Kayak safety is really important, as with any kind of watersports, and there can be a lot to consider. So we’ve broken it down for you into key considerations like, clothing, communications and other kit.
If you want to learn more, our guides are always happy to help and answer questions. A course like our Introduction to Sea Kayaking is a great way to learn new skills and have your questions answered.
In the meantime…
What should I wear?
First and foremost, a PFD (personal floatation device) AKA Buoyancy Aid is a vital bit of kayak safety kit. It’ll help you float if you get into trouble. Many also have pockets for keeping important stuff, like your mobile phone or medications, close by.
Other clothing depends greatly on what you’re doing, where you’re going and what the weather’s like. On a hot summer’s day having fun at the beach, a t-shirt and shorts can suffice, but there are more options for other situations.
A wetsuit can be the perfect option- it’ll keep you warm if you’re wet, they’re affordable and easy to care for. Combined with something like a cag, to keep any wind or rain off, it can be a great option for cooler days. In the summer we like these from Peak as they keep us warm and are comfy to wear all day. A long sleeve option is sensible in cooler weather.
For the year round paddler (especially in the UK!) a drysuit can be a great investment. It’s worth considering that they are expensive and can require a bit more attention to maintain than a wetsuit. If you’re keen on doing lots of kayaking in the coldest times of the year a drysuit is a great investment.
Most kayak safety gear is brightly coloured and often has reflective tapes to help you be seen in an emergency. This may be something to consider when you choose the right kit for you.
It is really important to consider what you would do in an emergency. What would happen if you became separated from your kayak, or had an urgent medical need? We all hope we’ll always have a lovely day out paddling, but considering these points of kayak safety is super important.
Having a means of communication on your person is really important- a mobile phone in a waterproof case is ideal. It’s worth testing it out, especially with cold wet hands. There are apps available that can share your location with family or friends back on land, so they can assist in keeping you safe on the water.
VHF radios are a really useful option to consider, though again they are an investment. You need a license to use one, and they’re not the cheapest kit. If you’re serious about coastal journeys the investment is definitely worthwhile.
Other kayak safety kit like Personal Locator Beacons and GPS trackers are available, why not seek further guidance from the RNLI.
Kayak Safety Kit
It’s worth thinking about other things to take on the water with you. A first aid kit can help with anything from blisters and small cuts to bigger injuries. There are lots on the market, so consider what type you’d need, but for watersports it’s a good idea to pop it in a drybag, or buy a waterproof version.
Taking a few extra warm clothes, like a fleece jumper or windproof cag can make a chilly paddle more comfortable, or help in an emergency. It doesn’t need to be anything special, but it’s worth considering kit that will fit all members of your group.
A few snacks, or even lunch, can make a paddle even more enjoyable- and on chilly days a flask of hot drink can be another helpful addition.
Our team are passionate about paddlesport, and we love sharing the knowledge with those new to the sport. We also love helping people develop into disciplines like sea kayaking. Check out out range of sea kayak tuition options, from Introductory sessions, Intermediate and Advanced sessions. 1-1 coaching, night paddling and British Canoeing courses are also available. Check the link for all the info.