Kayak Safety: A Short, Quite Basic Lesson
Safety on the water continues the common-sense practices we learned as kids, and the simple advice we offer here can best be capitalized in a kayaking safety or skills-development course. On-water instruction from a practiced paddler will go a long watery way in ensuring your safe enjoyment of this invigorating, healthful sport.
Safety on a Kayak
Skill means safety on a Kayak
1. Be proficient in proper kayaking technique. Know how to steer.
2. Learn to read the water.
3. Take on only challenges on the water for which you are physically and mentally prepare.
4. Learn the rescue skills necessary to assisting fellow boaters in trouble.
5. Four of five fatalities in paddling involve people not wearing a lifejacket. Alcohol contributed to a death in one case in five. Weather, we learn, factors in about forty percent of deadly paddlesport accidents. See a pattern here? Big trouble happens most often in the breaking of three rules the rawest beginner can easily followed.
Wear a personal flotation device, properly fitted to your torso.
6. Don’t drink alcohol before or during your hours on the water. Don’t do drugs.
7. Watch the weather, the weather above cold water in particular.
8. Study your route in advance, identifying as many potential hazards as possible. Know where to bail out in case of an emergency.
9. If you must paddle alone, inform family or friends of your likely whereabouts, a trip plan if you have one.
Bring sufficient food and water.
10. Don’t stand up in a kayak. Yep, this is our message, and we’re –as they say – sticking to it.
11. Avoid low-head submerged dams, fallen trees, and other underwater obstructions.