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Sea Kayaking Safety
Sea Kayaking Safety by Peter Lenkefi
Sea kayaking is a fun and energetic sport that can be enjoyed by people of any age, shape and size, but you should always take your safety very seriously when you jump into your sea kayak for a quick paddle. Weather conditions can turn quickly and with very little warning, and there are quite a number of sea kayak related deaths each year - mostly caused by kayakers not taking their safety seriously.
1. The most essential piece of equipment – the PFD
A PFD is a personal floatation device. If you ever consider going out in your sea kayak without taking a PFD, you shouldn’t be going out at all. It’s very simple, buy one and wear it. Some parts of the world don’t demand that you wear it but only that you should carry it. In my opinion this isn’t good enough. You can buy excellent PFDs that not only look good and feel comfortable but have storage pockets for holding your vital equipment. There really is no excuse for not wearing one. If you only take one piece of this article in, I hope it’s this one: wear a PFD at all times when you are in your sea kayak.
2. A pump
A pump is a necessity because if your kayak is full of water after rolling or capsizing you are either going to get hypothermia or you aren’t going to be able to make it back to shore. Please make sure the pump floats because if you roll the first thing you won’t be thinking of is catching your pump. Paying $30 for a bilge pump could be the best money you’ve ever spent, but if you roll and your pump doesn’t float you may as well have left it at home.
3. Other equipment
Make sure it floats, and I’m not just talking about your sea kayak. I’m talking about any essential equipment on board your boat. If it doesn’t float by design, put it in a container that will float. This is especially important if it’s not waterproof but needs to stay dry, because even the waterproof areas of your kayak will let water in when you roll. Carry a compass, map, food, water, matches (in a water tight container), flare gun, cell phone and anything else you think you might need. It should all fit into one small bag or even into the storage pockets of the PFD you should be wearing.
4. Never paddle alone
Weather conditions can change in an instant with little or no warning, so it is essential that you have at least one other person with you to help if things get too much or if the unexpected happens. A kayaking partner really can save your life.
Copyright 2005 Peter Lenkefi http://www.kayak-tips.com