How to kayak alone? Solo kayakers must be somewhat more prepared and vigilant than other paddlers. If anything unexpected occurs to you while you’re out on the water, you’ll need to be prepared.
I want to make it obvious that kayaking alone is a viable option. There’s no reason why you can’t have solo experiences with any sort of outdoor leisure if you prepare properly.
How To Kayak Alone?
There are no exact amount of hours you should spend honing your kayaking abilities before you can paddle on your own. It all comes down to your degree of comfort with the area and circumstances in which you’re kayaking. However, we have found that planning and kayak rescue skills may help people feel more confident about kayaking alone.
There are risks and dangers to consider when kayaking alone. Granted, the dangers exist even when you’re in a group. Before you can take on such a large job, there are just a few things you need to understand. With practice, you’ll be able to do it on your own in no time.
Keep an eye on the weather forecast and water condition
Check the maritime weather conditions in your area before going out. You must be able to change as needed, and if the weather isn’t cooperating, don’t go kayaking. Regardless of your skill level, high winds and waves may quickly overwhelm a tiny boat. The National Weather Service has this information.
If you’re going to go kayaking for the first time, paddle in calm waters near the shore as much as possible. Cold water may be a significant concern since hypothermia can readily occur if you are submerged in it. You need to be able to dress appropriately so that you don’t end up feeling chilly or exposed while out in the water.
Select an Appropriate Location.
Choose a paddling spot that is suitable for your ability level. Wind and wave protection is essential in a kayaking setting. Ideal sites include quiet lakes, tranquil bays, and riverways with no discernible current. It should also have a suitable launching and landing access point.
Spread the word to your friends.
Paddling alone is more dangerous, and even the most skilled paddlers may get themselves into difficulty. Make a plan and deliver it to someone who will be remaining on land. Include your departure time and location, intended route, and expected return time. Don’t forget to check-in after you’ve returned home so that everyone knows you’ve arrived safely.
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Don’t Forget Your Personal Protective Equipment.
Always use a life preserver, which is a properly fitted personal flotation device certified by the US Coast Guard. Some individuals remove their life jackets because they are uncomfortable wearing them. This is why a kayaking-specific life jacket is essential. These are made to be as comfy and unrestrictive as possible, allowing you to comfortably sit and paddle.
Keep a mobile phone in a waterproof case or bag with you at all times. At least two signaling devices, such as whistles, as well as waterproof torches, should be included. Protective footwear and wet-weather gear should be used. To avoid losing stuff along the journey, pack your supplies into a waterproof bag and fasten it to your boat.
Paddle with caution.
Don’t drink and paddle. This is a fairly basic safety guideline, yet it is one that many people overlook. Competent and/or responsible kayakers will not consume alcohol before paddling. It impairs your judgment and dulls your senses. When you’re out on the water, you need to be as vigilant as possible.
Do your exercise.
Once you’ve decided on a paddling location, try to learn all you can about it. Check to see whether your boat is suited for that particular body of water. Boats aren’t all made equal – find out what kind of paddling circumstances your boat can handle.
Practice entering and exiting your kayak.
Re-entering a sit-on-top kayak from the inside is much more difficult to re-enter than entering a traditional kayak, but if you can do it, you should be fine. If you are prepared and have solid self-recovery abilities, know how to navigate, are capable of solo launching and landing, and have all of the essential gear. If you are unprepared, the phrase “never paddle alone” applies. Nothing can stop you from having a nice kayak journey on your own, except for adverse weather.
What Are The Best Solo Kayaking Safety Tips?
As such, we think it’s a good idea to start with strategies to keep yourself safe on the water.
Make Sure You’re Wearing Your PFD Correctly
Fortunately, with the proper care and education, this isn’t too difficult to do. I see a lot of beginner kayakers make this mistake, and it seldom works out well while paddling with others. First, make sure the PFD is facing the right way up and that the straps aren’t twisted. Some PFDs are slip-ones that slide over your head and are then secured with a strap.
Before you bother about the straps, zip up your PFD if it has one. The shoulder straps are primarily for comfort and to assist you in adjusting the position of your PFD on your torso. Individuals with bigger chests or bellies will benefit the most from these straps. The essential straps that hold the PFD in place when you get into the water are the side straps.
Select the Appropriate Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
Most accidents are caused by a lack of or poor usage of a personal flotation device (PFD) Class I through Class V are the five primary classifications used to designate PFDs. We’ve been bugging you about it in so many of our pieces, and we won’t apologize for being worried about your safety.
