It’s never safe to go out into the wilderness alone, be it water or land if you’re not well-prepped. Doing so can put you in a great deal of danger.
Is it safe to sea kayak alone? The answer depends mainly on your experience and preparation.
Is It Safe to Sea Kayak Alone?
Many kayaking experts agree that the answer is an absolute no for beginners. But, on the other hand, for a seasoned kayaker, the answer will depend on preparation.
If you’re well-prepared and are already familiar with the route you’re going to take with your yak, then yes, sea kayaking alone is safe. However, if you’re not familiar with the course and don’t have the necessary gear for the trip, you should avoid sea kayaking alone.
Stick around to learn more.
Why Would One Go Kayaking Alone?
There are many potential reasons as to why someone would go kayaking alone. Some might go kayaking alone because they couldn’t find any company. Others might go kayaking alone simply because they’d like to enjoy the experience alone.
That said, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so we’d highly recommend that you only kayak alone in the middle of the sea if you’re an expert who is well-prepared for every event that might take place on the trip.
4 Safety Tips for Solo Sea Kayaking
If you plan on going on a solo sea kayaking trip soon, here are a few essential safety tips you need to keep in mind:
#1 Be Prepared for the Worst
Make sure you’re aware of all the emergency contingency plans if anything goes wrong with your trip.
Learn and practice how to recover your kayak in the case it gets capsized or turned over while you’re paddling.
Know the risks of going out alone and make sure you’re ready if everything goes wrong.
#2 Plan Well Before Your Trip
- Always study your route and, preferably, take one you’re physically familiar with and not just one you know theoretically or on a map. Be sure to know where you’re heading and where you’re heading out from so that you minimize the risk of getting lost.
- Plan and spot shortcuts or backup routes that you might need to follow if something happens on the main route you intend to pursue.
- If you’re not familiar with kayaking alone, stick to shallow waters and areas near the shore.
- Make sure you’ve received adequate training on basic navigation skills out at sea so you can at least pinpoint your location when calling in help or even to help you find your way back on track in case you get thrown off course.
- Check the weather conditions as often as you can before heading out on your trip. You can never be too sure about the weather out at sea, so better safe than sorry. Moreover, be prepared for abrupt weather changes while you’re at sea.
#3 Inform Others of Your Whereabouts
Make sure you’ve informed some friends, family, and qualified personnel (coast guards) about the destination you’re headed to and the route you’ll be taking.
Try to have check-ins as often as you can while you’re at sea to ensure that there’s a time log with where you were and the time.
#4 Check Your Gear
Check that you have the following:
- Carry an appropriate communication tool like a radio phone or any distress signaling device.
- Always wear your Personal Floatation Device (commonly known as a PFD).
- Have all the necessary maps and GPS location indicators present and updated.
- Carry waterproof pouches/sacks to ensure the safety of your personal belongings, such as your phone and any other electronic device you have with you.
- First aid kit. The size of the kit depends on how long and how far your trip is. You must also know the basics of how to use it.
- Make sure to have a spare paddle if something happens to the one you’re using.
- Don’t forget to pack light snacks and food to keep you hydrated and healthy to maintain the needed strength for your trip. They will also help in the case of severe weather conditions affecting your health and stamina.
- Sunscreen and any other sun protection like sunglasses and safety gear ensure your sight isn’t compromised.
Other Key Points to Keep in Mind
In addition to being well-prepared for a kayaking trip at sea, there are some key points you need to keep in mind as well:
1. Start Out Small
Practice makes perfect, and as we stated earlier, one of the most critical aspects of kayaking safety is the amount of time you practice.
In addition to kayaking frequently, you need to practice proper paddling. An expert tip that can help you master paddling in all directions with high efficiency and effectiveness is to start out with short distances.
The point here is to maintain a safe range to the shore while minimizing the practice space.
As you slowly build momentum and a strong sense of rhythm in these short distances, you can increase the distance and make the stretch longer. This will help familiarize you with the kayak you’re using and the type of water you’re kayaking in.
Once you’ve mastered the controlled space, you’re ready to face a wider range of open waters.
2. Secure Your Belongings
Make sure all the vital gear and devices, like your phone and SatNav, are securely tucked away in a reachable but safe place away from water.
Your important belongings should ideally be in a waterproof bag.
3. Don’t Panic
If you’re in a life-threatening situation, God forbid, the most important thing to remember is not to panic.
Calm yourself down by taking long, deep breaths so that enough oxygen gets into your body. This will help you regain your strength and think faster and more clearly.
4. Don’t Overestimate Your Strength
Be sure to take the appropriate amount of time to rest your muscles. Many kayakers tend to overestimate their strength, so they end up exhausted and unable to keep paddling.
Sometimes it’s best to take a breather than to keep pushing forward. Remember not to push yourself too hard so you don’t injure yourself.
5. Study the Area
We’ve said this once, and we’ll repeat it, you need to familiarize yourself with the area you’re about to head out to before your trip.
You must do your homework and research as much as you can about the region you’re visiting. Better yet, go out and explore that area. Make sure that it’s not your first time in this area alone. Find a guide or an expert who can show you the route and what areas to look out for.
It is safe to kayak alone if you’re an expert. That being said, most experts suggest kayaking in groups, regardless of their experience level.
If you’re an experienced kayaker who’s planning to go sea kayaking alone, you’ll need to follow the above-listed pointers closely to make sure that you’re fully prepared.
If you’re unsure about any aspect of sea kayaking. We strongly recommend that you seek expert assistance from a professional who’s familiar with the area you’re planning to visit with your yak.
Enjoy your trip!