Town Crier Articles

Kayak Safety Tips
Posted on February 1, 2021 7:00 AM by Patricia McGrath, Parks Superintendent, City of Williamsburg
Categories: Life in New Town
Everyone is looking forward to the warmer weather and bright sunshine.  One of my all time favorite outdoor activities is kayaking.  I have been kayaking for over a decade and became a Level 2 kayak instructor in 2015.  I wanted to share with you some tips that will keep you safe on the water.
 
 
  • PLAN YOUR TRIP -  It is very important to plan your trip before you even load up your kayak and gear.  You do not need any fancy gadgets or software to get all the information that you need.  Check the radar, weather report, & tides (if applicable).  It is useful to know the sunset in case you need to plan for extra gear. Take a look at a map, measure your route. If you are new to kayaking, start off with a short distance like a mile and work yourself up to longer paddles. See app suggestions at the bottom of page
  • Obtain a kayak tag from the US Coast Guard or make your own.  All you need is your name, your phone number, your emergency contacts name and their phone number.  Make sure your affix this to your kayak in a visible location. More info at U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary - Flotilla 6-7, District 5SR
  • Have an off the water contact.  Tell a friend where you are going and when you plan on being off the water.  This just ensures that if some problems arise that you would receive help sooner than later. Bring your cell phone.  They make dry boxes that will keep it secure and you can still have it for emergencies.
  • STRETCH.  Kayaking is a full body sport.  Your arms and core will be doing most of the work but your legs will be in the same position for the duration of the trip.  Make sure that you stretch all of your muscles before you get in the boat and plan for some time in the middle of your trip where you can get out and stretch your legs.
  • Bring a friend. The buddy system is critical for so many reasons.  You might just see something really cool and you want to share it with someone.  Or you might need some sort of assistance and a buddy can help. It can be as simple as gear failure or as complex as an illness. Either way, bringing your best adventure buddy will make sure that you have the best experience.
  • Make sure your have the right gear. Safety is key.  Wear your Life Jacket, put on sunscreen and dress for the season. Temperature fluctuations in the spring can be dramatic. Bring a dry bag with extra clothes.  Layers are perfect, you can always take things off.
  • Water and SNACKS!!!  Well, this might be the most important of all the tips.  Everyone loves snacks.  Make sure that you bring plenty of water and something to nosh on for your trip.  
  • HAVE FUN! Whether you like to fish, take pictures, or just enjoy some fresh air. Get OUTSIDE and EXPLORE!  
If you want more information or just need an adventure buddy send me an email at pmcg2003@gmail.com OR come visit me at Waller Mill Park (a great spot for beginners with rentals available Spring - Fall).
 
FREE APP SUGGESTIONS
GO PADDLING - Well Known (and some less known) Launch Sites
 
Tide Charts (by 7th Gear) - Free Local Tide Charts
 
AccuWeather - Local Weather & Radar (with Alerts)
 
Radar X - Local Weather & Radar (with Alerts)
 
 
 
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