Safety tips

 Canoe and kayak resources

Kayaking & Safety

Top ten safety tips

How to be safe on the water

Derek Hairon. of Jersey Kayak Adventures, passes on to me of the wisdom that he has accumulated In 40 years of paddle sport

1)

Dress assuming that you will get wet

If you are dressed for immersion you can still take the layers off later if it is warm but if you are out there and you fall in and you haven't got the gear then you are going to get cold quickly "Even on the hottest day in June, a pair of shorts and a T-shirt mi«ht not be appropriate."

2)

Don't go out on your own

"Things can be that much harder if you have no one to help you out. For example, if you fall out your kayak there U no one to help you back In. We get people having some very bad scares because they are by themselves. "If you must paddle alone make sure that you do It In conditions a few levels below your limits so you definitely have something left if something does go wrong."

3)

Wear the right kit and make sure it fits you

"A buoyancy aid is essential .A kagol is also handy to keep the wind and the rain off. Make sure the kit fits you also because if doesn't it can make things a lot harder."

4)

Carry communication and safety gear

"The coastguards recommend that you carry a VHF radio, but not everyone has one of those so bring a mobile phone in a waterproof bag instead .The reception is surprisingly good around the Island."

5)

If you are carrying a safety kit make sure you know how to use it

"It's no use having a VHF radio and a flare gun If you have to sit in the water reading the instructions when you're in trouble."

6)

Let people know what you are doing and where and what time you should be back

"You need to tell people where you are out, what tune to expect you back and what to do If you don't coome back at the agreed time. "If your arrangements change you must let your shore contact know or you could have people out looking for you."

7)

Put your name and telephone number on your kayak

"This is so the coastguard knows who It belongs to if they find an empty kayak on the sea. Also they can call and check if you are missing or if you have simply lost your kayak."

8)

Know about tides, currents and weather

Use the forecasts to plan the best time to go out and where the best place to paddle will be. Generally if the wind is blowing westerly, the east side of the Island wall be more sheltered close to land. "Be careful with winds that are blowing you away from land. It can feel sheltered and easy going out when you are close to the bay but then you can turn around and it's suddenly like cycling into a brick wall. If you arc faced with paddling back against a strong wind why not go a different route instead of the most direct one? Sometimes the longer route can be the safer and easier route."

9)

Let everyone know what the plan is

"This ensures that everyone knows what they are letting themselves in for and won't feel obliged to do something that will make them uncomfortable."

10)

Know your limits

"Men can be particularly bad with this. They will completely tire themselves out trying to keep up and not say anything until they have nothing left. But you are a much bigger danger if you have nothing left." "Also if you have children bear in mmd that they will got tired and colder a lot quicker than adults."

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