Deckee's 2021 safety checklist for kayaks

8th February 2021

Are you new to kayaking? Anyone can buy or rent them for a day and enjoy the ocean.

However, as we advocate, safety is paramount for the boating community. Too many unnecessary deaths and accidents happen on the world’s waterways every year. Don’t worry; sea safety isn’t rocket science.

Kayak safety checklist

There’s a variety of kayaks out there - from sea and ocean kayaks, to sit-on-top and whitewater kayaks. This watercraft is extremely versatile and will allow you to glide through the water to get up close to a sea turtle, or zoom down a waterfall.

Wherever you go and whatever you do on a kayak, make sure you leave for your trip with the necessary safety gear.

Here’s our kayak and canoe safety checklist.

  1. Wear a non-inflating PFD that’s approved by your local maritime safety organisation

  2. Carry a first aid kit

  3. Take a dry bag with sunscreen, a mobile phone, water and food

  4. Have a repair kit with you, especially if you use an inflatable kayak

  5. Get yourself a paddle leash

  6. Dress for the weather conditions and water temperature

  7. Wear a helmet and rashguard

  8. Have a bailer on board

  9. Tie a 15-20m (50-65ft) tow line to your kayak and keep it aboard

  10. Carry a spare paddle

  11. Bring a knife

  12. Have a marine whistle on you

If you plan to kayak on a river, we recommend starting off with some tuition, as freshwater is less buoyant and a river poses more dangers than the beach.

Also, consider taking a kayaking course with a certified instructor, if you plan to go out regularly. They will be able to teach you the techniques you can use in a dangerous situation. It’s also good to get a professional to look at how you paddle and sit in the boat - they’ll help you paddle more efficiently.

If you plan to kayak on longer trips, you’ll also need:

  1. Charts

  2. Compass

  3. GPS

  4. VHF radio

  5. An air horn

  6. In-date flares

  7. Headlamp or flashlight

  8. Spare clothes, kept in a dry bag

Each time you go out, make sure you check that all gear is in good condition, including the kayak or canoe and paddles.

Please make sure you research the regulations for mandatory equipment and maintenance of the watercraft you intend to use where you are. These vary in each state and country.