You’ll want a PFD with a Class I or V classification for a whitewater or long-distance ocean kayaking. The majority of kayakers will wear one of the better life vests that are classified as Class II or III. But, more crucially, you’ll want to be sure that the PFD you choose has appropriate float for your body weight.
The typical human body is made up of around 80% water and 15% fat, which is lighter than water on average. Only around 5% of your entire body weight is made up of muscles and bone, which are heavier than water. We’ll utilize averages for this calculation, but keep in mind that the actual calculation for you will be determined by your body type.
Our entire body is made up of 160 pounds of water and an additional 30 pounds of fat. Most PFDs are rated for adults between 15 and 22 pounds, and toddlers and newborns between 7 and 12 pounds. So it’s odd that we may sink when just 5% of our body weight is heavier than water, but that’s where our PFD comes in.
Make Sure You Have The Right Kayak Safety Gear
What counts as “appropriate safety equipment” may vary from kayak to kayak. Owners of sit-on-top kayaks don’t need to worry about hauling a bilge pump and sponge. The idea is that you must have the appropriate safety equipment for the kind of kayaking you are performing. It will give you a lot of confidence as a solo paddler to know that you are prepared if things go wrong.
If you have a good first aid kit that isn’t waterproof, you may put it in a dry bag instead of buying a new one. You don’t want to store your bilge pump or throw rope too far back in a bulkhead since it will be difficult to access when sitting in your kayak. Certain items of kayak safety equipment should be kept in the cockpit or attached to the deck.
A Float Plan Should Be Filed
It doesn’t have to be with the US Coast Guard or another law enforcement agency, but someone should be aware of your anticipated paddle trip route. You should include information about where you are kayaking and when you expect to exit the river in that communication. You may also SMS your emergency contact just before you go on the river and right after you pull your kayak out of the water at your landing spot.
If you don’t respond within a reasonable length of time, someone will know to contact the authorities (in the worst-case scenario). It’s also a good idea to add some identifying information about your Kayak when completing a float plan with the authorities. This might include the color, manufacturer and model, serial number, customized stickers, or anything else about your boat that is distinctive and personal.
Understand How To Self-Rescue
If you capsize your kayak, all kayakers should know how to get back in. If you’re kayaking alone, this is much more critical. You’ll need to learn skills like the wet exit and the Eskimo roll for a sit-on kayak. The most crucial thing you can learn as a solo paddler is how to self-rescue.
The procedure is not unduly complex from a technical sense, it may only take some practice to reach the point where you feel completely comfortable with it. If you haven’t had much experience with self-rescue, we suggest enrolling in a course in your region or seeking local kayaking organizations that meet through the internet.
Be Prepared For The Worst-Case Scenario
When kayaking alone, you may prepare for the worst by bringing cold-weather clothing, food, emergency equipment, and other necessities. Bringing enough layers while kayaking solo is always a good idea. Growing up in the highlands, I usually dressed in layers or, at the absolute least, packed them when I left the home.
It is important to have a pleasant attitude while kayaking alone. Thinking too much about everything that may go wrong can make you worried, tense, and agitated. Plan your route, study all you can about your kayaking destination, and bring the gear that will enable you to relax and enjoy yourself while you’re on the water.
Secure Your Kayaks With Everything
Consider what will happen to everything on the top (or inside) of your kayak if it capsizes. If you have a sit-inside touring kayak with spacious enclosed compartments, all you have to do is make sure the hatch covers are firmly fastened. Don’t worry about keeping your head afloat – you shouldn’t have to worry about that either.
If you’re going out on a long kayak trip, it’s important to ensure that all of your gear and paddles are in place so that if you flip, all you have to worry about is getting yourself and your paddle back into your kayak. Owners of sit-on-top kayaks should utilize the straps or bungee rigging on their kayaks to ensure everything is correctly fastened.
Pick Your Paddle Spots Carefully
It’s usually a good idea to skip paddling on Class IV whitewater if you don’t have the abilities and expertise to do so safely. When kayaking alone, it is critical to choose settings that are well within your comfort zone. In many aspects of life, knowing your limitations is crucial.
When kayaking alone, it’s best to avoid places that will put your technical abilities or physical stamina to the test. As paddlers, we have opportunities to go outside of our comfort zones and attempt new things. This is best accomplished when we are surrounded by other paddlers who are just as competent (or more so) and experienced as we are.
