Kayaking Safety Tips – How to Stay Safe on the Water

Kayaking Safety Tips How to Stay Safe on the Water

Kayaking can be an exciting adventure, whether you’re an experienced pro or just starting out. But no matter your skill level, staying safe on the water is paramount. Follow these safety tips and you’ll be ready for your next expedition!

Before you head out on the water, inform someone else of your plans and how long you plan to be gone. That way, if anything goes awry, someone can help locate you quickly.

Wear the Right Gear

If you’re thinking of taking up kayaking, it is essential to have all the right gear before setting out. Not only will having the correct equipment prevent injuries, but it will also make you more comfortable and guarantee a fun, secure experience.

Sun Protection

On sunny days, sunscreen should always be your top priority. Furthermore, wearing a hat that covers your head from the sun and shields the delicate skin around your ears and neck is recommended to further protect yourself.

It’s wise to bring sunglasses when boating, which will shield your eyes from glare and UV rays in the water. Furthermore, carrying a pair of life jackets is recommended if you plan to spend considerable time out there; these can come in handy should you capsize or become lost while swimming.


If you’re kayaking in cold weather conditions, neoprene paddling boots are recommended. These shoes keep your feet warm and dry while protecting you from slipperiness on wet rocks.


It’s wise to invest in a pair of high-quality gloves if you plan on kayaking for extended periods. These can be made from various materials such as synthetic fabrics that are waterproof, windproof and breathable.

A reliable pair of gloves is an essential element in your safety arsenal, so make sure they stay in top condition for years to come. There is a wide range of styles available, from budget-friendly budget models up to high-end luxury models.

When kayaking in deep waters, it’s wise to dress for the temperature of the water rather than air temperatures. Doing this can minimize hypothermia risks and also enable you to remove extra layers if the water becomes too hot when you exit.

Know Your Kayak

No matter if this is your first kayaking trip or you have some experience under your belt, there are several things to take into account before hitting the water. Make sure that you have all of the necessary gear for a safe and enjoyable adventure.

Your choice of kayak will depend on the environment you plan to explore. If fishing in a river or navigating whitewater rapids is part of your plans, then one type of kayak may be better suited than another if just paddling on an idyllic lake.

Your choice of kayak will also depend on its weight capacity and gear storage space. Excess weight can slow down your boat, potentially leading to sinking.

When starting out in kayaking, it’s wise to select a kayak that isn’t too heavy. This will help you become familiar with the craft and prevent fatigue due to overexerting yourself.

When selecting a kayak, safety should always come first. Fortunately, kayaks come in various sizes and styles to meet everyone’s requirements.

Once you select a kayak type, you should decide between a sit-on-top and sit-in model. Generally, the latter provides more control over positioning while offering greater comfort.

Another option is a self-bailing kayak, which has drainage holes that let water drain out quickly. While this type of kayak may not be ideal for fast moving water conditions, you still have some range with this type of craft.

On your trip, it is wise to bring a bailer or bilge pump with you, as this device will drain any excess water from inside your kayak and help prevent sinking should your craft capsize.

Know the Weather

Weather conditions can significantly impact your kayaking experience. To ensure a secure and enjoyable day on the water, it’s essential to learn what factors contribute to ideal conditions for kayaking.

Wind direction and speed are another element that can influence your paddling experience. Whether you’re kayaking on the ocean, river, or lake, wind has a major influence on how safely you navigate and paddle.

Knowing the wind direction and speed before embarking on your journey can help you plan a route that minimizes its negative effects on the journey. It also prevents the need to turn around due to high winds that pose a safety risk.

Before embarking on your kayaking excursion, be sure to check the weather forecast. Wind and wave conditions can rapidly shift, so being aware of what lies ahead is essential for safe kayaking conditions.

Staying aware of the weather requires keeping an eye on the sky and watching for changes in cloud coverage. Cirrus clouds are usually the highest and most visible, signaling turbulence on the horizon. Thicker lower clouds could indicate rain.

Before embarking on your boating excursion, there are a number of resources to learn more about the weather in your area. You can access long range forecasts, tidal charts and fishing forecasts online to plan ahead. Alternatively, download apps for your smartphone which provide real-time data regarding tides and winds conditions.

Know Where You’re Going

No matter if you’re just having fun or planning an exciting journey, it is essential to know where you’re going. This could include weather and tide conditions as well as local hazard information.

If you’re planning a multi-day trip, make sure someone back home knows your destination and estimated length of stay. Doing this will guarantee they can contact for help if you become lost or encounter bad weather conditions.

Another essential safety tip to remember when out on the water is to always have a buddy with you. They can keep an eye on your boat and notify you if they spot any hazards that could endanger yourself or others.

When kayaking, ensure that you have a clear view of the shore and never venture too far out into the ocean or river. Doing so can help protect you from being struck by a large boat or other watercraft.

Paddling alone can be quite enjoyable and safe, and having someone along for company can make the journey that much more memorable and exciting. Plus, sharing your stories will allow others to benefit from what you’ve experienced together!

Once in your kayak, be sure to sit with a straight back and use your core muscles for stability and power. Doing this can help avoid soreness in your arms or back after spending too long out on the water.

Paddling with your feet in the correct position is a good idea. Most kayaks come equipped with adjustable pegs for your feet, but take time to ensure they’re set correctly before setting out on your voyage.

Know the Rules of the Water

Kayakers must be aware of the rules and regulations in your area. These may differ from state to state, but they are essential for safety on the water as well as enhancing enjoyment during trips.

Kayaking requires adhering to numerous rules and regulations, but some of the most essential are related to right of way and safety. For instance, kayakers should not travel along or between designated traffic separation lanes (which are commonly found in major harbors).

Similar to traveling through a narrow channel and another vessel comes up from behind, you must ensure to avoid collision by making course corrections and speeding up. In many cases, this might mean taking an alternative route outside of the narrow channel or leaving the current entirely.

It is essential to be aware of local speed limits on the water and avoid ‘No Wake’ zones if any exist. These zones are usually designated due to safety concerns and typically marked with buoys or rope lines for added assurance.

Be mindful of other boats on the water, weather conditions and other hazards. Furthermore, learn how to use a GPS unit so you can monitor weather and tides while out at sea.

Finally, having a plan in case of loss or an emergency is critical. This should include the names of everyone in your group, your planned route and when you expect to return. It’s wise to let someone else know your strategy and leave them a copy so they can check it off for you.