4th June 2019
Kayaking is a great activity. But even the most advanced kayaker can find themselves in trouble. So we’ve put together some tips to make sure you can have a safe kayaking adventure.
You’re in your kayak when you hit some rapids. Despite your best efforts, you fall into the cold water. Without a wetsuit, your body temperature could quickly drop which could cause hypothermia. Without a lifejacket, you could drown.
From beginners to experts, it’s best to chuck on a lifejacket before you head out on the kayak. In some Australian states, it is a legal requirement to wear a lifejacket and also a helmets in some situations. If you’re going to kayak on cold waters, think about adding a wetsuit.
Even the most experienced kayakers can find themselves in deadly situations if the weather turns bad. You might end up kayaking in the wrong tide or current, with large waves or rapids, or even in a storm.
It will only take a few seconds but it might save your life. Before heading out on the water jump online and check out the Bureau of Meteorology . Make sure to take note of wind and current direction, and if there are any storm forecast. A check of the temperature will help you choose the appropriate clothing to wear.
Australia has some amazing wildlife, and that includes within the water. It is pretty unlikely, but before you go kayaking it’s best to know if the water is home to any crocodiles, sharks, snakes or jellyfish. If you do encounter one, it will most likely be your kayak that will end up with the damage. No one wants to end up as crocodile bait..
Rocks, tree, shrubs – any of these can be potential obstacles when kayaking. If your kayak gets stuck under a tree or shrub, you could get washed under it and trapped underwater. If there is an object rising out of the water, it’s best to give it a wide birth – you don’t know how big it will be underwater.
Wear brightly coloured clothes to make yourself more visible. If you decide to go kayaking at night, it is vital to be seen. At night, you’ll need to make sure you have lights and a torch. This will make you more visible to other kayakers, as well as people on motorised boats.
Drinking can be great, but not when you’re on the water. Alcohol will impair your judgment and affect your swimming abilities if you do fall in. So leave the alcohol until after you finish your paddle.
No matter how experienced you are, you could end up lost, injured or tired. To avoid this happening, it’s best to head out on the water with another person. It’s also a good idea to let people who aren’t with you know your plans – where you’re going, how long it will take when you plan to get back. In case something does go wrong, talking about your plans will make finding you easier.
Kayaking can be tonnes of fun and is not an activity to get anxious about participating in. Just make sure to follow our tips and you’ll be set for a fun day on the water. Happy paddling…
*Our friends at Yakima have helped provide us with this research and images for this blog post.