Inflatable Kayaking Do’s & Don’ts

You will learn fairly quickly after a few outings what to do and not to do on your kayaking trips. For any brand new paddlers out there it might help to know some key do’s and don’ts that will make your first few paddling adventures enjoyable and safe.

Inflatable Kayaking Do’s

  • Tell someone where you are going and roughly what time you expect to be back.
  • Load your kayak carefully so that the weight is distributed fairly evenly. More weight at the back is better then more weight at the front.
  • Pack your pump and repair kit in a dry bag and bring it in the inflatable kayak with you.
  • Make sure your inflatable kayak is inflated to full capacity. If there is not enough air in it, it will not be as rigid as it should be and therefore could be quite sluggish.
  • Stay close to shore. If you are kayaking in the ocean or on a lake it is wise to paddle along the shore line. If winds pick up you could have a hard time making it back. Keeping the shoreline well in sight is a very wise thing to do.
  • Bring clean drinking water with you… enough so you won’t run out.
  • Bring layers of clothing. Even if the weather is warm it is a good idea to pack extra clothing away in your dry bag so that you are prepared for any type of weather should it change quickly or your plans get off course.
  • Bring a hat – rain or shine, it will protect your head and your face.
  • Bring your cell phone. It may be difficult to tell if you will be within cell phone range but bring it anyway just in case.
  • Bring a whistle. If you are ever in trouble, a whistle is a great way to get others attention.
  • Sunscreen!! The hot sun and reflection on the water can do some serious damage to your skin. If you plan on being out for hours, you may need to reapply your sunscreen often.
Inflatable Kayaking Don’ts

  • Don’t run into sharp objects. Most inflatable kayaks are built extremely sturdy but there is no point hitting sharp objects if they can be avoided. Steer around sticks and debris in the water.
  • Don’t drag your inflatable kayak over rocks and gravel unless you have to. Again most are built to handle this, but there is no sense scratching up the bottom of the kayak unless it is absolutely necessary. Try and carry the kayak to the water if possible.
  • Don’t disturb the wildlife. One of the best parts of kayaking is viewing the wildlife. The last thing we want to do is disturb their environment. Look, take pictures, but let them be.
  • Don’t bring alcohol in the kayak. Drinking alcohol while kayaking can cause all sorts of problems. For one it can cause some serious dehydration while out in the sun as well as make paddling a real chore. Keep your focus, take your time, stay hydrated and leave the alcohol for when you get home.
  • Don’t get toppled by waves. Waves are easy to deal with… just take them head on. When you see larger waves coming your way, turn your kayak so that you face the wave and just ride it out. If you take it sideways, you risk being overturned.
  • Don’t drink the water. Obviously you wouldn’t do that in the ocean but if you are kayaking in a lake or river you may be tempted. Unfortunately the water in most waterways is NOT drinkable. Bring your own clean water and leave the rest for the fish.
  • Don’t stand up to try and swap places if you are kayaking tandem. Though it is possible to do this, it is not recommended. There is a very good chance that at least one of you will end up in the water. Wait until you can get to some shore to change places.
  • If you decide to take a break and dock on some shore, don’t leave your kayak too close to the water unattended. Tides can change and you may come back to find your kayak floating a long ways away.
  • Don’t get too close to motor boats. A noisy motor boat can be annoying on a peaceful kayaking trip but they are often sharing the waterway with us. Being in a kayak we are not as noticeable to them as they are to us. Stay well out of the way of other boats as it is not always so easy to move out of the way quickly.
  • Don’t fall asleep in your kayak. One of the most amazing feelings on a warm and beautiful day can be do detach your kayak seat and lay out in the open water in your kayak… very peaceful!. However be careful not to fall asleep as you never know where you might end up or what could happen.

Hopefully these do’s and don’ts of inflatable kayaking will help to make your first few paddling experiences good ones. Once you get more comfortable with what you are doing, you will learn very quickly what works for you and what doesn’t. The key things to remember are to always go prepared for anything, play it safe and always stay focused.

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