Kayaking in open water without assistance is a daunting task for new kayakers, besides the Kayaking dangers, such as heavy winds, rain, and more, you are likely to get lost in the ocean. Therefore, to overcome the dangers and stay safe on water, there are 10 basic rules to follow which will ensure your comfort, safety, and fun. These 10 simple kayaking safety rules are often ignored by experience Kayakers yet fatality can happen at any time.
Kayaking Safety Rules Are;
1. Life Jackets for Kayaks
The first point of safety is wearing your life jacket popularly known as Personal Floating Devices (PFD). There are several types of PFDs designed for different types of water and uses such as, deep water, shallow water, and more. To select a suitable life jackets for Kayaks, consider the rules and regulations by the authorities responsible for water safety in your area. Besides, recommended PFDs there are dry backpack bags for kayaking which act as life jacket, but should not be substituted as the primary floating devices.
2. Equip Yourself with a Communication Devices
Communication gadgets are important for passing information to other kayakers about the water conditions, communicate an emergency or pass an important message about change of itinerary for group paddlers. With the proliferation of devices to choose from, paddlers are spoil for options and it is a matter of selecting the best efficient and effective equipment. The available means of water communication are cell phones, Marine Radio, Distress beacons, Flares, and more. For mobile phones, it is recommended to use waterproof dry bags for Kayaks with inner compartments designed for cell phone storage. The compartment keeps the phone dry when the bag falls off the Kayak into the water. Besides, the bag will stay afloat with all your Kayaking clothing accessories. During an emergency, each jurisdiction have different numbers to dial, such as 000 and more.
Marine radio for Kayaking
Use the Marine radio to notify fellow Kayakers, family members, and camping team about an emergency. Besides, emergencies these communication gadgets are essentials for having latest weather conditions. Knowing the weather patterns in advance helps in selecting the appropriate time to sail and dock and areas for kayaking voyage. For example, the father of recreational and sporting Kayak MacGregor was warned about the poor weather by the locals and was advice to be cautious when approaching certain areas of the river at certain time. If only he had the marine radio, he would have planned adequately for the trip without damaging the kayak. The following are recommended when using the marine radio; tune on to the VHF Channel 16, the channel provides latest weather conditions. When passing information, it is important to understand messaging and communicating procedures to have effective communication, and during an emergency, depending on your locality master the channels to dial, such as VHF channel 16 or 27MHz use channel 88 (transportsafety.vic.gov.au).
There are various types of distress beacons for Kayakers. Moreover, it is advisable to have a registered gadget, such as 406 MHz distress beacon with GPS for ease of location identification and rescue. To use the equipment, the paddler to activate gadget to various services, such as the alert search and rescue services. Carry the accessory without activating the service in time will not help during an emergency. Besides, last minute activation is not recommended as the equipment may fail to work. Select distress beacons with GPS, these are available in many online stores namely, Amazon for secure, safe, and timely delivery. Once you have receive your item, deploy it correctly using the right configurations. In addition, store it in safe dry place and continuously replace the batteries to avoid malfunctions. Lastly, use your flares and activate when in danger and only if you are ensure that you will be spotted.
3. Avoid Vessels Path
When sea kayaking where there are a number of vessels crisscrossing the water, it is recommended to keep clear from the income boats. For total safety, keep out of shipping channels. To Kayak safely, learn the sea rules of navigation such as, navigation on the right side of a river, stream or channels. Large vessels pose greatest danger, heavy currents, can capsize your small Kayak
4. Make Your Whereabouts Known
Probably this is the first Kayaking safety rule to follow. Before embarking on your Kayaking journey, it is advisable to let your family members, acquaintances, or friends know your planned Kayaking itinerary. Commonly referred to as “Let Someone Know before You Go”. First notifying where the destination is, second, let them know the departure time and point, third, inform them of the intended time to return, and lastly if there is any change of plan. The rule help to make search easy in case of emergency or distress call.
5. Before you leave, observe the weather
For Kayaking trip, ensure that the relevant weather information is interpreted effectively. Always check on the warning current of the Kayaking area, how does the river behave, how is the wind, what is the nature of the current, is it unusually etc. check whether the particular weather condition is going to affect your navigation. If the pattern is erratic, your Kayaking voyage isn’t going to be safe at all. Bedsides, you will enjoy no comfort. Other parameters to help you determine better weather conditions are window and wave conditions, tides and more. However, paddler should be in a position to call it quit if the weather does not favor them and prepare for another day.
6. be visible
When seated on Kayaks, you are low on water. The sitting position makes it difficult for other boats to spot you from the distance. As a result, it is recommended to wear bright Kayak clothing. Besides, use fluorescent paint on your paddle. Other safety measures to make you visible are; fitting a flag on your Kayak, use bright kayak light at night, and more.
To avoid separation from your paddle if the boat capsizes, it is recommended to attach the paddle to the boat using the paddle leashes.
8. Be on the lookout
During your Kayaking expedition, keep watch as to what is ahead, behind and on the sideways. Scan the surrounding for any danger, vessels, ships etc. Keep watching the weather pattern and any erratic change to trigger cause of next action. Keep your eyes on swimmers and potentials wild animals.
9. Check Kayak for any leak
Always examine the boat for leaks and have repair done in advance.
10. Finally, your personal judgement and take the necessary personal precaution to stay safe. Do not ignore these Kayaking safety rules in either shallow or deep water.