Furthermore, setting out on a solitary adventure across the lake in a kayak is both thrilling and demanding. The equipment you choose, especially the kayak itself, is as vital as your readiness and understanding of safety protocols.
When you’re alone on the tranquil waters of a lake, the vessel’s choice becomes paramount. Best lake kayaks are engineered to navigate these serene waters effortlessly, focusing on providing stability and ease of handling. Your body shape, experience, and the unique features of the lake should influence your choice of vessel.
Are you drawn to the open design of a sit-on-top kayak, or do you prefer the enclosed feel of a sit-inside one? These distinctions can elevate your journey from ordinary to extraordinary. Whether a seasoned solo traveler or a curious novice, choosing the kayak that resonates with you is the first paddle stroke in a fulfilling lakeside voyage.
How to Plan a Solo Kayaking Trip From Point A to Point B
Most solo kayakers can only do out-and-back paddles that start and end in the same place. A point-to-point solo excursion down a river or along a coastline beach may be organized with a little preliminary preparation. If you’re interested in this style of kayaking, here are a few pointers.
Contact a local outfitter or paddling guide service
I’ve had a lot of success locating local outfitters who would provide point-to-point kayakers with a shuttle service. These shuttles may be available on a regular timetable or an as-needed basis, so it’s a good idea to book well in advance. You will usually drive to the outfitter’s site, where they will assist you in loading your kayak into their transport van.
Outfitters can help you set up a ‘point-to-point paddle’ so that you leave your kayak at a certain pull-out point and they pick it up from there. This is the simplest method, but you will have to pay the outfitter a charge for their services. In rare cases, you may be able to paddle back to the office to retrieve your boat from where you left it.
Look for emergency takeout points throughout the waterway.
When planning a paddle trip, it’s usually a good idea to have a couple of emergency pullout sites in the back of your mind. Not all rivers, lakes, or beaches will have a plentiful number of sites where you can pull your kayak out of the water and call for help. If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, the firm that organizes your shuttle is likely to be a good place to start.
Don’t Be Afraid to Join Other People
If you plan a shuttle service at a popular spot, you’ll almost certainly end up in a transport vehicle with paddlers who will be paddling the same length as you. If this is your first time doing a point-to-point kayaking excursion, don’t be afraid to ask if you may join them for the day. The worst they can say is that they like their own space, and you’ll be right back where you were when you originally opted to get in that transit vehicle by yourself.
Why Kayak Alone?
“Never paddle alone” is one of the prevalent viewpoints with which I disagree. I feel that making a general statement condemning paddling does paddlers a disservice. Many kayakers I know paddle by themselves, and I urge paddlers to learn to paddle alone but only under certain situations. I like paddling alone.
It is not proactive to urge paddlers to “simply say no” to paddling alone. There are many compelling reasons for a kayaker to strive toward paddling solo. By using this approach, I am educating students on what they need to know before embarking on a project, rather than excluding the idea altogether. “The strength of the group is founded on the strengths of the people in the group,” is one of the main ideas I teach to guides and teachers.
I understand that I am responsible for every aspect of the paddle. If anything goes wrong, I’ll be the one to deal with it. The biggest benefit of solo paddling is not a talent that can be measured but a shift in mindset. Any day of the week, I’d take a paddling partner who is more self-aware and confident over someone who constantly paddles with me or in a group.
Be Aware of the Risks of Kayaking Alone
The vast majority of mistakes made by sea kayakers who do end up calling for help can be avoided by being prepared and aware of the environment. If you’re alone, you must have the ability and mentality to cope with whatever situation arises. You’re missing the point if you walk out thinking, “If I get into difficulty, I’ll simply phone for assistance”.
The most dangerous aspect of paddling alone is the possibility of a sudden sickness (heart attack, seizure, unconsciousness, etc.). Paddling alone in the serenity and quiet is a fantastic way to concentrate oneself. You’re learning to trust yourself and your choices as you grow to depend on yourself. Because the stakes seem to be bigger, people are more motivated to study and practice.
It is recommended that beginners kayak in a group.
Are you certain that if you capsize while paddling in a group, individuals in the group will rush to your aid? If they are unable to assist you due to a lack of competence or worry under severe circumstances, your self-sufficiency will be your rescue. The presence of a group does not imply that there is safety in numbers.
A kayaking group may be defined as a grouping of solo paddlers. As I already said, I like paddling alone. If I had just paddled with others, I would not have progressed to my present level of competence and expertise. “Before you paddle alone,” I suggest, “it would be in your best interest to achieve the criterion listed above.”
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