7 Kayak Safety Tips for Beginners

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Anytime you are out on the water fishing or relaxing, you have to always respect the dangers. When you are fishing, it is easy to get distracted so it is even more important to take some safety precautions.

Kayak fishing in particular is an exciting and challenging way to catch your favorite fish. It can be as dangerous as it is fun, however. 

Not to scare you off from going for it, but if you plan to buy a kayak then make sure you are following these kayak safety tips.

Always wear a life jacket

I’m putting this first because it is the most important kayak safety tip. I have been in some dangerous situations and come out fine because I had my life jacket aka PFD on. And, unfortunately, I have known a couple of people who are no longer with us simply because they weren’t wearing theirs. 

Don’t think you will be able to put it on if you find yourself in trouble, because you don’t see it coming. 

I know many feel like a life jacket restricts their movements and even falsely believe that they are more dangerous. Both of those issues are simply not true. 

Check out this article by the Coast Guard to see what they have to say about wearing one. 

By the way, you can always use a fishing PFD so you have a handy space to stow your tools.

Dress for the weather

I love kayak fishing in just about any type of weather. One of the reasons I can enjoy it no matter what time of year is that I dress for the season. 

Remember that when you are out on the water it is likely to be cooler than on land. Dress in layers so if you do find yourself heating up then you can lose a couple and still be warm. It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed.

Know your limits

Make sure you don’t overestimate what you are capable of. If you are planning to fish a river, think twice as you may not know how to deal with the currents. Kayak safety depends more on avoiding dangerous situations to begin with than extricating yourself from one. 

Tell somebody your plans

If in the unlikely event you find yourself in trouble while out on the water, it’s best to let people know your plans so they can look for you if you don’t turn up.

Leave a note with a specific area you plan to fish and what time you plan on returning. If you don’t turn up on time then they know it’s time to worry a bit. Also, make sure to let your loved ones know when you’ve finished and are safely back on land so they don’t panic if they haven’t heard from you.

Don’t drink and paddle

Water and booze do not mix. As I mentioned before, things can happen quickly and before you know it you need to think just as fast. You can’t think quickly if you’re impaired. Save the beer for when you get home so you can actually relax and enjoy it. Not to mention that kayaking and drinking is against the law just about everywhere. 

Essential Safety Equipment 

In addition to your life jacket there are some other items that could keep you out of danger. They aren’t necessarily required but are good to have.

  • Marine Radio – Having a handheld VHF radio got me out of a tight spot when I had to make a Mayday call from the middle of Boston Harbor one time. I recommend this one from Cobra as it is floating and has a built-in GPS receiver. 
  • Kayak Tow Line – If you ever lose a paddle or are unable to paddle yourself then having a throw line is a great thing to have.  
  • Leashes – Make sure you are securing everything you need to stay safe.

Take Kayak Safety Seriously

If your safety plan is to not fall in then you need to rethink that safety strategy. You may never need to follow any of these safety tips, but knowing them may save your life.

You may be like me and can only relax and enjoy yourself when you know you have everything you need to stay safe on the water. 

If you have any questions about how to stay safe when kayak fishing then drop a line in the box below and I will get back to you ASAP.

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