June 18, 2010, Newsletter Issue #35: What to Wear While Kayaking for Maximum Safety

Tip of the Week

When considering whta to wear while kayaking, you'll need to think about each part of your body.  Every part will need to be protected in some way so the first thing you should do is a head to toe check.

First, consider your head.  If you are whitewater kayaking you'll need a helmet.  If not, you are recreational or sea kayaking you may want a hat to shield your face and eyes from the sun.  As you work your way down your body you'll come to your eyes and face.   Sunglasses are a good idea but can be annoying when they get water on them.  Be sure to wear sunblock on all exposed skin.  In cold and dry days or on bright sunny days, chapstick will protect your lips.

As we move down to the torso we come to the most important and necessary item you'll be wearing while paddling a kayak.  You must wear a pfd, or life jacket, to keep you afloat should you become separated from your kayak.  On your pfd, you can keep all kinds of other safety items such as a whistle and a kayaking knife.  The whistle will allow you alert others when you need help and the knife is there for any of a variety of reasons not the least of which is getting untangled from rope.

As for your arms and legs, this is a judgment call on your part.  If it is cold you may want to wear a wetsuit, drysuit, or paddling jacket.  If you are only recreational kayaking a windbreaker may be enough.  You need to know your own limits and how your body reacts to the temperature.

As you move down to your feet, you'll need some sort of closed-toe foot protection when you are kayaking.  This can be sandals, old sneakers, paddling booties, or water shoes.  Whatever the case they need to fit securely on your foot and must protect your toes.

So think head-to-toe the next time you go to paddle and you'll be sure not to forget to wear any safety item the next time you go kayaking.

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