Revised 31 July 11
Kayaking is generally a very safe sport and it is not difficult to get started. Often times novice kayakers can get over confident and place themselves in situations which are not safe. The key to kayak safety is having the knowledge of which situations are potentially dangerous and the skills to get you out of these situations if they cannot be avoided. However, it takes time to develop the required experience and skills. In the mean time, you must remember to paddle within your limits. When stretching your known limits, go with a buddy who has the experience and skills which you may lack.
The best way to ensure kayak safety is:
A group of more than three paddlers should select a leader to make decisions in critical situations. Usually this is the most experienced kayaker.
See TBSK Equipment List
Know several recovery and rescue techniques and practice them in the type of water in which you will paddle. These rescue techniques are best learned from a local professional kayak instructor.
Knowledge of Knots
The knowledge of knots is very useful whether for rescues or securing items or when camping. Here is a website that can help www.netknots.com
Most fatal accidents result from the kayaker capsizing and coming out of his/ her boat and then succumbing to hypothermia. Most people do not realize that water cools the body 50 times faster than air. A person can die of hypothermia in water which is 80 degrees F. When the body is emerged in water, it starts diverting blood from your extremities to your body core to slow down the cooling process in your vital organs. While this is good because it will help you live longer, the lack of blood feeding your muscles quickly makes them very weak - perhaps too weak to get you out of the water and into your kayak. Therefore, fatalities can results from:
Failure to exercise a recovery/ rescue caused by:
Extra Equipment for Cool Weather/ Water:
Symptoms of Hypothermia:
Mild Hypothermia (core temperature 91 to 98 degrees F):
Severe Hypothermia (core temperature 90 to 82 degrees F):
Severe Hypothermia (core temperature less than 82 degrees F):
It can take several hours to warm a person who has only mild hypothermia. Therefore, treat each capsize as a potential case of hypothermia.
Most of us know that Florida (and the Tampa Bay area) is the lightning capital of the U.S. Lightning causes about 73 deaths and hundreds of serious injuries each year. As boaters we should be knowledgeable about how to lower the risks of being hit by lightning.
Before Going on the Water:
For more information on lightning safety - weather.gov