Top tips when kayaking and canoeing

Before beginning kayaking or canoeing, you should take a training course to learn the basics. Once you’ve completed your training, you can make your trips safer by following these guidelines.

Weather

  • only go out in conditions that are suitable to your level of experience and skills
  • get a weather forecast and tidal information for the time you intend to be out
  • keep a reference point on the shore to check how your position is being affected by wind or tide drift
  • visit the Jersey Meteorological Department website or call +44 (0) 900 669 6666 for a six day forecast

Other people

  • never paddle alone
  • log a traffic report with the Coastguard and tell someone on-shore your intended destination and expected time of return

Clothing

  • always wear an approved buoyancy aid
  • wear appropriate clothing to prevent becoming too cold or too hot. It’s always cooler once on the water
  • pack some extra clothing in a waterproof bag if you’re going out for longer periods
  • if paddling near caves or in surf, wear a safety helmet

Equipment

  • take some means of attracting attention, e.g. flares
  • use a paddle leash (cord or bungee) to prevent loss of your paddle in the event of a capsize
  • fit airbags into your boat to provide reserve buoyancy
  • take a drink with you, ideally fresh water on all trips and possibly some food for longer trips
  • take a VHF or mobile phone in a waterproof case or bag