I had a couple friends post up some stuff on Facebook a couple days ago that alluded to this topic, so I thought I’d add to it to a certain degree.
Kayak safety is extremely important and should not be taken lightly. Safety can basically encompass several different issues, and I’ll attempt to touch on as many as I can. It’s required that you have a whistle and a PFD (Personal Floatation Device) on the kayak at all times. While it’s not required to actively wear your PFD, it’s a habit that you should definitely start. My advice would be to research and test out different brands and find a PFD that is not only comfortable, but also adheres to Coast Guard regulations. I use the MTI Helios PFD. It’s a light, manual or self-inflating PFD, and I wear it from the time I launch my kayak until I get out of the yak at the launch at he end of the day. Even though I’m normally fishing in waters that are predominantly 1′-4′, I always wear it. You never know when an accident may occur, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry in my book.
Float plan is also important. It’s important that your loved ones know the area that you’re going to be fishing or kayaking in the event of an accident. It’s a relatively simply process, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do it. Hydration is another tool that’s of equal importance. It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of the summer in 100 degree heat or a mild and comfortable 50 degrees in the Fall. Kayaking is an active sport, and whether or not ya realize it or not, you’re expending energy when paddling out to your favorite fishing spot. ALWAYS take plenty of water with you. Soft sided coolers are fairly inexpensive, and easy to store in your kayak or milkcrate. Sunscreen is another friendly tool to have in your kayak when out on the water… The sun’s reflection off the water will cook your skin, and leave you with a very uncomfortable feeling for a few days afterwards. It only takes a few moments when getting your gear ready to launch, but it could save you from tons of long term problems down the road.
If you’re going to go out in the early morning hours before sunrise, or fish into the late evening hours past sunset, it’s required to have some sort of lighting device. This not only helps others out on the water see you, but also protects you from accidents. LED light kits are becoming very popular with kayak anglers, and rightfully so.
Remember, safety isn’t something to be trifled with. Protect yourself, and you’ll enjoy many more days out on the water. Below is a list of the items I use for kayak safety:
MTI Helios PFD w/ whistle SPF 30 spray sunscreen Railblaza telepole 1000 with NaviSafe 360 LED light Led lightkit from Yak Gear Salt Life soft sided cooler filled with ice & water Columbia PFG fishing clothing. (SPF protection, plus allows for more comfortable cooling on the water with the Omni Freeze or Omni Freeze Zero) Columbia gloves & buff
These things are always in my crate or on my kayak.
What’s your way of maintaining kayak safety while out on the water?