Kayaking safety hints/requirements

Discussion of safety equipment and use.

Kayaking safety hints/requirements

Postby nqkayaktours » Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:37 pm

KAYAK SAFETY REQUIREMENTS/PROCEEDURES

Hi all,

In light of some sad happenings of recent months regarding kayakers, I have been asked to share some of my safety points for kayaking safety that, if needed, could save your life. Some hints here will more than likely will be used by you at some stage in you yakking life. If not already used. But it is better to be prepared and for-warned.

But firstly let me just say that I am by no means an expert on this subject.

However, as a kayak tour operator and guide, I have to implement a safety risk assessment and Safety Management Plan, to ensure the safety of my clients at all times. Both for fresh water tours, and ocean tours. (And during the transit to and from sites, and whilst on the land during tours). These safety plans are lodged with Qld Maritime Safety, and with the Townsville Harbour Master. (Of which, the Harbour Master is using my Safety Plan as a template for others). :grin:

There are numerous safety aspects to be observed, and safety equipment to be carried by you on the kayak, while yakking. I will break these down into 2 separate sections. Fresh water and Ocean/open waters. A lot is covered in both sections.

While I am sure that this list will not cover all of the safety required, please feel free to reply and add to the list to try to cover it all. These are just my lists that I go by.

Maybe down the track we can get all this data, plus your replies, put into one post as a permanent KFDU recommended safety requirements/proceedures for kayaking safety. (Hint for the mods). So there is a sort of pre-requisite for kayaking safety. Thus making it safer for all.

FRESH WATER (Creek/river systems)

1 – Wear a PFD at all times whilst on the water. (Have a boating surveyed marine whistle attached to the PFD. They are orange and cost about $1.50 and available at tackle shops).
2 – Know your kayaking capabilities.
3 – Know what your kayak capabilities are.
4 – Always let someone know where you are going and when you will be returning. (If not back by 2 hours after that time, (emergency trigger time), tell that person to report you missing to the local authorities).
5 – Always try to paddle with a mate. (Or go out with an experienced kayaker to show you the ropes, and you then gain knowledge and more experience).
6 – Take some communication device with you. (Phone or VHF radio) If you are constantly in an out of mobile phone service range, a Satphone is recommended.
7 - Have a paddle lanyard attached. (If you come off the yak, the paddle is still attached to the yak and won’t float away).
8 – Take 2ltrs of fresh drinking water.
9 – Get a personal EPIRB. (AMSA registered)
10 – Carry a waterproof torch. (You never know)
11 – Have a knife strapped to you. (On leg, arm, or better, on your PFD).
12 – Carry a small first aid kit with you. (In a waterproofed bag)
13 – Have a signaling mirror and a V-sheet. (V-sheet can be held up if you are in distress, which is easily seen from the air, or a distance. Same for the mirror).
14 – Take a throw bag. (Just in case. Can also be used as a tow line).
15 – Practise deep water kayak re-entries. (Go out into calm deep water, tip the kayak over and get back on. Do this a few times until you are happy doing it. Once isn’t enough).
16 – Carry waterproof matches and/or lighter, for obvious reasons.
17 – If you come off in rapids, go down feet first, with knees slightly bent, and arme out beside you. This will assist you getting over rocks without too much damage being done to you. Go with the current until you are able to swim safely to the bank.
18 – Should you come off your kayak and are heading towards trees and branches, GO OVER the branches. DO NOT try and swim under the branch. (There is a good chance you will get caught underwater in another branch).
19 – DO NOT attach a lanyard to yourself and the kayak. (If you come off the yak and there are submerged or non-submerged objects, you could go one side of this object, and the yak the other side. Big trouble then).
20 – Don’t try to anchor up side on to the current.(Anchor from bow or stern only).
21 – Don’t try to rest the kayak side on against a tree or rock, which is then side on to the current.
22 – Leave a 30 second interval between kayakers going down rapids.
23 – Watch out for what your mates are doing.


