The benefits of paddling are endless. People all over the world choose it as their favorite hobby, exercise, or recreational activity. No matter what the motive is, safety should be their main concern. Ignoring precautions may lead to accidents, injuries, or even death.
If you are a beginner, learn swimming, buy a stable and wide watercraft, and practice before starting the water trips. Apart from these, get some safety gear, which will protect you throughout the journey. So, ba-9 what piece of safety equipment is required on every canoe and kayak for all skill levels? Here is the list:
What Safety Equipment is Required on Every Canoe and Kayak
1. Life Jackets of Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)
Both life jackets and PFDs help to keep us afloat after falling into the water. A PFD is usually more durable and comfortable to wear. Contrarily, life jackets win when it comes to protection. They flip the kayaker on his/her back within a few seconds. As a result, an unconscious person’s face will stay out of the water, and he/she will survive. Some PFD lack this advantage.
Feel free to choose any based on your location, water depth, and comfort. According to records, over 90-percent of capsizing incidents happen unexpectedly, so that the passengers fail to reach their life jackets. Don’t make this silly mistake. Wear it as soon as you step into the watercraft or even before.
2. Head Protection
Most people use caps to stay safe from UV radiation. But caps fail to ensure the proper protection against rough water on a bass boat. Helmets can serve both purposes. Many canoeists die and get injured every year by hitting their heads on logs, sharp items, or rocks.
That’s why wearing only a life jacket is not enough. Combine it with a helmet for full safety. It should fit your ears, upper neck, and head perfectly. Specially designed water helmets are way better than traditional bike helmets. Be sure that your selected one is weatherproof and it withstands multiple hits.
3. Sound Generating Device
Sound producing items are necessary for every type of craft, especially on the rapid water. Use them whenever you lose track, fall into the water or face other problems. The sound will draw the attention of nearby canoes and local people. Then, they will come to save you.
You can bring whistles, bells, horns, etc. Just make sure that the signal is audible from a long distance. Air horns and high-quality whistles are paddlers’ top favorite choices. Many experienced paddlers skip them. But we recommend preparing for every type of situation, even with the slightest probability.
4. Spare Paddle
Capsizing may occur suddenly. You can lose or break your paddle. If you are a good swimmer and are on calm water, you can search for your paddle. Otherwise, get on the boat as soon as possible. More time on the water may put your life in danger.
Now that you are back on the seat, you need a paddle to steer, at least to reach the closest shore. Hence, you should keep at least one spare paddle regardless of the trip’s duration. Store it inside a waterproof paddle bag.
5. Repair Kits
Old and weak crafts can break at any time. It can cause flooding and capsizing eventually. The majority of the boats can be repaired with minimum effort. Some are hard to fix by ourselves but temporarily repairable. We need multiple things to patch the damaged parts.
Put specific tools, including duct tape, epoxy resin, spare screws, nuts, bolts, screwdriver, applicator brushes, strong wires, nails, sandpaper, sealing ingredients, knife, etc., in a waterproof bag. Many kayak models come with their own repairing kit. It is a good idea to order the kits and keep them with our boats.
6. Spray Skirt
Getting wet during paddling is a common thing. Every time a blade goes into the water, its edges splash water. Spray skirts can help us out in such a case. They assist in keeping us dry when we paddle. They play another significant role in rough streams. Sit-inside kayaks tend to get filled with water more easily. Then, riders have to struggle a lot to keep themselves afloat. Spray skirts cover the cockpit and prohibit the water from entering the boat’s compartment.
7. First Aid Kit
The first aid kit is a must for hiking, camping, and paddling. Sometimes, people get hurt due to sudden accidents. Besides, blisters, animal bites, mosquito bites, harmful plants can result in serious health issues. Not taking basic immediate medications may worsen their conditions.
You can customize the kit as per your need. Place some common medicines such as painkillers, paracetamol, Advil, Aspirin, antiseptic ointment, etc. Also, include medication for your particular health problems like allergy, diabetes, migraine, and so on. Other items can be bandages, gauze pads, small scissors, medical tapes, antiseptic gloves, antiseptic wipes, and Band-Aids.
8. Float Bags
Float bags sit into the bow as well as stern compartments. They keep the canoe or kayak at a higher water level. Users can inflate and deflate the bags depending on the available storage. However, the inflating process is hard to do by mouth. The air into these bags displaces a significant amount of water. They also resist water penetration through a broken cargo compartment.
Therefore, there won’t be flooding and flipping risks. In this way, a float bag boosts the craft’s buoyancy and maneuverability. At the same time, it saves boats from dangerous situations without adding more weight. A big model generally suits different kayaks. So, you don’t have to spend plenty of bucks for them.
9. Navigational Light Sources
You may not need them in short paddling sessions under daylight. Only carry them for night or evening paddling. Regular LED lanterns, flares and flashlights work just fine with a small craft. They produce white light and enable paddlers to see a long area. It also helps to communicate with other kayaks.
Navigational back-lights and front lights indicate that a kayak is moving away or coming closer, respectively. Then, boat owners can take action accordingly to avoid a collision. Always prioritize waterproof options while buying light sources for kayaking or canoeing.