Kayaking is a relatively safe sport, but all paddlers should be prepared for accidents. Safety basics section covers the techniques that are required to successfully recover once you have capsized. They are fast to learn and it is recommended you master at least them before heading out with your kayak.
After that you can learn to do braces and eskimo rolls. They are always a better option and can often prevent capsizing in the first place.
Remember that knowing how to do something in practise situation is not the same thing as actually doing it when the waves are big and you are tired. So keep practising every once in a while.
See also the safety checklist below:
1. Avoid risks
- avoid paddling alone
- remember that the weather can change rapidly
- avoid paddling far from the coastline
- have a map that shows rocks and seamarks
- avoid paddling on ship routes
- wear a head lamp etc. if it is dark
- have fresh water and spare energy with you
2. Deal with the risks
- have good enough paddling technique
- know how to prevent capsizing
3. Be prepared for accidents
- always wear life vest
- know how to do a wet exit and get back in
- have equipment and knowledge to empty your kayak
- practise safety skills well and in real conditions
- have a mobile phone in a waterproof container
- have spare clothes in a dry place
4. Have backup plans for everything. You can never be too prepared.