If you’ve ever gone kayaking before, you know how much fun it is. It can also be quite challenging. Paddling and steering a kayak take some getting used to; especially if you’re new to the sport. However, with proper instruction and precautions, kayaking can be a safe activity for just about anyone. If you’re thinking about trying out this water sport soon, here are some tips to help prevent accidents while kayaking.
- 1 Slow and Steady Win the Race
- 2 Don’t Let Your Ego Overpower Your Abilities
- 3 Get Good Gears
- 4 Escape Plan Should Be On the Anvil
- 5 Don’t Act Smart; Try to Follow The Rules
- 6 Regular Training Is A Must
- 7 Scout And Choreograph Rapids
- 8 Learn How To Do A Wet Exit
- 9 Have a Backup Plan: Get A Backferry
- 10 Stay Calm and Wait for The Weather to Improve
- 11 Don’t Make Fun of People Who Gets Capsized
- 12 Conclusion
Slow and Steady Win the Race
Keep in mind that the river, especially a fast-moving one, is your friend. It won’t hurt you as long as you don’t go out of your way to hurt yourself. Stay off the river if it’s raining or if there’s a strong possibility of thunderstorms, especially if you’re in a low-lying area. If you’re in a group, make sure that everyone has a proper life jacket, even if they’re paddling in a calm lake. Make sure that the jackets are appropriate for the waters where you’ll be kayaking. A life jacket is the best piece of safety gear you can have on a kayak. Wear it whenever you’re in a river, ocean, or lake.
Don’t Let Your Ego Overpower Your Abilities
If you’re going out with beginners or trying a new skill for the first time, keep your ego in check. On average, kayakers are about 22 times more likely to drown than people in other water sports. Kayaking mishaps are often due to an inflated sense of self-confidence, unwise choices, and poor judgment. Many people who have been paddling for years have had accidents, so don’t think you’re immune to problems just because you’re an experienced paddler.
Get Good Gears
When it comes to gear, less is more. You don’t need to buy the fanciest kayak in the world. In fact, you don’t need a kayak at all. A canoe or even a Hobie would be a nice way to ease into the sport. If you do decide to buy a kayak, don’t buy a high-end model. You’re likely to outgrow it very quickly. If you’re just going out on a lake, a basic model will do. If you’ll be in the ocean, go for a kayak with a molded-in spray skirt to keep out water and sand.
Escape Plan Should Be On the Anvil
If you ever capsize, the best thing you can do is to get back in the kayak as quickly as possible. If your kayak is equipped with a spray skirt or spray deflector, you should use it. When you’re in the water, try not to panic. Calmly look around to get your bearings and know where you are. Once you’re upright and inside your kayak, don’t try to paddle back to your friends or to shore. Instead, get back on course, and paddle towards the way you came from.
Don’t Act Smart; Try to Follow The Rules
Always obey the rules for all water sports, including kayaking. That means staying out of areas that are off-limits. It also means following safe practices, such as always wearing a life jacket, only paddling with others when it’s allowed, and avoiding rough water conditions. In some areas, you’ll need to follow special rules and regulations. In many places, you’ll need to keep your distance from shore or other boats during certain times of the year. These rules are in place to protect both you and the environment.
Regular Training Is A Must
With any water sport, it’s important to get in some practice before you really get out on the water. A river might seem like a controlled environment, but you’ll want to test out your skills before you find yourself in a situation where you have to rely on them. You can practice techniques in a calm lake or a pool, but you can also do some things on land. Learn to paddle out of a capsized kayak, including rolling back over from the wrong side and bringing the kayak back on top of you. Once you’re more comfortable with the basics, you can move on to more advanced skills, such as rescues and river paddling.
Scout And Choreograph Rapids
Before you go down a set of rapids, take a moment to scout out the scene. Try to gauge the speed and force of the water. If there are rocks or other obstacles that you can see, try to figure out the best way to steer around them. Also, try to get a sense of the path, so that you can easily keep track of where you are after going through the rapids. When you’re ready to go, pick out a safe spot to enter the current and a safe place to exit. While kayaking, try to keep your boat straight in the water so that you have more control.
Learn How To Do A Wet Exit
A wet exit is when you have to get out of your kayak because it’s capsized or you’ve fallen out. It’s called a wet exit because, well, you’re gonna get wet. But don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it sounds. Here’s how to do a wet exit:
First, find the cockpit. This is the big hole in the middle of the kayak where you sit. If you’re in a sit-inside kayak, there will be a rim around the cockpit. Put your hand on the rim and push off the boat with your other hand. If you’re in a sit-on-top kayak, there won’t be a rim, so just push off the boat with your hands.
Next, tuck your head and roll over onto your back. You want to be upside down in the water so that your life jacket can keep you floating.
Finally, reach up and grab the paddle float from behind your head. Attach the paddle float to your paddle and put the paddle across the cockpit so that you can climb back into your kayak. And that’s it! Just remember: keep calm and paddle on.
Have a Backup Plan: Get A Backferry
When you’re paddling upstream, a backferry helps you conserve energy and move forward. However, it’s not something that you should be relying on all the time. When you’re going upstream, be very careful not to go too fast. Make sure to avoid obstacles. And when you need to go fast, make sure to switch to a ferry stroke. The idea is to be able to switch between the two as needed.
Stay Calm and Wait for The Weather to Improve
If your area has a decent amount of rainfall each year, make sure you wait until the end of the rainy season to go kayaking. If you go during the rainy season, rivers can rise and get too dangerous to paddle. Other dangers include cold weather, lightning, and strong winds. All of these things can make kayaking dangerous.
Don’t Make Fun of People Who Gets Capsized
If your boat overturns and you capsize, stay calm and make sure that you’re above water. If your boat is upside down, don’t struggle to try to right it—you’ll only waste energy and probably get more tangled in your boat. Instead, let the boat go, and get yourself to safety. Keep your head above water if you can, stay calm, and try to stay with your boat. If you have a whistle, blow on it to get attention. If you have a signal flare, use it. Swim to shore if you can, but make sure you stay out of the water if you’re not a strong swimmer.
If you want to enjoy the benefits of kayaking without the risks, then there are certain precautions that you should take. First and foremost, it’s important to select the right kayak for your body type and skill level. When it comes to safety gear, a life jacket is a must-have item, and it’s also smart to wear a helmet if you’re kayaking at night. Safety also applies to the conditions of the water, the weather, and the river bed. Be sure to check the weather forecast and for any warnings about flash flooding or other potential hazards.