OCEAN/OPEN WATERS
Open waters covers Lakes/Dams

1 – Wear a PFD at all times whilst on the water. (Have a boating surveyed marine whistle attached to the PFD. They are orange and cost about $1.50 and available at tackle shops).
2 – Know your kayaking capabilities.
3 – Know what your kayak capabilities are.
4 – Do not attempt to go out if you are unsure of your capabilities with the conditions. (Even if it is with a mate, with the both of you having limited experience).
5 – Know what your kayak capabilities are.
6 – Always let someone know where you are going and when you will be returning. (If not back by 2 hours after that time, (emergency trigger time), tell the person to report missing people to the local authorities).
7 – Always try to paddle with a mate. (Or go out with an experienced kayaker to show you the ropes, and you then gain knowledge and more experience).
8 – If out in ocean and open waters with roughish conditions, or where you know it is going blow up, attach a lanyard from yourself to the kayak. (This will prevent the kayak from being blown away from you, leaving you stranded, should you come off).
9 – If you do flip the yak and cant get it upright, stay with it. (It is easier to spot a kayak floating on the water, than it is to spot a person).
10 – Take some communication device with you. (Phone or VHF radio) If you are constantly in an out of mobile phone service range, a Satphone is recommended.
11 – Join your local coastguard. (They need the money, and you could need them).
12 - Have a paddle lanyard attached. (If you come off the yak, the paddle is still attached to the yak and won’t float away).
13 – Take 2ltrs (minimum) of fresh drinking water.
14 – Get a personal EPIRB. (AMSA registered)
15 – If going offshore, or in open waters on a lake/dam, take a flare kit with you. (Inshore flare kit will suffice. The smoke can be seen for miles).
16 – Carry a waterproof torch. (You never know)
17 – Have a knife strapped to you. (On leg, arm, or better, on your PFD).
18 – Carry a small first aid kit with you. (In a waterproofed bag)
19 – Have a signaling mirror and a V-sheet. (V-sheet can be held up if you are in the yak, or floated beside the yak for aerial and boat search. It is very easily seen).
20 – Have a throw bag. (Just in case. Can also be used as a tow line, and to attach yourself to the yak).
21 – Practise deep water kayak re-entries. (Go out in calm deep water and tip the kayak over, and get back on. Do this a few times until you are happy with doing it. Once is not enough).
22 – If you are going out for long hours doing a lot of paddling or peddling, take some sustenance (food) with you. (It keeps the energy supply up to continue on). Fatigue and dehydration, (especially combined), could be the difference between you getting safely home or not.
23 - Put an orange flag to your yak at least 1.5mtrs high. (A kids pushbike flag will do the job). It can be seen for miles by other boaters. Especially if there is a swell around.
24 – Watch out for what your mates are doing.

For both the fresh water and ocean/open water, always wear a broad brim hat, long sleeve shirt, sunnies, and 30+ sunscreen.

But most of all, COMMON SENSE PREVAILS.

If it looks unsafe, it most probably is. DON’T DO IT.
I know that this is a fair comprehensive list here, and some will just fob it off, but safety is paramount. Some of this probably won’t apply to you, but most of this WILL. Safety is your responsibility. It is not much of an outlay compared to losing your life.

I hope this is of some value to you as safe and responsible kayakers.

Cheers and tight lines,
Ian
Last edited by nqkayaktours on Tue Oct 25, 2016 8:49 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Kayaking safety hints/requirements

Postby Yakyakker » Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:03 pm

Thanks Ian,

Looking forward to reading it in detail tonight, I'm sure following this will help me and others stay safe out there.
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Re: Kayaking safety hints/requirements

Postby Dangerous Dave » Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:04 pm

nqkayaktours wrote:KAYAK SAFETY REQUIREMENTS/PROCEEDURES

But most of all, COMMON SENSE PREVAILS.

If it looks unsafe, it most probably is. DON’T DO IT.

Cheers and tight lines,
Ian


This is probably the most important comment in Ian's post and relates to far more than just kayaking. It does not matter how much time you have spent on the water or how well you think you know your kayak, if your gut is unsure, then there is probably a very good reason.

Thanks for posting.

(Mods maybe we should sticky this so it is always at the top of the page.)
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Re: Kayaking safety hints/requirements

Postby auskayaks » Fri Dec 02, 2011 7:37 am

I am a tour operator as well but only doing short duration flat water tours.
I shudder to the bone when I see some of the goings on of others.
Just yesterday I witnessed 2 kayaks struggling head on into a stiff southerly without PFDs. The fell off neumerous times but I watched them safetly reach shore all be it totaly exhausted. This the day after the loss of 2 paddlers down south. Some people just dont ever learn.

NSW Maritime have just sent out an update on Hire and Drive requirements in line with a national standard being established which includes the requirement that Marine Rescue be contacted at the start and end of each tour. Logging in and out just as you would in a boat heading out to see. Personally I see this as a bit of overkill for tours of very short duration as surely this could be done in house without loading up the already heavily worked volunteers.
I would like to suggest that maybe Marine Rescue could introduce an online Forum type of logging system that can be monitored. This way we are not tied up to a radio or phone waiting for a response and we are not diverting them away from their duties.
I already provide a similar function through my web site forum for recreational paddlers to log in outings and returns but getting individuals to do so is nigh on impossible.
As we all know we usually find out about some one being out and about by reading their reports after the event or on the news should something bad happen.

Communication with others about your outing and estimated return times should be of formost importance followed by all of your normal personal safety equipment of which the list could be endless but again common sence must prevail. The saftey criteria laid down by maritime authorities is a MINIMUM requirement that one must have. You do need to compromise with the amount you can safely carry, too much gear could become hazardous especially on say a small kayak or ski.
Regards
George Butler
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http://www.auskayaks.com.au/forum


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Re: Kayaking safety hints/requirements

Postby awty » Fri Dec 02, 2011 7:57 pm

Hi all
My 2 cents worth is do a kayaking safety coarse with a qualified instructor.
You can read as much as you want about safety, watch the youtube vids and carry all the safety gear you can fit on your kayak, but if dont have the skills to first avoid falling out and be able to get back in if you do, you'll have a much harder time surviving.

