10 Kayak & Paddleboard Safety Tips Every Fisherman Needs To Know

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Although kayak fishing is one of the most fun and effective ways to catch fish, it can be dangerous if you’re not careful.

The tide could turn on you and you could get stranded on a flat or sucked out to sea, it can sometimes be tough for boaters to see kayakers, and any physical injuries while out paddling could be very dangerous since you’re the one powering the craft.

In this video, I’m going to share 10 paddleboard and kayak safety tips, including one that potentially saved my life.

Let’s dive in!

Kayak & Paddleboard Safety Tips [VIDEO]

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You never want to make your next trip your last trip, so always be careful while out on the water.

Here are 10 tips to help you do that:

1. Have a bright flag with you

Here’s what makes a good flag:

  • It stands taller than you when you’re sitting in your kayak
  • It’s bright
  • Bonus points if it has a light (which is mandatory in low light conditions in some states)

You can get the flag that I have, the YakAttack VISIcarbon Pro, from Amazon here.

2. Wear a bright-colored hat or shirt

In addition to having a bright flag, wearing bright colors can help you be visible to boaters who may otherwise not see you.

3. Bring a light

I keep a tactical flashlight with me when I’m on the water.

It has a strobe setting which helped me out one day when a boater was coming right towards me on a foggy day.

As soon as I turned on the strobe setting he changed his course away from me.

4. Bring an audible aid, like a whistle

These may be mandatory by law in some states, but even if they’re not in your state, it’s great to have a simple whistle in case an accident happens.

And here’s a tip: make sure to keep the whistle on you, not stuffed away somewhere in your kayak. This will help if you get separated from your kayak and you can’t get to it.

5. Wear a life jacket

I’ll be honest, I’m not great at always wearing my life jacket, but it can literally save your life.

I recommend type 3 life jackets that are made for paddling in.

6. Avoid areas with heavy boat traffic

You never know if boaters can see you (or if they’re paying attention) so you want to try to avoid areas with heavy boat traffic such as channels, bridges and boat ramps.

7. Avoid excess weight

The more weight you have in your kayak, the more unstable it will be.

A good rule of thumb I like to use is to try to stay 100 pounds under what your kayak or paddleboard is rated for.

For instance, if your kayak is rated for 425 pounds, I would not go over 325 pounds of total weight in the kayak, including you and your gear.

8. Practice kayaking before going out too far

When I first got my kayak, I took it out to a local lake and paddled around to get comfortable in it.

What you don’t want to do is head straight for the ocean before you’re comfortable in your kayak.

Check out this article to learn how to get back in your kayak if you flip in deep water.

9. Stay in contact with someone when you’re out on the water

The problem with cell phones is that there’s often bad cell reception on the water, so I like to bring a marine radio on the water with me.

I use a Cobra HH 350.

10. Leave a float plan with someone

I recommend writing down where you’re going, when you’re going, and when you plan to be back and sharing it with someone so that if you’re not back when they expect you to be they can alert someone.

Conclusion

paddleboard safety tips

These tips don’t require a lot of extra work on your part but they could help save your life.

Do you have any questions about kayak safety?

Are there any safety tips that I missed?

Let me know in the comments below!

And please TAG or SHARE this article with your kayak and paddleboard buddies.

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KAY WOOLARD
3 months ago

Where is the list of safety equipment you need stored in a dry bag? I watched the video but can’t find it now. There was a written list that accompanied the video.

Mark Keller
1 year ago

You didn’t mention Personal Locator Beacons (PLB) in your kayak safety discussion. I fish alone in inshore waters that are typically well trafficked. What are your thoughts regarding PLB’s?

Michael Fitzgerald
1 year ago

Great job – several great ideas that are not required by law.

One thing required that was missed, if you are in territorial seas (Gulf or Atlantic) flairs are required.

James McKinney
1 year ago
James McKinney
1 year ago

Good video Tony. I have dumped myself out twice in three years. It is a good idea to practice reentry before you need to do it for real. There are a few good videos on YouTube on the subject. Luckily I was in shallow water both times but knowing how to get back in your Kayak if in deeper water is a good skill to know.

Scott Rispaud
1 year ago

Tony, can you tell me what kind of camera mount is on the L2 Fish?

Scott Rispaud
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Acevedo

Thanks Tony!

David Bush
1 year ago

Good video and other good ideas. If you have or purchase a handheld VHF radio, make sure it has the GPS DSC feature. When properly registered, in an emergency you can press a special button on the radio and your GPS location and name, etc, is immediately transmitted digitally to the Coast Guard as well as in-range VHF receivers. The CG VHF network covers virtually all coastal areas where you could go in a kayak or bay boat/skiff for that matter.

Robert Phillips
1 year ago

I developed unrelated sciatica so had to give up kayaking. I do miss it; I would frequently use it to get to a good wading spot then tether it to me. I wish that we had a portal to sell stuff, as I need to sell my kayak. The general public is not that attuned to fishing kayaks.

Robert Phillips
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Acevedo

Thank you. I now have an air boat, so water is no issue.

Scott Rispaud
1 year ago

Hi Robert, So sorry to hear you had to give up kayak fishing. There are a few reseller sites that are dedicated to kayak and paddle board resales. Many kayak fisherman will look there first. No matter where you post it, make your listing to include “Fishing Kayak” which can be helpful to draw the type of buyer you are looking for. Best of luck Robert and I hope this helps

Robert Phillips
1 year ago
Reply to  Scott Rispaud

Thank you so much, I appreciate it.

James McKinney
1 year ago

Hey Robert- go to Florida Used Fishing Kayaks and Gear For Sale on face book. Think it is a great place to list Kayak related items.

Robert Phillips
1 year ago
Reply to  James McKinney

Thank you. I have requested to join this group.

Scott Rispaud
1 year ago

Great points Tony and other good points made here. More so with paddle boards but pertains to both kayaks and paddle boards, tether yourself to the vessel with plenty of stretch cord or whatever you’d prefer. Should you fall from the vessel, a strong wind can carry it off as well as current, faster than you can swim. Should you get injured and can not get in/on your watercraft, you can at least remain buoyant with a vest and hold on to your craft.

If you go offshore like me, a divers plastic signaling mirror can be a lifesaver as it will reach a boat and/or a plane. Offshore, I carry a flare kit as well. Stay safe ya’ll.

Anonymous
1 year ago

Great points Tony and other good points made here. More so with paddle boards but pertains to both kayaks and paddle boards, tether yourself to the vessel with plenty of stretch cord or whatever you’d prefer. Should you fall from the vessel, a strong wind can carry it off as well as current, faster than you can swim. Should you get injured and can not get in/on you watercraft, you can at least remain buoyant with a vest and hold on to your craft.

If you go offshore like me, a divers plastic signaling mirror can be a lifesaver as it will reach a boat and/or a plane. Offshore, I carry a flare kit as well. Stay safe ya’ll.

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