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Safety & Precautions

A level of danger accompanies participation in all water sports. Paddling is no exception. The strong currents, shoreline obstacles, and cold conditions underscore the need to always be prepared to deal with any and all circumstances. This page will give you the tools you will need to survive such conditions.

Paddle Float Tutorial - How to Self Rescue using a Paddle Float
This image gallery gives a step-by-step look at how to properly use a paddle float to reenter and bilge out a flipped kayak

How to Use a Paddle Float
How to Self Rescue in a Kayak Using a Paddle Float

Sea Kayaking Safety Gear
There are also some very important safety items that should be with the sea kayaker on his or her journey. Here is a list of the most necessary sea kayaking safety gear.

Sea Kayaking Safety Rescues
Here is a skill progression of the different kayak safety rescues sea kayakers should learn.

The Hand of God Kayak Rescue
The Hand of God kayak rescue is used when a person is upside down in his or her kayak and is not making any progress toward getting out of the kayak or rolling the kayak back up. This could be due to them being unconscious in the boat, having an injury preventing them from exiting the kayak, or due to panic in the kayak. Here are the steps to doing the Hand of God kayak rescue maneuver.

How to Roll a Kayak Using a Paddle Float
This article explains how to roll a capsized kayak using a paddle float.

The Kayak T-Rescue : Getting Back into the Kayak
There is really two parts to the technique known as the kayak t-rescue. Once the kayaker is out of his or her kayak, the first part of the t-rescue is to ensure the kayaker is safe, to flip the capsized kayak and drain it, and to position the kayak for reentry. Once these things are complete, it is time for the kayaker to reenter his or her kayak.

Kayaking Rules of the Road
While kayaking is often a sport participated in to get away from the hustle and bustle associated with solid ground, being out on the water comes with its own set of stressful situations. This is especially true when kayaks and motorboats share common waterways. It is during these times that we paddlers must remember that whatever our opinions, we take a backseat to the other boats on the water…

Rules of the Road for Kayaks
With the increase in popularity of water sports over the last decade there are more boats than ever before on our shared waterways. Motor boats, personal water craft, and self-propelled boats such as kayaks and canoes are all vying for their respective rights of way. It is therefore crucial that all boaters know and follow the Rules of the Road in order to avoid a collision while on the water and maintain water safety.

See and Be Seen - Kayaking Safety, Be Sure You Can See and Be Seen
See and Be Seen - Kayaking Safety, Be Sure You Can See and Be Seen

Throw Bag In Whitewater to Rescue Paddlers
These steps will instruct would be rescuers in the art of using a throw bag in whitewater and swift water rescue scenarios.

How to Pack a Throw Rope Bag
Throw rope and rope bags are essential pieces of safety gear for whitewater kayakers, canoeists, and rafters. Once a throw bag is deployed, whether to rescue a swimmer or just for practice, it is important that the safety rope is properly packed back in the rope bag. Follow these steps for instructions how to stuff and pack a throw bag.

The Kayak T-Rescue
Every kayaker should know how to get back into their kayak in the event that they become separated from their boat. The Kayak T-Rescue is one of the easiest methods for doing so, providing the kayaker is not paddling alone. The following steps should be practiced by two or more kayakers in shallow water prior to going out on any kind of unprotected water kayaking trip.

Kayaking During Flooding
Whitewater kayaking during flooding flood stage conditions is truly a treasured experience for the white water kayaker. Every whitewater kayaker begins to salivate upon mention of rain. It is the mechanism which revitalizes the whitewater boater’s playing field. While emotion is induced as a result of rain, that doubles at the mention of flooding and flood stage conditions. Once again, wher…

The United States Coast Guard PFD Specifications
The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has developed specifications and criteria for approved personal flotation devices or PFDs as they are known. This article contains the specifications for each Type of PFD.

When Not to Stay With Your Kayak, Canoe, or Raft When Swimming in Whitewater
Whitewater safety can be a tricky thing. While it is generally better to stay with your kayak, canoe, or raft while floating or swimming in whitewater, there are times when it can be dangerous. This article will give some guidelines on how to make that decision.

