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Kayak Safety

PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO READ THIS THOROUGHLY

 

Our aim is to promote safety whilst out on the water so please take time to read the information thoroughly.

Experience doesn’t come overnight! Try to paddle with at least one other person if possible (paddle buddy) at all times and if you do venture out alone call the coast guard and friends/relatives and give them your plans.

Don’t launch when conditions dictate that you would be at risk i.e. a building sea or thick fog. Study the forecast in the run up to a trip out looking for a settled period. It takes a while to build up a picture of how the weather affects the area that you plan on paddling. Talking to any local kayak anglers or boat users is a good way of gleaning knowledge about local tide runs and known dangers.

Find out the tidal flow for your area, it not only helps fishing but will give you a direction that you will be drifting in depending on the state of the tide and wind/weather conditions.

Your own judgement and common sense are the most important thing to remember and consider when taking your kayak out on the sea.

If it looks “dodgy” then it probably is, DO NOT go out!

WEAR YOUR P.F.D AT ALL TIMES

If you don’t have it with you, then don’t go on the water! There may be lovely sunny days where your out to see and wanting a nice sun tan on a lovely flat sea and you know it’s okay but anything could happen. Heart attack, epileptic, asthma, blackout or accident and if you tipped during this you’d more than likely drown! A PFD (personal floatation device, also known as a buoyancy aid) also has thermal qualities and keeps you warm out at sea as well as keep you afloat.

Be aware of local hazards, the weather, tides and currents. Also keep an eye on the wind speed and direction as it can change suddenly without warning and the forecast could be wrong. Watch the cloud direction, if you see long whisps trailing off the clouds it means the winds picking up at high altitude and could be on you very soon! Also watch for clouds with sharp edges as this means high wind. Storm clouds are the worst for catching you out as they build very quickly as anyone who’s visited our lake district in Cumbria will no doubt of witnessed lol.

Plan your trips with these in mind tips in mind and tyou’ll be fine.

FLOAT PLAN

Have contacts on shore, let them know when you are going out, where you are going and the time you expect to get back.

Join the CG66 Scheme if you haven’t already and make sure

to update your details with them if you move home or swap kayaks. There’sa link to them from our home page.

Make sure that your contacts have the necessary knowledge and phone numbers to ring just in case.

Make sure you let your contacts know when you are safely off the water.

YOUR KAYAK

Kayaks

We decided to edit/update this page in 2014 seeing as the sport is now getting so popular with a lot of people getting into it via the cheaper end of the kayak range like the awesome Galaxy Cruz which has been plastered all over the net the past few years in one way and another. See our own review of the kayak here.You’ll see site moderator Wayne paddling the Galaxy Cruz in a swell of 4-5 foot but do realise that he’s a very experienced paddler who would NOT usually take this kayak out in these conditions even if not fishing.

These smaller and cheaper kayaks are being fitted out with rod holders and are under £300 so anglers who can’t afford the higher end kayaks or are wanting to try the sport cheaply in case they don’t stick to it to minimilize their losses are buying them to try the sport but we feel that people are buying these kayaks and aren’t realising that they’re only meant for inshore waters and not for venturing off miles to wrecks etc. Please bear this in mind if you buy a smaller kayak as they don’t track well at all in choppy seas and can be tipped a lot easier than most “angling kayaks” in the 13-15ft series.

Maintenance

Winter time is a great time to maintain your kayak and equipment to make sure it’s ready for the coming spring/summers kayak fishing frolics. Check your Kayak from time to time for damage. Look for pin holes in the scupper hole joints. Also check any deep scratches/gouges from landing on beaches. The best way to test your kayak for leaks is to water test it by setting it up so it lies flat and straight so it won’t tip to one side once filled up and make sure it’s off the ground slightly too in case there’s a leak in the hull.

Check that the drain plug is intact and screwed down, it’s very easy to drain your ‘yak’ then leave it open to dry out a while then forget to replace/screw down the cover in the excitement of getting out for a trip on the water. Also unscrew all your fittings and reseal them wherever possible. If you fit your own ‘bits n bobs’ do make sure the nuts and bolts are marine grade. This is known as A4 steel

Keep your Kayak stored inside your garage, hut, wrapped up or boxed to prevent damage from UV rays. Some kayaks nowadays actually come with UV protection built in like the popular OK Ulatra 4.3 series. Store it

You can now buy “kayak covers” for around £150 in the UK that are UV resistant which may be good for those without storage but a large sheet of tarpaulin does the job a lot cheaper.

EQUIPMENT

P.F.D (buoyancy aid)

Paddle. Paddle leash (do NOT use if/when surfing)

First Aid Kit. (waterproof)

Small Sharp Knife Attached to your pfd.

G.P.S.

Compass

Food and Drink

Hand held smoke ( Orange position marker )

V.H.F. Radio ( Check charge levels before trip )

Mobile Phone ( Check charge levels before trip )

Waterproof Torch (Strong beam check before trip )

Signalling mirror (a C.D is a great substitute for a mirror)

Pack of Mini Flares

Ink Spot Marker

There’s a lot more emergency equipment available nowadays than when we created this page so do poke around for it.

