When taking the traditional kayak out into the rough waters of the ocean, it is important to realize that many unexpected instances can occur in the open ocean that won’t in a lake.Because of the increase in potential danger, there are extra precautions that must be taken, especially for beginners. Some of these rules should be abided by even in a serene lake, but are emphasized in the open ocean. Sea kayaking is not recommended at all for beginners, but those who would like to try it out should check out these safety tips.
For anyone who gets in the ocean, no matter the type of craft, they must wear a lifejacket. This is enforced by the U.S. Coastguard and recommended by any expert sea kayaker, but a law does not require a helmet. This does not mean you should not wear one. If strong waves cause you to capsize, you don’t want to bang your head on a rock. You’ll want to also bring some water since the salty brine will splash into your mouth and the last thing you want in that situation is to become dehydrated. Before you leave, make sure to tell someone where you are going and how long you expect to be gone just in case you need a quick rescue.
One of the scariest and most difficult aspects of the ocean is the offshore breeze that can make it very difficult to get back to shore. In order to avoid this, try to go out on a day with very low risk of rip currents and very calm weather conditions because the more forceful the breeze becomes, the bigger the waves get. These big waves can push you very far off shore so it is a good idea to go sea kayaking in a group. It is much safer to have one experienced kayaker than to have a group of newbies taking on the open ocean, but a group with at least two experienced kayakers would be a safe way to make sure one person does not get thrown from the coast by the wind.Also try to make sure you are not paddling in the surf zone as this can be dangerous as well. If you are paddling in cold water, wearing a wetsuit will keep you warm and if paddling on a hot day, wear a long sleeve shirt to protect yourself from the Sun’s rays.
You are ready to venture off into the biggest body of water in the world, but even all of these will not keep you safe all the time. Hopefully, if anything goes wrong your PFD keeps you above water when you cannot do it yourself. A sit-in kayak can protect you from too much salt on your skin while a sit-on kayak may not so keep that in mind when you check out the weather on that day. Above all, make sure you get some practice on your maneuvering in a calm lake before you attempt the big one.