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Kayak Safety- A few Items to Not Leave Home Without

Written by Pete Anderson on May 15, 2020

One topic I am very passionate about, in regards to fishing and being out on the water is safety!

We all know basic safety precautions to take and have heard some preach continuously about the issue.  I’d like to quickly cover some basics and some of my personal thoughts about safety on my outings.

I am a kayak and sup fisherman, but regardless of the vessel, all these standards can be a great reminder to be sure we all make it back safe and healthy.  First and foremost, you know what is coming……… PFD usage! Similar to a seatbelt, I can guarantee that it will not work if it is not worn properly.  Many strong swimmers have been pulled from the bottom of a lake or river throughout the years.  Some have been searched for and never recovered.  These stories all share a common issue, none were wearing an appropriate fitted life jacket.

The next safety reminders I’d like to point out are also things which I practice every time I am on the water. 

  • First aid kit: this doesn’t have to be a major medical compilation of supplies.  My personal kit contains these basics:  latex gloves, hydrogen peroxide, bandaids, Neosporin, a compression bandage, gauze, tape, and clean rags to wash with.  Having a basic first aid kit with you on your vessel can make a huge difference to you or someone else one day. 

  • Sun protection: having and using sun protection is so important for those of us out on the water.  Sun rays not only come down on us, but also reflect back up off the water.  If you are like me and can’t stand being sticky from sunscreens, there are many companies that offer some excellent sun protective clothing.  Sun Jammers, performance shirts, pants, and hats.  Another important area many don’t think to protect are two very important little things, your eyes!  Good sunglasses can be expensive but get what you can, something is better than nothing.

  • Basic tools: the basic tool I carry with in regards to safety is my knife.  If I am ever in a situation on my kayak or paddle board where I need to cut away from my anchor quickly, or even realize that it may be time to cut the line, my quick release pfd knife is right there for me to grab and utilize quickly.  I personally have found that a lighter is handy to have with me also.  Fire has so many “on the spot” uses, I don’t even need to go further into it.

  • Food and hydration: these two things are something I have seen many neglect, especially while tournament fishing.  Some fishing or recreational trips can last from before the sun comes up all the way to dark.  When focused on fishing it is hard to think ahead and plan meals to give your body the energy it needs to keep going all day.  Bringing a healthy snack or meal on the boat doesn’t have to be cumbersome.  There are many nutritious options out there that pack up small and don’t take a lot of space.  Hydration is also very important!  Juice, sodas, beer, etc, are all good tasting but remember that they are not the water our bodies need during the day.  Be sure to have an adequate amount of water with you regardless if you choose another beverage to drink as well.

  • Buddy system and communication: we all know how valuable the buddy system is.  Having another angler or just a ride along for the trip is a great idea.  If you need assistance with anything there is someone right there with you!  Sometimes it is not practical or we may be unable to bring someone along, or there may be a last second cancellation.  If this is the case practice communication, and communicate thoroughly.  Let someone know what body of water you will be headed to, the general area you will be fishing, and a time frame of when you are projecting your return.  This communication can be life saving information!

There are many more safety precautions out there, but for now I hope this basic list serves as a good reminder to all my fellow anglers.  Plan every trip to come home safe and healthy! 

No Drama. Just Adventure.