Whether you’re a kayaking enthusiast or just like to kayak occasionally, it would be in your best interest to learn some of the best ways to stay safe while kayaking at night.
Bring A Buddy
The number one best way to keep yourself safe when you’re out kayaking under the moon is to make sure you always go with a friend. You wouldn’t want to end up face down in the water for some reason, maybe because a current pushed you over, and you couldn’t get yourself up. This is where a buddy comes in handy. If you ever end up in a sticky situation and need somebody to help you, they’re there for you. A friend is especially useful when launching and leaving. This way somebody can hold a light or even help you get your kayak into or out of the water, because when it gets late and you’re getting tired you may not have all of the strength needed to get your kayak out of the water.
A Bad Combo…
Leading right to the next point, which is to never go kayaking while you are tired or drowsy. If you go out and think you’re just going to go out for a quick little stroll around the lake and catch some of that nice evening air, you might be setting yourself up for a bad experience. It’s proven that over half of all kayaking accidents happen during the night. It’s somewhat of a no-brainer. As it gets dark out, our bodies automatically become more relaxed and our breathing slows. So when you decide to go out at night, make sure you aren’t drowsy. You don’t want to tip your kayak and lose your valuable items that you brought with, or even worse, drown.
Drowsiness and tiredness can easily be avoided with these simple tips. The first one is to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated until one hour before you go out. If your body is lacking proper hydration, you may become drowsy and tired much easier than you otherwise would have. The second tip is to eat a meal within two hours of leaving, but not immediately before leaving, as this could cause cramping and stomach pain, which would not be good when you are in a confined little area out in the middle of a lake. The last mini tip is to avoid relaxing activities one hour before you leave. These activities could include but are not limited to: reading, napping, or drawing. Anything that requires slow and steady concentration should be avoided. This will keep your brain awake throughout the night.
Always Wear Protection (not what you’re thinking)
Now you might be wondering how you actually stay safe while you are out and about on your kayak and you are tearing through the waters. Most important, probably more important than any other tip on this list is to wear a life jacket. Life jackets save more lives from tragedy each year than you can probably count up to. That is not to insult anybody, but to simply express the fact that it is in your best interest to use a life jacket. It will also serve as a great back up plan just in case you were to go out without a friend or even if you went our while you were slightly tired. People never realize just how nice a life jacket is until they’ve been in a situation where they wished they had one. It does not take long for a person to become weak from treading water or worse, swimming all the way back to shore.
Leave a Message
So now that you’re wearing your life jacket, you’re ready to get out on the water. But wait, there’s one other thing you probably didn’t think about, and that is to let a family member or somebody you trust know where you’re going and when you expect to be back. After letting them know, don’t forget to bring your cell phone. Often times kayakers avoid bringing a cell phone in the case that they do tip their kayak, they wouldn’t want to ruin their brand new phone. This is where a little hack comes in hand. Pack your cell phone into a ziplock baggy, and then put it in your pocket. This way, if you end up in the water for any reason and you’re floating there with your life jacket on, you can easily reach down into your pocket and dial somebody for help. It’s even more useful because you don’t have to take your phone out of the bag to use it. The majority of zip lock bags are thin enough to where you can still use the touchscreen features to dial for help.
Don’t Forget a Headlight
The last tip that should help you while you are kayaking in the darkness is to bring flashlights. Don’t just bring any old flashlights though. Make sure you invest in a high quality and durable flashlight that is waterproof and floats in the water. This is especially handy when your things are floating all around you. If you can’t afford one of these flashlights, you can make a temporary fix by using a large ziplock bag, the cheaper ones work better because they’re thinner, and heating it up around the flashlight. This can be done with a heat gun. But if you don’t have a heat gun, some hair dryers will also do the trick on the hottest setting. After you are done with this, super glue a piece of pool noodle around your flashlight. It should already be a snug fit.
Let’s Go! Use This Checklist.
- Tell a friend where you’re going kayaking
- Bring a headlamp with you on your kayak
- Put your cell phone in a dry bag in case you need it
- Use lights on your kayak to make sure that other boaters can see you
- Stay alert: don’t go kayaking if you’re groggy or tired
- Always wear your PFD: this is true no matter if it is day or night, but always wear your PFD!
You are now ready to go out and start kayaking at night. Bring all of these tips with you on your next kayaking adventure and you’re sure to be prepared for anything that comes your way!