Kayaking can be some of the most fun you’ll have all year long, but if you’re not doing it safely, you could literally be putting your life in danger. Enjoy the sport, making sure you have the power of knowledge to keep you safe.
1. Start With Calm Waters
When you’re just starting out, it’s important to control as many elements of the sport as possible and you can only really do that if you’re in calm waters. The ocean may be acceptable, if you’re close by a bay that doesn’t produce a lot of challenging waves; otherwise, stick to a placid lake, at least until you’re out of the beginner stages of kayaking.
2. Practice Worse-Case-Scenarios
It’s one thing to read a manual that tells you to calmly reach over the bottom of your boat, tightly gripping the scupper holes and quite another to actually do it under dire circumstances. That’s why it’s important to not only know about emergency procedures, but to practice them as well. Under controlled conditions, you can go over the routines that will keep you safe in the event of a real and life-threatening emergency.
See this site for more details: http://www.boatsmartcanada.com/safe-boating-guide.htm
3. Kayak In The Proper Position
You need to keep your back straight, with knees slightly bent as you kayak, so make sure your position allows you to do these things at all times. Also, be sure you properly fit the kayak you’re operating, so that your knees aren’t in the way of your paddling and the muscles of your back won’t be seizing up in pain half-way through your adventure.
4. Use The Right Paddle
Beginners usually start out with a square blade paddle, gradually moving up to a feathered paddle, which allows for less surface area to be caught and manipulated by winds. The paddle you use is crucial to control of speed and direction, making it one of your most important tools and necessitating that it suits you personally, perfectly.
5. Adhere To Boat Safety Rules, Always
While a kayak may be more fun than other boats, every boater should follow the same rules of safety. Wear your life-jacket at all times, even in shallow water. Know way ahead of time what the weather will be like, especially the winds and never, ever mix alcohol or drugs with your boating pleasure. It also helps if someone in your crew or close by has basic CPR skills, but at the very least, let someone back home know where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Oh and don’t forget to wear your helmet if you’re going to hit the rough waters.
There’s no point in fun when it’s too dangerous, so know what you need to know for safe kayaking and be sure to apply that knowledge every time you head out onto the water.