Knowing how to stay safe when kayaking is so important but many people make avoidable mistakes and put themselves in danger all the time. The question stands then should you kayak alone? In this article, we’ll give you some tips for how you can stay safe when kayaking alone, even if it’s not always recommended.
Water safety is no laughing matter and we personally think that kayaking should be done with a buddy, mainly because things can change so quickly, but if you take the necessary precautions, kayaking is safe to do on your own. Here we’ve put together just a few tips for kayakers, with even more kayaking guides on our website.
Check the weather
The first thing you need to do is make sure that you are aware of the conditions before you go out. This means checking the weather forecast and water conditions. If the weather is bad, it’s best to stay on shore and wait for the weather to turn and conditions to get better.
It is possible for you to go out on the water when the weather isn’t great and the water’s choppy, but if you aren’t a hardcore kayaker then we’d say that you should only really go out if the conditions are favorable, especially if you’re out on your own.
Make sure you’re confident
You should also be aware of your own abilities and limitations. If you’re not confident in your kayaking skills, it’s best to go with someone who is more experienced. There’s no shame in admitting that you aren’t feeling quite up to it – putting yourself in danger doesn’t make you a better kayaker.
A good idea is to practice with friends in calm conditions if your intention is to go out alone in the future. It’s also a good idea to brush up on the RLSS water safety tips as this can be really useful, maybe even lifesaving, if you do find yourself in trouble and don’t have anybody nearby.
Take necessary precautions
When you’re out on the water, always wear a life jacket and keep an eye on the shoreline so you know where you are. It’s also a good idea to let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll be back – even if they aren’t out with you, let them know where you’ll be.
Buoyancy aids are an absolutely essential piece of kit for anybody heading out on the water and a mistake that people make is thinking that these pieces are only for youngsters and people who aren’t experienced. If you don’t have access to the right kit, don’t go out, especially on your own.
Have a plan if you get into trouble
If you do end up in trouble, stay calm and try to paddle to the shore, using your hands if you can’t use your paddle for whatever reason. It’s a good idea to have access to a space ad while it can take up space, it’s better to have it and not need it than to get into trouble.
If you can’t get to the shore, signal for help and use your whistle or by waving your arms. If you can, stay out of the water as much as you can as cold water shock can cause you a lot of issues, and it doesn’t take long for it to start having an effect. It might be tempting to try and swim back, but take a minute to think about the situation.
If you are confident in your abilities and feel like you can take on the kayaking challenge by yourself, then go for it. However, we would always recommend that you go with someone else if possible as it’s much safer. Make sure you follow the tips in this article and stay safe out there!