Memorial Day 2019 is coming up and with that is the unofficial start to the summer season. Most of us (who aren’t on duty) think of the holiday as a great time to enjoy the outdoors BBQs, and for us, boating and beer.
Because Memorial Day is one of the largest weekends for boaters and alcohol, we thought it was a good time to offer some of our expertise on kayaking safety.
I know kayak safety can sound boring and totally lame for you cool guys out there, but there’s nothing lame about limiting your chances of getting hurt or dying over a preventable incident.
Just Google “memorial day boating accidents” and you’ll see many stories of people dying on the water because they failed to take safety seriously.
Safety Tips for Kayaking
Below is a list of kayaking safety tips that I hope you take with you before launching your kayak this Memorial Day.
Dress for the water, not the air temperature
In Maryland and as of this writing, the weather forecast is predicting a beautiful Memorial Day weekend. The air temperature is supposed to be in the mid-80’s which is a perfect temperature for kayaking.
However, according to Global Sea Temperature’s website, the water temperature near the Bay Bridge in Annapolis is only 58°F. The water temperature this cold could mean a good probability of hypothermia and other cold water-related injuries.
Before you launch your kayak this Memorial Day, check your local water temperature and dress appropriately.
Easy on the booze
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, alcohol consumption is the number one reason for boating accidents. I don’t want to sound like your mom, but know your limit and paddle to the shoreline should you have too much to drink.
Wear a life jacket
As a former Boarding Team Member in the Coast Guard, I get asked the question:
Do you have to wear a life jacket in a kayak?
According to federal law (not state), if you are under 13 years old, you must wear a USCG approved personal flotation device at all times. However, if you’re 14 years old or older, you are not federally required to wear a life jacket in a kayak.
Check with your state regulations on the body of water for more information.
Although not a federal law, it’s still a good idea to wear a life jacket this Memorial Day. More than 84% of drowning victims were not wearing life vests.
Pack a whistle
Inspect your kayak gear
Speaking of kayak accessories, go through your kayak gear and do a quick inspection. If anything is old, dry rotted or mold infested, toss it out.
Here’s a list of the best kayak safety gear:
- U.S. Coast Guard approved PFD, life vests, life jackets
- Kayak paddle leashes – so you don’t lose your kayak paddle
- Taco clip kayak paddle holder
- Hand bilge pump
- Whistle with compass
- Bright orange kayak safety flag
- Kayak outriggers for stability
- Grapnel kayak anchor
If you are missing any of these pieces of kayak safety gear, check out our Memorial Day Sale for Kayak Accessories!
Read MericanMen.com’s Kayak Resource Guides
We have a few recent kayak articles that pertain to kayak safety. Although it may never happen, it’s possible your kayak overturns. Make sure you know how to get back into a kayak after it capsizes.
Stay safe this Memorial Day weekend.
If you feel we missed anything on kayak safety, please share with other readers on how to stay safe in the comments below.