Kayaking is statistically one of the world’s safest sports, but any time you throw water into the mix, it’s always better to be safe than sorry! Being prepared with the proper safety equipment is something that every kayaker, new or experienced, is responsible for before they head out.
It’s not just your own safety to take into account, but also the safety of everyone in your group and the rescue workers who will be dispatched in the event of an emergency. Be sure to factor in the proper safety gear into your budget when you buy a kayak!
Not sure what kayaking safety equipment you need?
Here are some of our top suggestions for kayak safety gear to bring on every paddling trip.
- The Right Kayak
Buy from a trusted manufacturer that adheres to the latest safety standards and will offer support on how to choose the right kayak for your skill level. It can be dangerous out on the water in a kayak meant for an experienced paddler when you’re just starting out. There are many different types of kayaks for many different purposes, so ask for advice from an expert at your local kayak retailer if you’re not sure which one is right for you!
Choose the right paddle for your size and the activity you’re going to be doing. Again, ask for help from an expert if you’re unsure what kind of paddle is best for your ability.
Check out our selection of paddles here.
This piece of kit is absolutely essential. Your PFD must fit properly, and you must actually wear it! It’s no use to you if you’ve capsized in the water and your PFD is in your boat. Search for kayak-specific PFDs that are designed to give you plenty of movement and not feel too bulky so you can paddle freely.
View our selection of kayaking PFDs here.
- First Aid Kit
Comes in handy as an initial fix if anyone in your group suffers an injury, from small cuts to more serious situations. Boating-specific first aid kits are available that will include waterproof bandages and come in a water-tight bag or box. If you’re not familiar with basic first aid, consider taking a course or make sure that someone in your group is trained in case of an emergency. Keep the first aid kit in an accessible spot in your kayak so it can be reached quickly.
- Dry Bag w/ Cell Phone, Radio, Map, ID etc.
Fasten your dry bag securely to your kayak and keep all the important items you don’t want getting wet or lost securely in here. It is also super important that your phone is in a suitable pouch with a higher iPX rating than your bag!
- Bilge Pump
Kayak bilge pumps are a great tool to keep with you on the water to help you get rid of any standing water you’ve taken on. It’s important to have them and know how to use them in case of an emergency and to ensure you’re able to paddle smoothly without any extra weight holding you back.
Sprayskirts are a piece of equipment worn by the kayaker that creates a watertight seal around the cockpit and prevents water from entering the kayak. You should consider purchasing a sprayskirt if you intend to kayak in conditions where the water is rough
Nobody wants to get in an accident, but by being properly prepared you greatly minimize the chances of getting into real trouble. Keep this essential kayaking safety equipment guide with you and you’re all set to stay safe on the water!