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Fishing is becoming one of the most popular outdoor sporting activities with approximately 50m+ people fishing at least once a year. Research suggests that people are less likely to go fishing due to it being difficult to access a lake or waters close by.
This is where the small, lightweight watercraft called ‘kayaks’ comes in handy. The kayak allows anglers to access waters that they previously may not have been able to. It also allows anglers to access the middle of lakes as well as deeper waters out at sea. If you’re going to hit the water in your new kayak for the first time, this article will provide you with the safety measures and precautions needed before and after heading out on the water.
1. Safety Safety Safety
If you’re heading out on the water, no matter whether you’re in a boat, kayak or dinghy, you should pack the safety essentials. It is recommended that you carry a personal flotation device (PFD), a signalling device (typically a flare) and a radio that tunes to the lifeguard channel. You should also take the items required by the U.S, coastguard. For your personal health, you should pack plenty of food, drink and sun cream in case you get stuck out at sea for a number of hours.
2. Make Others Aware Of Your Float Plan
Many anglers and boaters may think a float plan only needs to be completed for large vessels but smaller boats, kayaks and dinghies will also benefit from it. A float plan is a document that tends to include information such as names and addresses of the crew on board, the direction/path the boat will be taking, description of the boat and it’s relevant registration documents and a recent photo of the boat itself. If something was to happen to the boat out at sea, the float plan will provide the local coast guards with the relevant information to begin searching, this document may save yours and other crew members lives. For more information on a boat float plan, click here.
3. Carry A GPS Navigation System
There are a wide variety of GPS systems that are usable for kayaks. They will simply attach to the front of your kayak and allow you to be guided through the waters without coming across strong currents or large vessel crossings. The GPS will also allow you to head back to your loading and exiting point with ease.
4. Check The Conditions
Before heading out onto the water, ensure you study the weather conditions thoroughly. Also, if you’re attempting to fish on a lake, river or offshore, the tide times will affect when you go as you’ll want to fish at a specific time. The weather will determine what to pack and wear, wear sensible clothing in relation to the weather, you can never be over-prepared when on the water!
5. Dress Appropriately
As briefly mentioned above, it’s highly important that you wear appropriate clothing and prepare for the worst weather conditions. The weather can change in an instant you packing alternative warm clothing can be life-saving. Cold water represents one of the biggest hazards you may face, your body will become too cold and start to cause hypothermia. Wearing a wetsuit can help prevent or slow down the cause of hypothermia until help arrives.
6. Be Confident On Re-entering the Kayak
The 6th safety measure you need to take is having the ability to re-enter the kayak from the water. If you’re attempting to do this for the first time when the current is strong or the weather conditions are not great, you may find it a real struggle. From past experiences, it is easier to re-enter a “sit on” kayak compared to a ‘sit in” kayak. This may be something to consider when purchasing a kayak for the first time. Whichever kayak you use, if you’re not confident in re-entering you kayak successfully, it is a good idea to stay as close to shore as possible, so you can swim back.
7. Kayak In A Place That Matches Your Skill Level
Last but not least, the final safety measure to take is ensuring you kayak in a place that matches your skill level. If you’re heading out on the water for the first time, it is not recommended to paddle on deeper waters with high waves or strong currents. The ideal kayaking environment for a beginner is somewhere with no waves, small currents and protection from the wind. An in-land lake usually matches these characteristics.
If you’re heading into waters that have high winds, strong currents and the odd wave, you’re entering a new world. Any kayakers that enter these waters are recommended to take a kayaking course before doing so, as there are specific paddle techniques as well as kayak re-entering, help and advice.
To conclude this article, the 7 simple safety rules to follow when kayaking include;
> Ensure you follow the requirements and recommendations from the U.S. coast guard.
> Draw up a float plan and provide it to others.
> Carry a GPS navigation system .
> Check the weather and tide conditions.
> Dress appropriately and be prepared for a change in weather.
> Be confident on the ‘re-entering’ kayak technique before tackling tougher conditions and waters.
> Kayak in a place that matches your skill level
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