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Enjoying watersports and the great outdoors in your kayak is a lot easier with the right gear. It is essential to be aware of all of the kayaking and boating requirements in the state you are paddling or boating, as regulations vary between states.
Almost all states require that you have a life vest or PFD for each person. Not only is it the law, but it is just common sense. Many kayakers don’t always wear their kayaking PFDs/life vest, but they always have one on hand in the event of an emergency. Just remember, it can be difficult to put on a PFD once you have entered the water. Check the state requirements to see if they require you to wear your life vest at all times.
Another great item to have in your rig is a dry pack loaded with the essential equipment that you will need for each trip. That way, if you don’t want to leave it in your rig, you can leave it packed for each trip and just bring it along.
Essential items should include:
- Cell phone or other communication device
- Directional equipment – Maps/GPS/Compass
- Extra clothing in the event you get wet or need an additional layer in colder weather. Don’t forget additional foot gear if you may be portaging your kayak.
- First Aid Kit
- Emergency Signaling equipment -Flashlight/strobe light/head lamp, Whistle or Horn
- Food – energy bars/granola bars/jerky
- Water – keeping hydrated is imperative in any kind of weather
Be prepared for the unexpected water that ends up in your rig with a bucket or bilge pump. Although it may not be needed often, you will want to be prepared, especially if you will be shooting whitewater rapids. It’s not unusual for calm waters to change quickly with the weather, so you may think you are only off for a quick calm paddle, but end up in rough waters.
Lastly, you may want to consider wearing a helmet during white water or rough water excursions.
Put your safety first and be prepared for any emergency, so you can relax and enjoy your time on the water. Remember...you should take your gear along on every paddle, as a quick paddle can turn into a day-long excusion.