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 number of the posted articles below have been shared from the Canterbury Sea Kayak Network website.


Firstly – Andrew McCauley never actuated his beacon. It was tested after his kayak was retrieved and was found to

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