While kayaking with a group is ideal, sometimes finding a group, or even another person, to go kayaking with you isn’t possible. Therefore, going alone is the only option. But how do you safely kayak alone?
Here is how to kayak alone safely:
- Check the weather.
- Do your research.
- Choose the right location.
- Tell your friends or family.
- Wear protective gear.
- Practice self-rescuing.
- Have safety equipment within reach.
By reading the rest of this article, you’ll learn various tips on how to kayak alone safely. Following these tips will ensure you’ll have a safer kayaking trip.
1. Check the Weather
Before going off on your solo kayaking expedition, you want to make sure you check the weather forecast for where you’ll be kayaking. With kayaking, you don’t want to just look at the temperature or rain. You want to pay attention to the wind direction and speed, as both of these can drastically change your kayaking experience.
You’ll also want to pay attention to the temperature of the water.
What Is the Ideal Weather for Kayaking?
While most seasoned kayakers know the ideal weather temperature from both research and experience, it’s essential for someone just getting into kayaking or wanting to kayak alone to know the best weather for a fun and safe time.
The ideal weather for kayaking includes minimal wind, small waves, and an air and water temperature of around 70°F (21.11°C). This weather is especially ideal when you’re alone, as it’s the safest type of weather for kayaking, and you won’t have backup if you’re heading out alone.
While temperature isn’t the most important, wind and waves are essential to consider.
When going out kayaking alone, checking the weather, particularly the wave and wind index, is one of the most crucial things to do. While kayaking is fun, it can be dangerous if you’re not careful.
Consider looking at wind-specific weather as well as the typical weather. Some websites show wind direction and speed across the United States, such as Windy.com.
2. Do Your Research
If you’re an inexperienced kayaker, you shouldn’t be kayaking alone. Even experienced kayakers need to do more research before deciding to go off alone for the first time.
Therefore, you need to take extra precautions and do more research, even if you think you know what you’re doing.
Researching what safety equipment you need, how to tie down your belongings in the kayak properly, and even how to transport the kayak on your own will ensure you have the knowledge necessary to have a fun and safe solo trip.
Another critical aspect of research is finding the right location for you, which I’ll discuss next.
3. Choose the Right Location
If you plan on going kayaking on your own, choosing the right location is essential. Typically, you’ll want to choose a location that you’re familiar with that you’ve been to multiple times with others. Choosing a familiar location will ensure you have experience in that area.
However, if you want to go somewhere new, make sure you research the area, including the weather and waves for that day, to ensure it’s something you can handle. It would be best if you also researched because not every kayak is suitable for every body of water.
For example, there are many different types of kayaks, both sit-on-top and sit-in. Rei lists various categories of kayaks, including recreational, touring, folding, inflatable, and pedal-powered. Some of these are better for choppy waters, while others work wonderfully in flowing rivers.
Therefore, it’s best to know what type of kayak you have when choosing the correct location.
4. Tell Your Friends or Family
You should always let your friends or family know when you’re going solo kayaking. Not only should you tell them that you’re going out alone, you should also let them know exactly where you’re going and how long you plan to be gone.
Letting people know where you’re going is essential in case something happens and you need help. Performing an occasional check-in with someone is also recommended.
5. Wear Protective Gear
While you might not always wear a life vest, a life vest (or personal floatation device) is essential if you’re kayaking alone. You never know what could happen, and since you’ll be alone, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Consider wearing specific clothes while kayaking as well. Of course, the weather will be a significant determining factor when choosing what to wear. A wetsuit or drysuit are both excellent ideas for colder weather, as they both have insulation capabilities.
Wearing water shoes, such as the UBFEN Aqua Shoes (available on Amazon.com), is also recommended if your kayak tips over and you need to navigate the water. Wearing flip-flops is risky, as they can get lost easily. On the other hand, the UBFEN Water Shoes are durable, flexible, and work wonderfully in water.
6. Practice Self-Rescuing
Practicing self-rescuing means practicing re-entering your kayak after it capsizes.
Knowing how to re-enter your kayak can come in handy if you find yourself in an emergency situation when you’re kayaking alone. That said, when you practice self-rescuing, you should do so with others around you.
Keep in mind that re-entering a kayak can be more complicated than it seems, especially if you’re in choppy waters. Having someone else around when you’re still getting the hang of it will ensure that you’re safe at all times.
7. Have Safety Equipment Within Reach
It’s essential to make sure your safety equipment is within reach. It would be best to organize your kayak so you know exactly where everything is in case of an emergency. The last thing you want to do is be forced to go through your kayak, trying to find what you need when you’re in the middle of an emergency.
Here’s a list of safety equipment you should take on your solo kayaking trip:
- First aid kit: A waterproof first aid kit is essential for minor cuts or blisters.
- Bilge pump: A bilge pump is necessary for removing water from the kayak.
- Flashlight: A flashlight is always good if it gets dark and you need to see where you’re going.
- Whistle: A whistle will help bring others’ attention your way if you’re stuck or stranded.
- Float bag: Float bags are helpful in case you capsize in deep water.
- GPS: It can be easy to get lost while kayaking, so a GPS is essential to know where you are.
- Extra paddle: A spare paddle will be beneficial if you lose your paddle or it somehow breaks.
Solo kayaking isn’t the safest way to kayak, but it’s common. Therefore, if you plan on solo kayaking, consider these steps to ensure you do so safely. While many of these steps are also essential for group kayaking, taking extra precautions is crucial to ensure your kayaking trip will be as safe as possible.
Take these precautions before solo kayaking:
- Check the weather.
- Research locations.
- Let others know your plans.
- Wear protective gear.
- Practicing self-rescuing.
- Bring safety equipment and have them within reach.