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How to be Safe Kayaking

Be Safe – Be Seen

These fun boats are common on lakes, rivers and around the coast. Used properly, they 
are very safe, but their limitations need to be understood.

When kayaking in areas used by other craft, make sure you will be seen. A kayak can be almost invisible to skippers of other craft. Wearing bright clothing, having brightly coloured paddle blades with reflector strips, and displaying a very bright orange or red flag about a metre above the water on a rod will greatly reduce the chance of being run down accidentally.

Only experienced, fit paddlers should use a kayak in rough water.

Kayaks can easily capsize. It is essential to have buoyancy fitted to make sure it stays level so it can be re-boarded.

Always wear a buoyancy-vest or life jacket designed for kayaking.

Make sure you do not become separated from your kayak following a capsize.

Between sunset and sunrise a kayak must display a white light. It can be a 360º (fixed white light or a torch, but a flashing light or strobe is not acceptable (strobe lights are used to mark a man overboard). The white light should be bright enough to be seen 2 miles (about 4km) away. Colours other than white are not allowed.

Get tuition at a kayaking club or with Coastguard Boating Education.

For more information on sea kayaking safety go to


How to be Safe Kayaking

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