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While kayaking is generally a safe sport there is always some risk when venturing out on to a large body of water in a small boat. Kayaking may appear to be very benign, but it has risks just like other sports like SCUBA diving, rock climbing, mountaineering, surfing, or skiing. Many beginning kayakers may be ignorant (not stupid!) of the hidden dangers of kayaking, but with good awareness of safety risks, and the drive to learn techniques and gain knowledge to mitigate those risks, kayaking is probably safer than the drive to the put-in!!

The key to safety in any endeavor is to know your limits. Don't plan on doing a 20 mile open water crossing when you have not yet paddled 20 miles in one stretch along shore. Don't go on a paddle that will take a minimum of 4 hours when thunderstorms are expected within two hours. Don't mistake kayaking with hiking. The safety considerations when out on the water are completely different from those for when you are on solid ground. When you get tired, you can not just lie down and rest. Even just stopping paddling may put you at risk. Weather conditions can change quickly, and there is no shelter out on the water. Waves can rise quickly and pose a significant [safety hazard]?.

Threats to safety include:

Other safety factors include;

See also: Accident Reports

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Last edited November 10, 2005 1:16 am by RichardP (diff)