People who have been kayaking say that there is no stronger adrenalin rush and thrill than paddling down the wild river. This experience is so memorable that people who tried it, keep coming back each time the opportunity arises.
However, this activity can be potentially dangerous and for that reason, both beginners and experts have to stick to certain rules while kayaking to avoid falling into water especially in most hazardous parts of a river. If you are a kayaker to be, these tips will make your kayaking experience safe and unforgettable.
- Wear a lifejacket
The largest number of deaths while kayaking was caused by lack of life vest. Many people just skip this safety rule thinking that risks are minimal. However it’s the leading cause of fatalities with a mortality rate close to 50%. So, whether you are paddling in still water, in a river or ocean – always wear a lifejacket! It protects against drowning as well as against cold water.
- Practice tipping over
Being narrow and light, kayaks can turn over in the water. They have a good design and are pretty safe. However, if you a stone gets in your way, a wave rocks your kayak, or you move aggressively, chances you’ll be knocked over are high. For that reason, you need to practice how to tip over, swim and get back into the kayak. You need to learn how to properly use a paddle and hang onto it. If you are kayaking in a river, you need to know the proper way to react if the kayak overturns. It such cases, a stern loop or a bow has to be grabbed and dragged to the shore.
Kayaking in dangerous waters and paddling through rapids might require people to let the kayak go and save their own life. According to experts, in hazardous situations, the kayak should be turned vertically. If you plan to go kayaking in wilder water, this is an important skill to have.
- Know what kind of water you’ll be paddling on
In case you are about to go kayaking on an unfamiliar stream, you’ll need to get some information about it so as to avoid getting into unpleasant and even dangerous situations. Consider how many miles you plan to paddle, what the weather forecast is, whether there are risk of storms and big waves. Get informed on how to protect yourself if water starts rising and forms vortices.
- Watch out for dams and obstructions
Dams, trees and other obstacles can appear in the water and trip the kayak. So, be safe and pay attention what might be in front of your kayak.
- Wear a helmet if you’re paddling difficult rapids
In case of capsizing, wearing a helmet can save your life. Rapids are full of rocks and stones, so hitting some of those with your head can be very hazardous if you have no helmet.
- Prepare for the cold
If it’s relatively colds outside, the temperature of the water will be much lower. If you don’t have required equipment and clothes — risk of endangering your health is very high. Rapids and ocean water can be especially challenging. If you are about to go paddling in dangerous water, having a waterproof suit and equipment can actually save you from hypothermia. This condition is characterized by impaired cognition and shivering. If the weather is bad the day you are kayaking, then prepare nutritious food, all you need for fire, and warm clothes.
- Know your (boat’s) limits
If you have a wider, heavier and sturdier kayak – know that these are not recommended for waves and wild waters. These are great option for paddling in still waters and can be steered and hauled easily. However, you need to be aware that these kayaks can sink if they get swamped because they aren’t equipped with flotation.
For rapids, you need to rent or purchase appropriate kayak. Paddling in ocean water will require kayaks that are waterproof and sealed.
- Don’t do it alone
Never go kayaking alone. Water can become unpredictable and if you’re alone, there is an increased risk of getting injured because there is no one to help you. If you however wish to go alone, tell someone where you’re kayaking and how long you will stay.
- Keep practicing
If you are a newbie in kayaking but you wish to get better at it – join some kayaking clubs, spend time with experienced kayakers and learn from them. The more you practice, the better you’ll be. Over time, you’ll gain stamina to go on long-distance paddling and you’ll learn what to do in any situation.
These tips will help you avoid trouble and also teach you how to react if you get into a sticky situation.