Kayaking is one of the most fun water sports out there, and it’s also quite challenging. It can get your blood pumping while keeping you cool, all at once. However, as with all sports, there are risks involved with kayaking. Depending on the type of water body you choose to explore, there may be submerged objects or fast-moving currents that make for an unsafe environment for beginners. In this article, we will answer the question ‘Is kayaking dangerous?’ and look at some tips to stay safe while kayaking.
Is Kayaking Dangerous?
It depends on the situation and the conditions. In general, if you are careful, follow the safety advice, and use common sense, kayaking is a very safe activity. However, there are some risks that you need to be aware of and take precautions against in order to stay safe while kayaking. One of the most important things is to always wear a life jacket, even if you are an experienced paddler. A life jacket will keep you afloat if you fall into the water. It will also give you extra flotation so that you don’t sink below the surface.
Why Is Kayaking Dangerous?
Know the Basics Before Going Out
One of the first things you should do if you’re going to kayak is to get some professional instruction from an experienced kayak instructor. They’ll tell you how to properly fit a kayak for your size, how to use all the equipment properly, the correct paddling technique, and some basic first aid in case you get hurt. You should also familiarize yourself with the weather forecast for your kayaking location. Kayaking on a warm, sunny day can be very different than a cold, windy day where the water is full of debris. If you go out in bad weather or at the wrong time of day, it’s way more likely that you’ll get lost, get caught in a storm, or crash into something.
The Equipment Can Fail
If you’re kayaking on calm water, it might seem like you’re invincible and the equipment is 100% reliable. But kayaks, paddles, and life vests can all fail and leave you in danger. In fact, there have been several cases where kayaks have sunk in calm water. If you capsize or hit something, you may lose your paddles, which are essential for getting back to shore. And life vests are not bulletproof: they can tear or break, leaving you in danger of drowning. One of the most terrifying things that can happen is a kayak rollover. This is when one or both of the kayaks capsize and you lose your balance and fall into the water. While this happens sometimes to experienced kayakers, it’s very dangerous and can lead to a lot of injuries.
You’re Exposing Your Body to Danger
If you love the outdoors, you might think kayaking is the perfect way to enjoy the environment. But you’re exposing your body to lots of dangers that you can’t control, including: – Sharp objects. Kayaking near rocks and trees is extremely dangerous because you can hit something and impale your foot, leg or hand. – Sharks. Some bodies of water are known to have sharks, including the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. If a shark smells blood from an injury, it’s very likely that it will come after you. – Poisonous snakes. While they’re rare, there are a few types of snakes that live near bodies of water. – Bad weather. If you go out kayaking when the weather forecast calls for thunderstorms or high winds, you could get caught in a storm that would make it impossible to get back to shore or find shelter. – Exhaustion. Kayaking takes a lot of energy and is exhausting, especially if you’re going long distances. Even if you’re an experienced kayaker, exhaustion can set in if you’re out kayaking for too long.
Kayaks Don’t Have a Lot of Protection
Kayaks are typically made of very thin plastic, which doesn’t provide much in the way of protection from the elements or potential impacts. If the weather turns bad or you hit something, your kayak might break and leave you stranded in a leaky, broken craft that can’t get you back to shore. If you capsize, the thin plastic is unlikely to protect you from scrapes, cuts, or puncture wounds. Plus, it’s not uncommon for kayaks to have sharp edges or corners that can tear the skin if you’re not careful. A lot of kayaks also come without seat belts, which can lead to serious injury if you’re thrown out of your kayak and hit the water.
The Environment Is Hostile
Kayaking also exposes you to all the dangers of the environment, from the weather to nearby animals like sharks and poisonous snakes. If you capsize, you’re also at risk of getting hypothermia, which is a very dangerous condition where your body loses heat faster than it can replace it. You’ll typically kayak on open water, which means you won’t have any shelter from the elements if it starts to rain or hail. If the weather turns bad, you might not be able to find shelter or get back to shore, which can be deadly if you’re out in the open water.
What Types Of Kayaks And Their Safety Features?
- You should choose a kayak that has features that make it suitable for your skill level and the water body you will be kayaking on. While all kayaks will be safe for recreational use, some are better suited for certain water bodies. For example, a whitewater kaya will be more suitable if you are kayaking in a fast-flowing river. There are many different types of kayaks, each with certain safety features that make them suitable for certain conditions
- Recreational kayaks – These are kayaks that are best suited for calm water. They are great for those who are beginners or are just trying out kayaking and want to be sure they are safe. They are also the best kayaks for kids and people with mobility issues as they are very stable. Recreational kayaks have low-pressure seats and low footrests, which make them more comfortable for longer trips. They also have wide and flat hulls, which make them suitable for calm waters.
- Whitewater kayaks – If you are kayaking in a fast-flowing water body and wish to minimize the risk of being trapped by water flow, you will want to go with a whitewater kayak. Whitewater kayaks are designed to be more maneuverable than recreational kayaks and have a deck designed for mounting accessories, such as scopes.
- Touring kayaks – If you are looking for a kayak for longer trips such as day excursions, touring kayaks are a great option. Touring kayaks have a lower center of gravity, which makes them more stable than recreational kayaks. This makes touring kayaks a great option for those who have some kayaking experience. Touring kayaks also have a lower deck height than recreational kayaks, which makes them more suitable for longer excursions when you will be wearing a lot of gear.
Tips For Kayakers
- Always wear a life jacket if you are going out on open water.
- Choose the right kayak for your skill level, body type, and the water body you are kayaking on. – Stay out of areas with fast-moving currents or choppy water.
- Stay within your skill level and the conditions of the water body.
- Be aware of the weather conditions.
- Be sure to have enough water and food stored with you.
- Always wear a life jacket, even if you are just going to a small lake.
- Make sure you have enough safety gear with you, including a first aid kit and a flashlight.
- Take a kayaking training course if you are a beginner.
- Know how to perform basic kayaking rescues.
Kayaking can be a fun and adventurous water sport. However, it comes with its own set of risks. To ensure you have a safe time while kayaking, be sure to follow safety precautions, go kayaking in calm waters, and go with a group to reduce risk.