Kayak Safety Tips: Everything You Need To Know About Safe Kayaking

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Kayak Safety Tips: Everything You Need To Know About Safe Kayaking

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Kayak Safety Tips: Everything You Need To Know About Safe Kayaking

By: Joseph Simonds on February 21, 2017

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Nothing ruins a fun kayak trip like an unexpected accident or potential hazard…

Kayak Safety Tips: Everything You Need To Know About Safe Kayaking

And if you go kayaking enough, you will encounter the unexpected.

Accidents will eventually happen to just about any kayak angler at some point:

- Lightning storm that comes out of nowhere while you are out in your kayak

- A hook getting stuck in your body

- Flipping over while standing up

Kayak Safety Tips: Everything You Need To Know About Safe Kayaking

- Snake falling in your kayak from the trees

- Hooking into a monster fish that flips you over

So we wanted to put together the ultimate safety guide for kayakers so that you can anticipate and prepare for anything.

Enjoy these kayak safety tips and be safe out there!

The Ultimate Guide To Kayak Safety

Kayak Safety Tips: Everything You Need To Know About Safe Kayaking

Note: these kayak safety tips are in no specific order, and I encourage you to read through all of them to make sure you are as safe as possible while out on your kayak.

Being seen at night and during low light conditions is highly important for your safety in a kayak.

I have heard of kayakers getting hit by boats and this can usually be avoided if you have the proper kayak lighting.

Also, it is very important NOT to add any unnecessary lighting that can confuse vessels in navigation . Be sure to always check your state’s local requirements for kayaks, or unpowered vessels under a certain length.

First, let me define some terms so you know which lighting regulations apply to you:

Kayak Safety Tips: Everything You Need To Know About Safe Kayaking

- Unpowered Vessel: Sailboats or vessels that are paddled, poled, or rowed.

- Power Driven Vessels: Vessels operating under engine power

- Not Underway: Vessels anchored, moored, or stationary

In Florida, unpowered vessels less than 23 ft in length that are underway are not required to have red/green navigations lights.

Putting red/green navigation lights on your kayak can actually do more harm than good.

Kayak Safety Tips: Everything You Need To Know About Safe Kayaking

Because kayaks are not capable of moving out of the way of a power-driven vessel.

By displaying these red/green lights, other vessels may be unaware that you are a kayak or paddle craft and may expect you to get out of the way which can result in a collision.

As long as you properly display an all around white light , vessels are required to give you adequate space. Note that this doesn’t mean you can anchor in the middle of a channel and just expect them to go around you, as it is illegal to anchor in any navigational channel.

All vessels are required to have a USCG Approved All Around White Light When Not Underway, from sunset to sunrise or during periods of limited visibility

These lights must be visible from at least 2 miles away on a dark, clear night .

Kayak Safety Tips: Everything You Need To Know About Safe Kayaking

When you are moving, it is highly recommended to keep this light on and visible.

A bright LED headlamp or flashlight is also a great item to have as an extra means of being visible to other boaters.

The biggest mistake many kayakers make is creating their own DIY all around white light for when they are anchored.

This MUST be a USCG approved light when you are anchored and cannot be some type of glow stick or flashlight attached to a pvc pipe. These can be used, however, when underway to display in time to avoid a collision.

Are you making one of these six mistakes when it comes to inshore fishing from your kayak?

Kayak Safety Tips: Everything You Need To Know About Safe Kayaking

to take the 60-second Kayak Skunk Factor Survey and find out.

In addition to the required lighting above, when operating your kayak at night on coastal waters you are required to have at least three night signals.

These can be a combination of Red Flares, Red Meteors, and an Electric Light.

Note that the flares and meteors may have expiration dates on them so make sure they are up to date to be sure they function properly.

Most states will have their own special requirements as to what gear is mandatory to have . Be sure to check your local state regulations.

Kayak Safety Tips: Everything You Need To Know About Safe Kayaking

In Florida , we are only required to have the following:

You are not required to wear your PFD, however, there are certain circumstances in which you are required to wear them by law.

- Any child under the age of 6 must wear them at all times.

- If you are using an Inflatable Life Jacket , it must be worn at all times. It cannot be stowed away like your standard vests.

A great alternative to standard bulky foam life vests are inflatable PFDs.

Kayak Safety Tips: Everything You Need To Know About Safe Kayaking

These can inflate automatically when they make contact with water, or be inflated manually by blowing into a tube. It is highly recommended to use an automatically inflating one because if you end up unconscious for any reason, you can’t exactly blow into the tube to fill your life vest with air.

In addition to the inflatable vests that are worn like traditional vests, there is another inflatable type that you can wear like a hip pack.

Both of these styles are very comfortable and lightweight to wear all day on the water. However, you must be sure to check that they are functioning properly and that all parts are in working order for them to be legal, and most importantly, save your life.

And be prepared to have some of our friends make fun of your “fanny pack”.

You should keep your whistle on you at all times. No exceptions.

Kayak Safety Tips: Everything You Need To Know About Safe Kayaking

I’ve found that it’s best to have your whistle attached directly to your life vest or on a lanyard you can keep around your neck .

No matter what the law says, no matter how strong swimmer a swimmer you are, and not matter how calm it is, ALWAYS WEAR YOUR PFD.

Even if you are a strong swimmer, most drownings happen due to the operator of a vessel being knocked unconscious from a collision or experiencing some type of medical issue .

Believe it or not, these individuals will actually suffer more complications, or even death, from drowning than the initial medical issue itself.

Are you making one of these six mistakes when it comes to inshore fishing from your kayak?

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