FISHING

We’ve recently added category this as a lot of “noobs” tend to ask in our forums which rod/reel etc. they should use. Generally speaking a 6 to 7ft light boat rod of say 12-20lb class is suffice with a multiplier reel in the 6000 range up over like Penn 525/535 or Abu 6500/7000 series that you may already have for shore fishing. Line wise, braid is always a good option for rough ground fishing but there’s a lot of scope involved here and is why we generalise. A fixed spool reel is good for light spinning and trolling and a fly rod on the kayak is great fun for trout on a lake or even Cod on a nice calm sea in some locations and it’s these options which make the sport so interesting for us.

One major point we have never mentioned in this page is the need for leashes. Just because it’s not essential to have them for safety sake we do feel you should know about and use them wherever possible as if you do tip out at sea you could lose a rod and reel or three as well as other gear so do make sure you leash it all.

 

ANCHOR/DROGUE

As well as being used for fishing an anchor is a piece of safety kit as well, if for whatever reason, be it injury or exhaustion, you can anchor up and either get yourself composed or remain in the same position making a rescue easier. A drogue is a floating anchor, rather like a parachute under the water. A drogue will slow your drift in a strong wind again making it easier for a rescue should one be needed. Learn the tides and winds and use it to your advantage.

Ensure all batteries, bulbs etc. are fully working/charged before every trip.

A throw/tow rope is always a good thing to have in your hull in case a paddler gets injured or needs assistance getting out of the water.

A bow line is also another one of those small but essential items for tying off to structures or another kayak in order to fish or get off and stretch your legs or maybe tow someone needing assistance!

CLOTHING

Summer

A 3mm ‘shorty’ wet suit is a good idea for Summer fishing, it keeps you warm enough should you enter the water and it’s flexible enough for ease of paddling. A Cag is a good addition to keep the wind off you. If you don’t have one, a good waterproof rain jacket will suffice as long as it keeps the wind and water off if you get caught out but a Cag is always a great item to have.

A pair of neoprene shoes or diving boots are great and keep your feet from getting cold as well as protecting them from stones etc. A 5/3mm full wetsuit should be kept in your vehicle just in case it gets too cold or turns nasty

though. It’s not very often we have hot summer days, especially out at sea! Another good idea is to keep a jumper or hoody in your vehicle as you can still become cold once on the beach after paddling as your body temperature drops as your heart rate drops. Even in summer too, especially if it’s windy. The drive home can be nasty if in a shorty or wetsuit.

Winter

A 5/3mm full Wet Suit combined with a dry cag will suit but if you are going to encounter some really cold weather, then a dry suit is recommended with suitable under clothing like a fleece “romper” suit. Lightweight joggers can suffice and a couple of layers like vest and t-shirt or sweatshirt. If you do venture out in Winter months please don’t go alone and do make sure you adhere to this page and use the CG66 scheme.

Here’s a list of useful items of clothing:

Wetsuit/Dry suit.

Breathable Cag (Water/Wind proof top)

Moisture Wicking Vest.

Neoprene Boots

Hat

Gloves/paddling mitts

Dry pants, boots and cag are possibly the single most under rated setup out there.

 

It is a good idea to take with you, a spare set of clothing and a towel, there is nothing worse than driving home after a day out, in wet clothes and getting your ear bent for wetting the drivers seat!

TRANSPORT

This is one of the most over looked aspects of kayak fishing and is one of the most important issues! If you can’t travel then your simply not going kayak fishing. If your going to a local launch then maybe it’s fine to not do a vehicle check but if your travelling any distance you should check your tyre pressure and all the usual stuff like wiper/washer fluid and the stuff that can drop you in it when away from home or help. You simply cannot have enough straps either and always carry a couple of spares. All kayaks are supposed to have bow and stern ties for long journeys but maybe aren’t neccessary for your local trip around town to the coast. It’s up to you to decide. If using ratchet straps, padding is a good idea to stop any damage to the kayak and it also lessens slippage.

Cam straps are great for short trips if you live close to the shore and ratchet straps are more sturdy but a lot more care is required as it’s very easy to overtighten  and damge the vehicle or kayak. An extra cam strap for long trips is highly recommended just in case one snaps. Check your cam straps regularly for wear and tear too as if you use them in the same position on a regular basis, the place where it grips wears smooth and thins so lessens the grip leading to s loose kayak on the roof and potential disaster.

Transporting your kayak once at your chosen launch is usually done via a kayak trolley. Most ‘yak anglers’ plump for the popular C-tug trolley or the RUK sports Kombi which is similar. Another one to look out for is the Sea to Summit through the scuppers one with it’s protected, adjustable uprights. It’s rubber strap fixings are a weak point though and are easily snapped. The C-tug and Kombi are both heavy and take up a lot of space on a kayak so storing it in the vehicle is a good option if the walk isn’t too far but most collapse theirs into the hull via the front hatch or store it on the tankwell at the stern and strap it down.

If you think of anything else you feel shouldbe added to this article then e-mail andy, or wayne @kayakfishinguk.co.uk

Thank you for taking the time to read through this and please stay safe out there, not just for yourself but in the interest and promotion of the sport.

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