Kayaking is a thrilling outdoor activity enjoyed by many. It’s an excellent way to explore and experience nature from a different perspective. However, kayaking can be dangerous, and accidents can happen, especially when you least expect them.
One of the most common incidents in kayaking is falling out of the kayak. This can be due to various reasons, such as a rough current or a sudden shift in weight. Falling out of a kayak can be scary, but it’s essential to know what to do in such situations to ensure your safety.
In this article, we’ll discuss the steps you should take when you fall out of a kayak.
The Importance of Wearing a Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
Before we dive into what to do when you fall out of a kayak, let’s discuss the importance of wearing a personal flotation device (PFD). A PFD is a crucial piece of equipment that can save your life in case of an emergency.
It helps you stay afloat, even if you’re not a strong swimmer, and provides insulation against cold water. Always wear a PFD when kayaking, and make sure it fits properly.
What Should You Do When You Fall Out Of A Kayak?
Falling out of a kayak can be a frightening experience, but it’s essential to stay calm and act quickly to ensure your safety. Here’s what you should do if you fall out of your kayak:
1. Stay Calm and Assess the Situation
The first thing to do is to stay calm and assess the situation. Check yourself for any injuries and make sure your PFD is secure. Take a deep breath and focus on staying afloat.
2. Retrieve Your Kayak and Paddle
If your kayak and paddle are nearby, try to retrieve them. Keep your PFD on and use a breaststroke or doggy paddle to swim to your kayak. Use the paddle to stabilize the kayak and climb back in.
3. Stay with Your Kayak
If you can’t retrieve your kayak, stay with it and try to attract attention. Use your paddle to signal for help or shout for assistance. If you have a whistle, use it to alert others.
4. Swim to Shore
If you can’t reach your kayak, try to swim to shore. Stay afloat using your PFD and use a breaststroke or doggy paddle to swim to safety. Avoid swimming against the current, and conserve your energy.
5. Signal for Help
If you can’t swim to shore, stay afloat and signal for help. Use your whistle, flashlight, or paddle to attract attention. Wave your arms, shout for assistance, and stay visible.
6. Call for Assistance
If you have a cellphone or radio, call for assistance. Contact the nearest marina, coast guard, or emergency services and provide your location and situation. Stay on the line and follow their instructions.
Remember to always wear a PFD and practice safety guidelines when kayaking. Falling out of a kayak can happen to anyone, but knowing what to do can help you stay safe and prevent accidents.
Tips for Preventing Falls
While falling out of a kayak can happen to anyone, there are steps you can take to prevent falls. Here are some tips for preventing falls:
1. Wear a PFD
As we’ve mentioned earlier, wearing a PFD is essential when kayaking. It helps you stay afloat and provides insulation against cold water. Always wear a PFD and make sure it fits properly.
2. Stay Centered
When kayaking, it’s essential to stay centered to maintain balance. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed
3. Pay Attention to the Water
Pay attention to the water conditions when kayaking. Be aware of any obstacles or changes in water currents. If you notice any rough waters or strong currents, slow down and adjust your speed accordingly.
4. Keep Your Feet Positioned Properly
Keep your feet positioned properly in the kayak. Make sure your feet are resting flat on the bottom of the kayak and your knees are bent. This will help you maintain your balance and prevent falls.
5. Don’t Overload Your Kayak
Avoid overloading your kayak with too much weight. Overloading can cause the kayak to tip over, leading to falls. Make sure to distribute the weight evenly and only carry what you need.
6. Practice Makes Perfect
Practice kayaking regularly to improve your skills and confidence. The more you practice, the better you’ll become at handling your kayak, and the less likely you’ll be to fall out.
Related: Can You Drown Kayaking?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are some frequently asked questions about falling out of a kayak:
Q: What should I do if I can’t reach my kayak after falling out?
If you can’t reach your kayak after falling out, stay calm and try to attract attention by waving your arms or shouting for help. Stay afloat using your PFD until help arrives.
Q: Can I wear any type of PFD while kayaking?
No, not all PFDs are suitable for kayaking. Make sure to wear a PFD specifically designed for kayaking that fits properly and has the appropriate buoyancy rating.
Q: What should I do if I fall out of my kayak in cold water?
If you fall out of your kayak in cold water, stay calm and try to stay afloat using your PFD. Keep your head and neck out of the water and try to swim to shore or back to your kayak.
Q: Can I kayak alone?
It’s recommended to kayak with a partner or a group. If you do kayak alone, make sure to let someone know your route and expected return time.
Q: How do I know if my PFD fits properly?
Your PFD should fit snugly around your chest and be comfortable to wear. It should not ride up or slip over your head when you’re in the water.
Q: Can I still kayak if I don’t know how to swim?
Yes, you can still kayak even if you don’t know how to swim. However, it’s essential to wear a PFD and take a kayaking safety course before heading out on the water.
Falling out of a kayak can be a scary experience, but knowing what to do can help you stay safe. Always wear a PFD, stay calm, and follow the steps we’ve discussed to get back into your kayak.
Remember to practice kayaking regularly and follow safety guidelines to prevent falls. Kayaking can be a fun and enjoyable activity when done safely and responsibly.