Most kayak associations can put you into contact with a instructor.....well worth it.
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Re: Kayaking safety hints/requirements

Postby grahame_grieve » Sat Dec 03, 2011 4:49 pm

Practise deep water kayak re-entries. (Go out in calm deep water and tip the kayak over, and get back on. Do this a few times until you are happy with doing it. Once is not enough)

I can get in my kayak easy in calm water. But in the kind of conditions that tipped me out in the first place (>1m seas).... not a chance in hell when it mattered. Practice in rough conditions too
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Re: Kayaking safety hints/requirements

Postby eagle4031 » Sat Dec 03, 2011 5:50 pm

most importantly
check MANY weather sites in realtion to your intended trip so that you have in your mind all expected conditions AND when on water constantly be aware of all the conditions around you and in the distance
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Re: Kayaking safety hints/requirements

Postby gros21 » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:37 am

I think we first need to list each states min requirements.
As some of the items u mention are overkill (no offence) but 99.5% of us are not going to use an epirb let alone in the fresh. Alot of the safety items u mention are well beyond what's needed.
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Re: Kayaking safety hints/requirements

Postby Dangerous Dave » Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:58 am

NSW Maritime Website wrote:Canoes/Kayaks

Exempt from carrying safety equipment on all waters, but hand-held marine radio or mobile phone in waterproof pouch strongly recommended.


http://www.maritime.nsw.gov.au/sbh/safety_equipment/safety_equipment.html

I try and keep my kayak to a minimalist setup with only the very essential gear carried but I have seen some other setups and I truly think they are going a little overboard with the amount of gear carried and whether it upsets the way the kayak handles. I carry flares and a v sheet but these are carried in a pocket on the back of my vest ( originally designed for water), no point having safety gear if it's on the kayak that is floating 100 metres away in the wind/ current. If I hit the water and the kayak is gone, I will head for shore. If I am injured or fatiguing, then I will pop a flare.
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Re: Kayaking safety hints/requirements

Postby simons rat » Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:00 pm

I think you need to carry the safety gear you feel confident with and not follow the legislation as it stands at the moment. If you follow legislation in Queensland there is no requirement for a PFD while on a kayak. If there are a few more deaths and close calls, legislation will catch up and make safety equipment mandatory.

I would rather have a piece of safety equipment in an emergency than not.

I carry an EPIRB in skinny bass creeks, snake bite, twisted/broken ankle or some other disaster, I want the option to hit that little button and have someone find me (or at least my body). Especially if my phone has no reception or stopped working for some reason.

Do a first aid course, carry some first aid gear, that suits what some things that may occur while you are fishing. A snake bite kit may not have a lot of uses in a canal but might be a life saver while bassing.

I have a go-to container in my kayak full of stuff that may help in an emergency ... I realise it is useless if I lose my kayak. But the stuff I really want is on me in case I do get separated from the yak. I let everyone I fish with know where it is and that they may find something useful in it.

Also if you do not feel comfortable do not go, even if your mates want to. Both times I fished in conditions that I felt uncomfortable going out in, bad things happened.

Bad things will happen, have the skills and equipment so you can survive them.

Cheers,

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Re: Kayaking safety hints/requirements

Postby gros21 » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:40 pm

I 2 carry a basic 1st aid supply's in my tackle box as well as a pfd behind my seat. I fish alot of creeks were there is 0 flow. Sure I could carry every thing just in case. But of I start to do it for taking shouldn't I be doing it for every thing else I do?

Even in the causeway which is the only salt fishing I've done I don't wear a pfd or carry any thing over the top. A few bottles of water generally does me. There is a small 1st kit someware in the hull but beats me ware.
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Re: Kayaking safety hints/requirements

Postby nqkayaktours » Tue Jun 25, 2013 8:13 pm

Thought i might bump this again to see if there have been any further changes that people have done to better improve yakking Safety.

Cheers and tight lines,
Ian
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Re: Kayaking safety hints/requirements

Postby kayakone » Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:10 pm

http://www.google.com.au/imgres?imgurl= ... BA&dur=683

This, or equivalent, should be on every PFD and kayak. The last thing you need, is entanglement (around a limb/neck), when you are struggling to survive. This sort of gear is the answer. Cost is peanuts.
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Re: Kayaking safety hints/requirements

Postby Matt S » Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:42 pm

Thanks for bumping this Ian. I wouldnt of seen it otherwise. Doesnt change much for me as i ALWAYS wear my pfd and have first aid kit in quick reach but has reminded me to get a dive knife (keep meaning too) and I'll keep saving for that epirb. could be needed as i usually head offshore solo
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Re: Kayaking safety hints/requirements

Postby crashtestdummy » Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:09 pm

In both Freshwater and Ocean/open waters you have an EPIRB noted to be carried. I did a lot of reading and spoke with several people and I decided that a PLB would be better suited for me for on water activities and land based activities due to their size and cost but also their effectiveness. My thoughts are that if I become sepperated from my kayak I can be located quickly as they operate with a GPS function. Is it ok to carry either or is it a requirement to carry an EPIRB when offshore. I hope this Isnt off topic too much.
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