Kayak Information Tips

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Parts of a Kayak

Depending on the type of kayak you buy, there will be all kinds of attachments and parts on it. Its a good idea to know what they are called so that you don't feel silly in the presense of other boaters. Here is a brief list of some of the parts of a kayak.

Grab Loops: Grab loops are the handles, ropes, or straps attached to the bow and stern of the kayak. They are used to carry the kayak.

Cockpit: The cockpit is the large hole that gives a kayaker access to getting into the kayak. Sit-on-top kayaks don't have cockpits.

Drain Plug: The drain plug is mostly found on whitewater kayaks and is used to drain out any water that may have gotten into the kayak.

Rudder: Rudders are found on sea, touring, and some recreational kayaks. It is attached to the stern of the kayak and is controlled with the paddlers feet. The rudder helps to steer the kayak.

Bulkheads: Bulkheads refer to the compartments found on sea, touring, and some recreational compartments. They are usually water tight and used for storing gear.

Thigh Braces: Thigh braces are there to help support and secure the kayakers legs in the kayak for better control and balance.

Deck Rigging: Deck rigging are the bungie-type cords on the decks of some kayaks. They are used to strap down and carry gear.

This is just some of the terminology for the parts that can be found on some kayaks. Other items are self explanatory such as back rests and seats.


Know Directions on a Kayak

It is important to know some things about your kayak and direction on a kayak to make sure you can communicate with other boaters both on and off the water.

Kayakers tend to use typical nautical terms to define parts of their boat. For instance the bow refers to the front of the kayak while the stern is the rear. This is normal nomenclature for kayakers. This pattern is not however used to refer to the sides of the kayak. The right side is simply the right side and the left side is the left side, not the starboard or aft sides. Right and left are from the perspective of the person sitting in the kayak, not from the person looking at it.

Knowing these simple terms can make life a whole lot easier for you and anyone you are speaking with when you're loading or unloading a kayak from a roof rack, when speaking of where and how to launch your kayak, and just simply during conversation on the water.

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