Kayaking; a recreational and sporting activity is becoming popular all over the world. However, as with other recreational and sport activities, there is a possibility or injury or fatalities if great care and caution is not exercised. It is therefore very important to follow the following safety rules and use common sense at all times to be safe during kayaking.
- Before setting out, be conversant with the weather conditions and water temperatures. You should also be prepared for any sudden weather changes and the possibility of capsizing. If the temperatures are low, a dry suit or wet suit will help keep you warm and if the weather is warm consider carrying a long-sleeved shirt to protect your arms from the sun.
- Invest in proper gear and clothing depending on the climate. You can choose between sit-in kayaks that offer protection against weather elements sit-on-tops kayaks that are more exposed depending on the season or conditions at the time.
- Always be aware of offshore-winds. If possible avoid them as they may make returning to shore difficult.
- Follow the local boating rules. Each jurisdiction has its own rules and regulations and it is important to be conversant with them before you set out.
- Do not using drugs or alcohol while kayaking. Drugs and alcohol impair your judgment, which may put you into risk of capsizing or drifting.
- Do not exceed the recommended load capacity of your kayak as extra loads may destabilize it in water. It is also important to check your kayak and equipment for wear and tear before you start to paddle.
- IF you are starting out, you should seek training from qualified instructors to learn about proper paddling skills, water safety rules and first aid.
- Wear your flotation device at all times. Most regulators require that kayaks have a life jacket on board. The life jacket helps keep you head above water and also helps keep your body warm in cold water and are helpful to search and rescue personnel as they are reflective helping emergency responders spot you easily in case of an accident.
- Have a paddle plan and stick to it. It is also important to tell someone about you plan including; where you plan to go, for how long and with how many people.
- If you are paddling in rivers or surf zones, always wear a helmet as those are more dangerous and a helmet will protect your head from injuries in case of a collusion or accident.
- Bring plenty of food and water with you. Winds may delay you offshore and having plenty of food and water ensures you are not only hydrated but can also sit them out before returning to shore.
- If paddling in a new locality, always check out with the locals to understand the currents, shoreline and the weather patterns in the locality. Such information will help you plan your paddling efficiently and also plan for any weather contingencies.
These are just but a few rules that will keep you safe while you have fun kayaking. It is also important to use common sense at all times such as checking tides and weather conditions before kayaking. Also, planning in advance is a prerequisite to having an adventurous kayaking excursion. It not only enables to be aware of local weather conditions, nature of the shoreline and the appropriate time or season for kayaking but also in planning escape or alternative routes when things go haywire. Carry a life jacket, plenty of supplies including food and water and be safe at all times.
This is a guest post by Lynn Genah, the editor over at Top Best Specs.