The sea and lakes we paddle on are dynamic environments that can change quickly. If we are inadequately prepared, or don’t have the correct equipment with us, we can easily and quickly get ourselves, and others, into trouble. If the conditions we find ourselves in are beyond our skill level then our fun day out can, at best, turn into a stressful experience or worse.

We can avoid getting ourselves into this kind of trouble if we take the time to think through our intended day of fun on the water and prepare properly. Think of things such as:

  • Who we go with – going with a group of people with the right level of experience for the intended, and potential conditions.
  • Shore contacts – who will know if we don’t return as planned so they can notify a rescue if needed.
  • Paddle within your ability – get training and practice skills.
  • Environmental considerations – think about the weather, particularly the wind and how it may change through the day.
  • How can I get help – carry appropriate communications equipment and know how to use it.
  • Suitable Clothing – will I be warm enough if I end up in the water? Have I got suitable spare dry clothing for the end of the activity.
  • Safety Equipment – have I got the kit I could need to deal with a capsize or to alert others if I need help etc.
  • Personal ability – am I fit enough and skilled enough to undertake the intended activity with some left in reserve in case things start to go wrong.

Nothing is better than time on the water with a group of like minded kayakers to learn new skills and develop your confidence to deal with situations as they arise. Sometimes it is not possible to get out on the water with suitable groups and then preparation for time on the water can be gained via online videos and other forums. Youtube has countless instructional videos posted from around the world and there are specific high quality online training courses available such as the comprehensive set of video lessons by Online Sea kayaking. Online material is great preparation but not a complete substitute for actual time on the water with other experienced paddlers.

A Test of Safety Equipment

In 2007 a test was done in Auckland relating to the visibility of kayakers. The report from that test is in this document Kayak Safety Equipment …
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Emergency Communications

Buying a VHF radio Most important thing to do – Having removed your new radio from its box, switch it to the International setup. There are usually …
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Important Safety Notice

ARC Bylaw ~ Visibility of kayaks and paddle craft Effective from 1 July 2008 Clause 2.17 Auckland Regional Council Navigation Safety Bylaw 2008 1. Every kayak and paddle …
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KASK Safety Initiatives

Following a grim 2003/04 paddling summer, with two sea kayakers drowning, another killed in a collision with a power boat and several offshore rescues that …
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Long load safety flags

The LTSA and the New Zealand Police Infringement Bureau revised and markedly increased infringement fees pertaining to offences relating to failing to identify an ‘over-dimension’ …
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Other Safety Items

DecklinesAt a recent forum, during rescue practice, it was noticed how many kayaks had decklines fitted that were too tight to be grasped or used …
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Firstly – Andrew McCauley never actuated his beacon. It was tested after his kayak was retrieved and was found to be in working order – …
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Prevention of Collision at Sea

See Maritime Rules Part 22: Collision Prevention Maritime Rules Part 22 Collision Prevention The rules can be downloaded as a PDF Maritime Rules, Part 22: Collision Prevention (247 KB) Some (but …
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Radar Reflectors

Refer to this site – Radar Reflectors and Sea Kayak Visibility Also read the Radar, Reflectors and Sea Kayaks: A Visibility Study PDF (2.5 MB).
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Rescues – how to

Two kayaks and involving one capsize The description below shows how to do the most basic recovery. There are T, X, H rescues, dragging the rescued kayak …
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Safety and the Surf Zone

Waihi Surf Camp 2021 From video clips shot at a weekend surf training camp at Waihi , Jay Howell with input from Deb Volturno and Daniel …
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Trip Planning

Float PlanWhen filled out, this form will give anyone looking for your paddling group, some idea of the area you may be in, expected time …
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Useful Kayak Safety Resources

Towing ~ Describes a number of different towing setups. Towing Techniques PDF (765 KB).Cold water paddling ~ hypothermia, suitable clothing etc. Cold Water Safety PDF …
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Weather Forecasts

MetService supports Safe Boating Week and give pointers to better understanding the reports.Understanding Sea Conditions From Marine ForecastsFor more information and app download links, check …
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Index (alphabetical listing) ABC of Safety & Rescues Emergency Communications – VHF – EPIRB old & new Emergency Equipment & Marine Equipment Suppliers H&S – Adventure Activity, Auditing & Clubs’ Exemption Incidents & Accidents Database KASK Safety Initiatives – Database – Brochure Long load safety flags Mayday and PanPan Call Format Change PLB or EPIRB Prevention of Collision at Sea Radar Reflectors Rescues – How to Safety Equipment Tests Safety Items – Decklines – Paddle securing straps – Leapfrogging self rescues Trip Planning – Float Plan Useful Kayak Safety Resources Visibility of kayaks and paddle craft – Important Safety Notice – ARC Bylaw VHF Channels Changed on 1 October 2016 Water Safety Champions for 2011 Celebrated – Caffyn Weather Forecasts
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