How to Stay with Your Kayak, Canoe, or Raft When Swimming
Every whitewater kayaker, whitewater canoeist, and most rafters will end up swimming if they spend any kind of significant time paddling in whitewater. This article explains how to stay with your equipment in the event you end up having to swim.

Know How to Float, Swim, and Self Rescue in Whitewater
At some point or other, everyone who spends any kind of time whitewater kayaking, canoeing, or rafting will end up out of their boat. This article will instruct you on how to float, swim, and self-rescue while in whitewater rapids.

Kayaking and Canoeing Safety
Learning kayaking and canoeing safety is an absolutely essential component of learning how to paddle. Too many people decide to kayak or canoe with little more water safety knowledge than knowing how to swim. There is so much more to know and be prepared with regard to kayaking and canoeing safety than merely knowing how to tread water. Know how to give first aid, save a drowning person, treat hypothermia, swim, and wear the correct gear.

Teaching Your Child to Kayak
So how young is too young to teach your kids to kayak? The answer to that question varies, but at whatever age you decide to give it a shot, this step-by-step will give you the direction you need to teach your kids to kayak safely and so that they'll want to come back for more.

Dress for Water Safety
Dressing for water safety should be a top priority for paddlers of canoes and kayaks. Here is a list of the top 10 things paddlers should wear or have on board to ensure the safety of themselves and the people they are with.

The Basics of Rescuing a Drowning Person From Shore
Learn how to rescue a drowning person while you are on the shore.

The Basics of CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation)
CPR is one of the most important safety skills that a paddler can know. This article will give you the basics and it could save the life of a loved one.

Learn How to Recognize and Treat Hypothermia
This About.com First Aid article explains how to recognize and treat hypothermia.

How Long Can You Survive in Freezing Water?
This article from the About.com Powerboat guide site has a fantastic chart relating water temperature to exhaustion, consciousness, and survival time.

Escaping Rip Currents at the Beach
This article is important for anyone who kayaks off of beaches and along shorelines.

The Essentials of Creating a First Aid Kit
This article will give you all of the information you need to build your own first aid kit. If you'd rather not make your own, it also contains links on some of the good prepackaged kits that you can buy.

Basic First Aid- First Aid ABCs
This piece will give you the fundamentals of administering first aid from the First Aid Guide here at About.com.

Whitewater Kayaking Safety
The risks surrounding whitewater kayaking are numerous. This article gives a basic understanding of how to best mitigate those risks.

Safety Code of American Whitewater
This article represents the most complete and the latest source of information on whitewater safety. American Whitewater sets the standard when it comes to whitewater paddling in the United States. Every paddler should read and know this document.

Sea Kayaking Safety Owner's Manual
There are many hidden risks related to Sea Kayaking. This Sea Kayaking Safety Owner's Manual articulates those risks and gives great tips on the necessary precautions that one must take while Sea Kayaking.

How to Self-Rescue Using a Paddle Float
This image gallery gives a step-by-step look at how to properly use a paddle float to reenter and bilge out a flipped kayak.

Hurricane Kayaking
Hurricane kayaking must be approached with caution. This article will help you figure out if kayaking before, during, or after a hurricane is a good idea for you.

Book Summary: Sea Kayaker’s More Deep Trouble
Here’s a deeper look at the book entitled Sea Kayaker’s More Deep Trouble, by editor Christopher Cunningham.

Book Review: Sea Kayaker’s More Deep Trouble
This is a review by George Sayour on the book Sea Kayaker's More Deep Trouble: More Stories and Their Lessons from Sea Kayaker’s Magazine

How to Practice for Rough Sea Kayaking Conditions
Here are tips on how to practice your sea kayaking skills in rough conditions.

Risk Homeostasis in Kayaking
All about risk homeostasis in kayaking and risk compensation in kayaking.

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