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Safety precautions while doing kayaking

3:05 a.m. on November 22, 2012 (EST)
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Hello guys, I have just started learning kayaking. I love it very much. But i want to know about safety precautions while doing kayaking. Please tell me what should i take care of while doing kayaking? Please reply. Thanks in advance.

11:23 a.m. on November 22, 2012 (EST)
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Shawn,

Read some books on swift water rescue, join a paddling group, and practice your technique with some friends.  Serious paddlers all have some friends that have died in the water.  Realize the hazards and prepare for them.  Sooner or later you will be in a tough spot, or may have to save someone else.  Moving water is serious and deserves more respect than many people give it.  Practice rolling your kayak in a pool at first until it is second nature, learn to brace, and get out and scout any rapids you are not sure of.  That should get you started.

10:46 p.m. on November 22, 2012 (EST)
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I am far from an expert, but kayaking, like any water sport, is not something you can learn from a book.

While you can learn the theory of what to watch out for from a book, until you are actually in the water, or in the case of kayaking, on the water, you will not pick up the skills you need. I used to be a scuba instructor and spent thousands of hours in the ocean. I was out once with a certified diver who was so afraid of a little windchop, she wouldn't get off the boat. With more experience, it would have been no big deal to her.

First thing, know where you are. Rivers are rated by class. Know the class and know where you plan to get out. Check the weather, rivers can become deadly without you knowing it because of some big storm upstream that floods it with a huge amount of water. Talk to other paddlers before venturing out.

Wear a life jacket at all times. Rough water, wear a helmet. Cold water, wear a wetsuit. I've done a bit of white water rafting and it was easy to get tossed out of the raft. I would carry a river knife. Mine is made from a single piece of stainless steel with a spring clip riveted to it and it slides into a plastic holder. It looks like a single edged dagger of sorts. Keep it handy, like strapped to your arm or your jacket so you can get at it.

Finally, take classes and don't go out alone until you are certain you can save yourself and even then, it's not such a great idea.

 

11:05 a.m. on November 23, 2012 (EST)
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I used to kayak three days a week. Ive paddled over two hundred rivers, dont claim to be an expert but ive put a lot of time into that sport. If you spend time in your boat you will become comfortable with it. The first thing you need is the ability to roll your boat back upright. Take a class, nobody can teach you to roll your boat but they can show you the motions to use. Its all in your hips, you have to feel it and commit. Its all in the hips and the paddle. When you can roll your boat confidently in flat water, head to a river with a small class two rapid that ends in a pool about four feet deep. The current right after that rapid is what you want, practice rolling in the current. Its a lot different until you learn to use the current. Your gonna have to hang out upside down a bit to get yourself oriented. When you have mastered this then paddle upstream into the rapid as far as you can and flip yourself over. If you know what to expect in a real time scenario you will react better, this is the safe way to begin. You should now be confident in your boat. Start slow and pay attention to water levels, the same river with jyst a couple more feet of water is a different animal. Find a local shop you like, they will have books and knowledge about local rivers and their levels. I just assuming your gonna have a helmet, proper class pfd, and a properly fitted boat. Those are the first and most important things to consider. I always wear a helmet in flowing water. Its a great sport, but it has risks like all adventure sports. Spend some time on each class of river, then move up to the next class. Everybody and every river is different, when you feel comfortable in several different class two rivers then try a three. Scout every rapid if your not familiar with the river, even different water levels. A lower level than usual can uncover a danger that is usually covered, dont assume a lower river is a safer river. This is all just my opinion, some of its just common sense. Where are you located, how much have you paddled so far? Sorry about the long rant, maybe some of it is helpful.

2:13 a.m. on December 6, 2012 (EST)
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As a paddling guide and instructor, I noticed several things. The first is, what type of water you are paddling. Are you in sea kayak, or a Sit On Top? Are you in a Rubber Duckie or a closed boat? How did you get into it? Through a club, just bought a boat, or your buddy said it was a good idea? The bottom line is that humans cannot breathe water. Learn the correct safety techniques, carry the gear and NEVER paddle alone. Three boats is considered the minimum on rivers. Read the articles I've posted on this site, and then join a club and take some classes. The rewards are fantastic. 

I am happy to answer any questions, so ask away.

9:52 p.m. on December 7, 2012 (EST)
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Some good advice on here. Maybe I can add a bit to fuel the fire.

I kayak in North Florida. We have wide open rivers, no rapids, mud bottom, oysters and water moccasins. The kayaks of choice here are sit-on-tops in the 12-15' range. This is for ease of entry/exit, it's always nice to take a dip in the water when temps are reaching the triple digit marks. I often kayak alone, although never without a PFD. It took a few tries in a pool for me to get the hang of re-entry on a SOT kayak, it's harder than it looks! I'd say that being able to get back in the safety of the kayak is your number 1 asset in case an emergency should happen.

April 18, 2014
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