Kayaking is all about having some fun and spending a day free from stress. We all love to leave this drab, dreary and routine-bound life and kayaking giving us the opportunity to leave this boring world for a mystical and magical land of water. But sometimes, things might take a grim turn and you might have to come to term with some serious accidents. This is the reason why so many kayakers give so much attention to safety when it comes to kayaking.
Let’s get this straight. We are not aquatic animals and therefore, we need to take some sort of precautions while paddling on open water because so many things can go wrong. You can tip over, the boat can get capsized or you might end up hitting an underwater object. You may never know when things might go out of control.
So, it makes perfect sense that we take every possible precaution while going out on water; this is particularly important for those who are trying their luck with kayak for the first time. Since they are not well aware of the dangers ahead, they might make some silly mistakes while paddling on river or ocean.
To help you all out, Kayak Manual has listed these safety tips that all aspiring kayakers should give some level of attention before they begin their great water escapade –
Know Thy Limits
It is good to have some level of confidence in your kayaking skills but don’t overestimate your abilities while out on water because that could lead to a devastating situation. Since you are a beginner, you need to reassess your abilities and have to start slowly. Try to learn the basics of Kayaking first. Take your time; there is no need to rush at all. Always follow the instructions of the seasoned kayakers. Don’t be shy to ask questions because nobody would be expecting something extraordinary from you. Everybody has gone through the same learning curve and therefore, ask whenever you feel a bit unsure. And never Kayak alone until you have got good understanding of kayaking and its various aspects.
Don’t Ignore the Life Jacks
Life Jacket is meant to save life. So, you should not be averse to the idea of wearing a life jacket while paddling. The fact is that almost 70% of boating related death is caused by drowning. Yes, that might sound ridiculous because we tend to nourish this weird notion that our swimming skills will save us if the boat gets overturned while ignoring the other factors like – choppy water, big waves or strong wind. So, don’t put too much trust on your swimming skills because in such unlikely events, only the life jacket can make the real difference between life and death.
Let’s take a look at the main reason why some people refuse to wear life jacket
- They are uncomfortable
- They make me look stupid
- I know my abilities and therefore I don’t need one
There is no rhythm or reason behind this logic. It is a clear case of negligence.
Don’t Paddle Alone
This might sound like common sense but some people tend to do just the opposite. However, in this digital age dominated by social media and Smartphone, most people feel happy binge watching Netflix or some stupid movies. They don’t feel motivated enough to bother themselves with some physically intensive activities like kayaking etc. So, I would not be surprised, if you fail to convince any of your friends to go kayaking with you in a lake or in a nearby river. But that does not mean you should go ahead and start kayaking all alone. That would be a stupid idea. You need to be a member of a local kayaking association and then your problem will get resolved automatically.
Top 5 Kayak Safety Rules for BeginnersLearn the top 5 kayak safety rules to follow before you head out on the water.
Have you ever seen anyone playing football in Formal shirt and trouser? You have not right? Every sport has its own dressing code and you have to abide by it. If you are going to paddle on cold water, you need to make sure that your body does not lose its heat too fast in case your body comes in contact with the water. Just because the temperature of the water is above the freezing point, it does not necessarily mean that there is no cause for concern. Nope, it can also cause serious damage too.
Water is far more efficient at conducting temperate compared to air (25 times faster to be precise) and that means it is not a good idea to remain too long in the cold water of a lake or a river. So, wear protective clothing so that your body does not lose its heat fast and thus giving you more time to think logically and come up with a plan to get out of the water safely before it is too late.
Get Some Backup
Life is unpredictable and so is kayaking. You may never know what might be waiting for you at the next turn. So, don’t be stupid. Bring all necessary items like GPS, Phone, Compass etc along with you while paddling. Don’t forget to bring First Aid kit along with you. water purification tablets, waterproof matches, Vaseline, blanket, knife etc are some items that you should always carry with you in case you get in some problem.
These are some simple rules that can be followed easily. Follow them and you will have a great time kayaking.
Arthur G. Moore is a veteran paddler. He has over 10 years of whitewater kayaking experience in his kitty. When he was young, he used to love kayaking in rapid III and rapid IV but as time went on, he decided to concentrate mainly on covering long distances on a standard touring kayak. He is currently working as a senior editor for Kayak Manual.