Watersports are becoming more and more popular in the UK, as people search for a dose of adrenaline; and Kayaking is one of the most popular of those disciplines. When trying to have a fun kayaking experience and exploring the UK’s brilliant aquatic areas, it is always important to stay safe. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned professional with lots of kayaking experience, everyone should be focusing on the same thing in relation to staying safe on the water. Here we will try and help you prepare for your next kayaking trip.

Training

One of the best ways you can stay safe is to be well trained and get some experience. A good way of doing this is by finding a training session at your local water sports club (often rowing or canoeing clubs will have a trained instructor). Or if your local club can’t do this, British Canoeing or Canoeing Ireland run a range of kayaking courses where you can learn. One of the key things to learn and practise for safety is the technique of getting onboard your Inflatable kayaks, so you would be safe should you capsize.

Safety in numbers

Another way in which you can improve your safety is by paddling in a group where possible. This is especially true if you are exploring somewhere new by kayak. In this situation you should seek knowledge from experienced kayakers in the area.

Wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid

Even if you are kayaking in shallow waters or close to the beach shore; conditions can turn quickly and you can drown in as little as 2 inches of water. So wearing a buoyancy aid or lifejacket can make the critical difference in keeping you safe. Professor Mike Tipton has done research on the efficacy of life jackets and found that; if you unexpectedly find yourself in the water and you are wearing a lifejacket, you are four times more likely to survive.

Check the weather and tides

One of the other ways you can keep yourself safe is by checking the weather forecast and sea conditions for that day before you set off. Also, keeping yourself regularly updated if you are going to be out kayaking for a long time is a good idea. If the conditions are unfavourable or dangerous, you should be prepared to change your plans or cancel the trip if necessary.

You can check the inshore waters forecast on the famous Met office; or check a forecast and track your kayaking voyage at the same time using the RYA SafeTrx app.

As well as the weather it is crucial to check the forecast of the tides, which you can do using Admiralty EasyTide, the UK government’s tidal prediction service.

How to call for help

However, if all of these things don’t keep you safe, then you need to be able to raise the alarm in an emergency. This means that you should take a device that allows you to call for help as part of your kayaking kit and keep it on you, within reach, at all times. 

Zoe Kickhefer
zoe@everydaylifes.com