What's the key to having a great time kayaking and staying safe? Form good habits from the start. The time you take to prepare can be the difference between a great kayaking day and a bad experience. First, let's start with the basics:
- You and your passengers, especially little ones, should wear a Personal Floatation Device, PFD.
- I strongly advise taking a First Aid class which includes CPR. Where to find one? Many high school adult-ed programs or area hospitals offer First Aid and CPR training.
- A course in basic kayaking safety by a certified instructor including self and assisted rescue skills is necessary to get hands on training for emergency situations.
- Know the current future weather forecast.
More: Expedition Kayaking
With some basic kayaking safety tips under your belt, it's time to get into specifics.
Have a Float Plan
It's a good habit to let someone on shore or at home know of your plans. Even if you intend to simply paddle for a few hours at the nearest pond. This is simple kayaking safety.
For longer excursions, leave a more detailed float plan with a responsible person. If you plan to make stops, list the different places in the order in which they will be visited. Leave a second copy on your car seat and call when you're back on shore.
Always Have Water
You will need to carry enough water for each paddler and more in extreme heat. The rule of thumb is one gallon per day for each paddler.