Kayak Safety

kayak safety

Kayak safety is the key to enjoying this activity. Preparation in advance for the things that might happen will allow you to explore and have fun.

Checking the weather is the first thing to do when your schedule allows you to spend some time on the water. Gather up your gear and head out if the weather will be cooperating with you.

Kayaking when you are beginning is best done as a group activity. Learn from other more experienced kayakers and gather all the tips to make kayaking even more enjoyable.

Plan your route and be sure to let others know your plans. If you encounter any issues, they can directly help you more quickly.

At first, it is a good idea to stay near places that are protected from waves and wind and within swimming distance of the shoreline.

Exiting Your Kayak

Before you head out on the water, learn how to get out of your kayak if it turns over. Practice this in a pool or take a class. Doing this from a sit-on-top kayak is relatively easy but doing it from a sit-inside kayak takes more skill.

If you are using a spray skirt, learn how to quickly unhook the deck on your spray skirt. Push your body out of the cockpit from your sit-in kayak. This will be important, especially if you happen to be underwater.

Wet Entry

When you are out of your kayak in the water, you will want to know how to get back into your kayak. Classes would be suitable to help you learn the easiest way to get the steps right to get back into the kayak quickly. Practice doing this with a partner or yourself, so you feel confident you will accomplish this. Learn more about wet exiting in this article.

Eskimo Roll

The technique will allow you to roll your kayak to bring yourself upright without leaving the cockpit. Practice this, so you know how to do this before performing this move.

Review the article on what to wear kayaking to get more information about what to wear. Clothing will be selected for the time of year and the weather conditions you encounter.

Equipment to have with you

PDF (personal flotation device for every person in your group) Buy one specifically for kayaking, so your movements are not restricted.
NRS Ninja Kayak Lifejacket (PFD) 7 colors

Astral, V-Eight Fisher Life Jacket PFD for Kayak Fishing, Recreation and Touring, Storm Navy, M/L


Paddle Float

A paddle float is an inflatable device attached to the paddle blade. They can be used as emergency flotation devices. They can help a paddler stabilize their kayak during the re-entry process.

NRS Sea Kayak Paddle Float

Rope and Rope Bag

Rope can have several uses for a kayaker. It can be used to tie up a kayak to a dock or something on the bank. The rope bag can store the rope when it is not in use.

Best Marine Water Rescue Throw Bag with 70ft Rope. Throwable Safety Device for Kayaking, Boating, Lifeguard & Ice Fishing Emergency Kit. Boat & Kayak Accessories. Search & Rescue Gear Equipment

Air Horns/Flares/Whistles

Any one of these items is good to attract attention if you need help. Research what would be the best for the area you will be kayaking.

SeaSense Large Air Horn 3.5 oz.

Sirius Signal SOS LED Electronic Visual Distress Signal with Daytime Distress Flag, and Whistle – CG Approved

LuxoGear Emergency Whistles with Lanyard Safety Whistle Survival Shrill Loud Blast for Kayak Life Vest Jacket Boating Fishing Boat Camping Hiking Hunting Rescue Signaling Kids Lifeguard Plastic 2 Pack


These bags keep items from getting wet by having a small amount of air in them. It allows the bag to float if it happens to get into the water—clothes, water, first aid kit, sunscreen, and any extra items you are carrying.

Earth Pak -Waterproof Dry Bag – Roll Top Dry Compression Sack Keeps Gear Dry for Kayaking, Beach, Rafting, Boating, Hiking, Camping and Fishing with Waterproof Phone Case

Assemble your equipment, let others know what you have with you, and find it if needed.

Stay alert for any possible problems or hazards you might encounter. Be sure to keep aware of the weather or potential changes. Have your group members check in with each other to avoid any dehydration or sun overexposure.

Kayaking is very safe, but things can quickly go wrong. Unexpected weather is something to be prepared for as you are out on the water.

Be sure not to drink and kayak. Alcohol impairs your judgment and could contribute to a wrong decision.

Dress for immersion

Determine the weather temperature and water temperature and dress to ensure that you will be able to get back into your kayak safely if you wind up in the water.

Kayak in your skill level

Kayaking safely means you have good access to a launch area and a landing area. A place that has places to get back to land and that there will be minimal boat traffic, especially motorized boats.

Be sure you can be seen

  • Wear bright clothing
  • Reflective tape placed on your clothing will help you be seen, especially at night.
  • Add to the front, back, and straps of the PFD
  • On your paddles
  • on the bow
  • on the stern

When kayaking at night, be sure to use red and green running lights on the front of your kayak, so other boaters will know the direction you are traveling.
kayak lights

Botepon Kayak Battery Operated Navigation Lights, Boat Bow Lights and Stern Lights, Waterproof Kayak Lights for Night Kayaking

Your Emergency Kit
First Aid Kit
Devices for signaling Mirrors or flares and flare gun
Food supplies
Compass or GPS
Sleeping Bag and tent

***A change of clothes in case you get wet

More Essentials Here