There are basic safety rules that all boaters should follow. As with all recreational activities, there is always the possibility of injury or death. Always use common sense and follow all safety rules at all times.
• Never mix alcohol or drugs (prescription or non-prescription) with boating.
• Never exceed the weight capacity of your boat and always check your equipment for wear and tear before you paddle.
• Seek qualified instruction to learn proper paddling techniques, water safety and basic first aid.
• Wear your life jacket. Coast Guard regulations require that all kayaks have a lifejacket on board. Wearing your lifejacket will help keep your head above water and add insulation to your body, keeping you warmer in cold water.
• Tell someone your paddle plan, which includes: where you are going, what you will be doing, how long you expect to be gone and how many people are in your party. Then stick to your plan.
• Paddling in the surf zone or in rivers can be dangerous. Always wear a helmet.
• Be aware of weather conditions and water temperature. Prepare for changes in weather and the possibility of a capsize. If paddling in cold water, a wet suit or dry suit can keep you warm and comfortable. In warm weather, a long sleeve shirt can provide sun protection.
• Stay hydrated. Always bring plenty of water and food.
• Beware of off-shore winds that make it difficult to return to shore.
• When paddling in a new area, check with the locals regarding currents, shoreline conditions and weather patterns. Plan an "escape" route - an alternative place to get off the water should environmental conditions dictate it. Abiding by these rules will help to make your kayak adventure safer and fun.