01 - Am I ready to go kayaking?



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Here are some things to consider in deciding if you are capable of kayaking on an extended or solo trip.




Solo kayaking is inherently more dangerous than kayaking with a partner. Multi-day kayaking is also inherently more dangerous because of the opportunity to encounter difficult conditions far from help.

These questions are not intended to tell anyone that they can or can't go out kayaking on their own. They are simply a quick survey of the knowledge/skills that are helpful in coastal kayaking. You have to decide for yourself what you are capable of.

1. Equipment

  • Do you own your own boat(s)?
  • What kind?
  • What size/kind of hatches does it have?
  • Does it have watertight bulkheads?
  • What sort of deck rigging has your boat got?
  • Does it have a rudder?
  • Can you fix your boat if it breaks?
  • Do you have a spare paddle?
  • Do you have a paddle float?
  • A pump?

2. Loading and Camping
  • Have you ever paddled a loaded boat?
  • Have your ever loaded a boat?
  • What sort of camping equipment do you own?
  • How comfortable are you camping in bad weather conditions?

3. Cold Water
  • Have you ever dealt with cold water conditions?
  • What kind of paddling clothes do you have to deal with cold water?
  • What are the effects of cold shock?
  • Do you know how to prevent it?
  • What are the symptoms of hypothermia?
  • What about hyperthermia?

4. Travelling in Seas
  • Do you know how far you can travel in a day with a loaded boat?
  • How about in a headwind?
  • How about with following seas?
  • Do you know your limits with respect to wind/weather/sea conditions you are comfortable paddling in, or have you only paddled calm seas?
  • Would you know when it is not safe to paddle?
  • Have you ever paddled in surf?
  • Do you know how wind/weather/topography/tides affect sea conditions?

5. Signalling
  • Do you own a weather radio?
  • How about a marine VHF 2-way radio?
  • Do you know different ways to signal for help if you need it?
  • What types of signalling equipment do you own?

6. Rescues
  • Do you know how to reenter your boat with or without assistance should you tip over and have to exit?
  • What sea conditions are you capable of doing this in?
  • Have you ever tipped over and exited your boat?
  • Do you have a roll?
  • How are your braces?

7. Navigation
  • Can you navigate in a kayak if you can't see your destination?
  • Do you own a compass?
  • Hand held or deck mount?
  • Do you know how to use a nautical chart and protractor?
  • Do you know how to correct for magnetic declination?
  • How do you decide when not to go?

8. Tides and Tidal Currents
  • What do you know about tides and tidal currents?
  • How do they affect sea conditions?

9. Injury
  • Do you know what to do if someone gets hurt?
  • Are you prepared to tow?

10. Experience
  • Have you ever taken a coastal kayaking class?
  • Have you ever gone on an extended kayaking trip?

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See cautionary warning at end of this page..


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EVEN THE BEST BOATERS CAN FIND THEMSELVES IN SERIOUS TROUBLE ON THE MILDEST OF DAYS ON THE WATER. PARTICIPATION IN THIS SPORT IS A STRENUOUS ACTIVITY. CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE UNDERTAKING ANY SUCH ACTIVITY. PLEASE BE AWARE THAT EACH BOATER TAKES FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR HIS OR HER OWN SAFETY, AND IS TOTALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR ASSESSING THE DANGER LEVEL AND ACCEPTING THE CONSEQUENCES OF PARTICIPATING IN THIS SPORT.


SeaKayak Chesapeake bay makes no representations and extends no warranties of any type as to the accuracy or completeness of any information or content on this website.This website is for informational purposes only. All of the information provided on this website is provided "AS-IS" and with NO WARRANTIES. No express or implied warranties of any type, including for example implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose, are made with respect to the information, or any use of the information, on this site.


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