Kayaking Considerations

While I enjoy taking out friends, I more often than not prefer to paddle by myself. That being said, there are some things to consider before paddling on your own.

Ease of launch: If you have a site where you want to kayak, drive to it and explore the area first. Make sure that you can get your boat in and out of the water (as well as on and off the car) by yourself.

It’s better, and safer, to kayak with someone else: As with all water sports, safety first. Know that there is always a risk of drowning when boating, especially alone. If you aren’t a confident swimmer or are fretful around water, consider kayaking with a companion or a group. It’ll probably make you feel more comfortable and confident.

Consider your body of water: I only kayak alone on lakes. On rivers, oceans and bays, I always go with others. Unless you are an experienced kayaker on multiple types of water, consider going with a guide on anything besides flat water.

PFD: Otherwise known as a personal flotation device or life jacket–it’s always best to wear one when kayaking, regardless of where you are. In some places, it’s mandatory.

Things to bring: I prefer to travel light when I’m on the water, but I always have sunglasses, a hat with a brim, sunscreen, at least two bottles of water, a towel, and a light snack. If I know that I’ll be out on the lake for at least half a day, I’ll pack a lunch and a long-sleeved shirt in case of sunburn. I never drink alcohol when kayaking.

Practice taking your kayak on and off your car: You don’t want to run into problems at the launch site, especially if no one else is around.

Take a class: I didn’t do this. I was self-taught, which may or may not be a good idea. Being a bit of a DIYer, I searched for paddling instructions online. Then again, my boats are sit-on-tops, so I don’t need to roll them. If you decide to buy or already have a sit-in kayak, I highly recommend lessons. Being able to roll your boat is important to your safety.

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