Can I Kayak By Myself?

You love to kayak but always kayak in a group. You are longing to get out on the water on a beautiful day, but no one else is available. Can I kayak by myself? The answer is yes, but there are some very important things to keep in mind before heading out.

man kayaking alone on lake

Don’t kayak along if you are a beginner

If you are new to kayaking, always go out with at least one other person. If you took kayak lessons, all instructors give you a golden rule which is “never kayak alone.” You are now thinking “rules are meant to be broken.” Well, this one can be changed, but you need to be prepared. Being prepared is essential when kayaking in a group or by yourself.


Consider water conditions

When reading through these suggestions, also consider what kind of water you will be on. When on a calm lake, the equipment needed will be different than if you are going down several miles of rough river water.


Kayaking alone tips

Always wear a personal floatation device or PDF. There are different types ranging from Type I to Type V. Type I is a great all-around life vest good for choppy water and stormy seas and will keep you face up in case of unconsciousness. II and III are for calmer waters. IV is an inner tube that can be thrown to the one in need of rescue and V inflates automatically and meets U.S. Coast Guard requirements.

You should take along an extra paddle in case yours is swept away. Other items to take are food, cell phone, extra clothing, all of which should be kept in dry bags. These should be secured with a cord and clamp in case your kayak should flip. Your items will remain with the kayak and not float away.  Dress as if you may become immersed, especially if the water temperature is cold. Other safety items can consist of flares, a whistle, VHF radio, for emitting a distress signal, and a flashlight or headlamp. Keep these items within reach, perhaps in your life vest.

The items above may seem like a hassle, but safety equals piece of mind. Hopefully, you will never have to use them. Also when kayaking alone try to stick to calm waters, a lake or stream in less remote areas where there are other outdoor enthusiasts.  Always tell someone where you are going and when you will return. Research the area and the weather for the day. Navigation skills, using map and compass, are not only a plus, but necessary when kayaking a new location.

Yes, you can kayak by yourself. Be prepared and you will enjoy a tranquil, undisturbed day on the water.

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