Pack Kayak Safety Gear for Fun on the Water

October 9, 2013 by

Two Ladies in kayak

Don’t just take the lifejacket into the kayak. Wear it!

Kayaking offers a chance for adventure and fun. Paddling a kayak brings you closer to nature and opens the door to sights most people never have the chance to see. Plus it’s great exercise!

Whether you’re planning to paddle among the mangroves in Florida, off a 15 foot waterfall, or enjoy watching wildlife on the banks of a secluded lake, a kayak is the vehicle that can help make it happen. No matter where you plan to kayak, plan ahead to stay safe.

Safety Gear to Carry when Kayaking

When you go out in your kayak expect to have fun, but be prepared for the unexpected. Start with letting someone else know where you plan to kayak. That way in the event something does happen, people will know where to look for you if you get stranded.

Stay safe by making sure you are properly equipped and dressed, too. For instance, if you’re going to be kayaking in cold water (60 degrees or cooler) be sure to dress in a wet suit. Other safety measures include:

Overturned Kayak

  • Wear a personal flotation device: Don’t just bring your lifejacket with you into the kayak, actually put it on. Kayaks are known to overturn and while we all think we can swim to safety, a personal flotation device may save your life. It’s important to be sure the lifejacket fits and is designed for your weight. 
  • Dry bag: Pack a “dry bag” with water, food, maps, and extra clothes. This way if you do overturn, the bag will float to the surface of the water and provide you with what you need. 
  • Paddle leash: A paddle leash keeps your paddle close even if you do overturn. Paddle leashes secure the paddle to an eyelet on your kayak, so if for any reason you do let go of it, you won’t lose it. Leashes are available in two basic types: coil types and bungee types. Whichever you choose, find one with a swivel clip. It’s worth the extra cost to because they help prevent the leash from tangling. 
  • Bilge pump: If you do overturn, a bilge pump comes in handy to empty the kayak of water once you get it righted. 
  • Whistle: While a whistle is a tiny bit of equipment, it provides a more effective range than screaming or yelling if you do need help. 

These basic accessories may never be needed when kayaking, but in the event you do overturn or find yourself stranded, you’ll be happy to have them on hand. Stay safe and have fun by being prepared.

Photo credits: mikebaird, runneralan2004

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