment that ensure your safety in the waters.
Check if you have complete equipment
- It is necessary to have what’s called a dry bag, which is a waterproof bag that should contain safety equipment and other things you need as you go paddling.
- Extra clothing
- First-aid kit
- Communication devices
- Signalling devices (e.g., flares, flare guns)
- Safety ropes
- Make sure to bring a spare paddle and place it securely in your kayak.
- Always have with you a paddle bladder, which is an important safety equipment that helps you get back into the kayak in case it capsizes.
- Make sure to have a spray skirt fitted well into the cockpit rim of your kayak. Also ensure the spray skirt fits well around your waist. It will act as a watertight seal to keep water from getting into the kayak.
Check current weather and forecasts
You don’t need a weather expert to tell you if it’s safe for you to go kayaking. You just need to observe the skies and check local weather stations to know. Remember, don’t risk it if the sky is already gloomy or about to get gloomy. This is one thing you can’t miss, especially if you’re already an experienced kayak paddler.
Be aware and mindful of waterway rules
Always be on the lookout. Keep your eyes and ears keen enough to easily spot other vessels passing by the waterways, especially larger vessels. Be careful in crossing channels. When passing by a channel, keep right; and if possible, stay outside the channel and close to the shoreline.
AVOID paddling at night. A kayak, even with proper lighting, might not be spotted well. Lastly, don’t forget to leave a float plan or itinerary to the right people, so help can get to you fast in case of emergencies.
As much as we want to provide you with the best water sport equipment and accessories, we at Waves Overseas are also concerned about your safety. So always bear in mind, when in the waters, play it safe.