One of the most popular summertime water sports there is, with literally millions of people all over the planet enjoying this activity every single year, there is nothing quite like slipping into your brand-new kayak and taking to open water. Setting out and enjoying everything that Mother Nature has to offer out on your local lakes or lazy rivers can be one of the most rewarding and relaxing experiences of your life, but you need to make sure that you understand the safest way to operate your tandem kayak to ensure that you get the most out of your trips.
And while safety is mission critical in any kayak, it is especially important when you are out in a tandem kayak. These double-seaters are almost always the perfect way to bring out people who have little to no experience kayaking under the watchful eye of a seasoned pro, and while most people rightfully assume that a tandem kayak is much safer than heading out all on your own, you still need to go over safety information and equipment with any and all new kayakers.
Proper safety training can make a world of difference out on the water
One of the most important things you’re going to want to focus on when taking someone out in your new tandem kayak is what to do in the event of your kayak capsizing, taking on water, or other emergency situations. You’ll need to specifically outline all of the different safety features and techniques that they should be able to leverage in case of emergency. Depending on whether or not you have a sit in or sit on top tandem kayak you’ll need to go through the exact process of releasing yourself from your harness in case of capsizing, or how to use your paddle while still harnessed in to right your little ship. This process does not have to take too terribly long, but you should run through the safety drills at least a handful of times in shallow and safe water before you head out on any kayak trip. This kind of practice will give them the confidence to stay calm in an emergency setting.
Always have the proper safety equipment on your person when kayaking
Though it is critically important that you have gone through all the necessary emergency training when using a tandem kayak, it is equally as important that you are wearing the latest and greatest in safety equipment. For many people, this means investing in a reliable and proven lifejacket system or flotation equipment that will keep you above water regardless of your swimming ability. You need to make sure that your lifejacket equipment fits snugly without constricting, and is able to keep your body above water all under its own power. The biggest problem that people have when they hit the water is that there safety gear is not perfectly sized and capable of keeping them 100% protected. This is not an area that you can skimp on.
You’ll also want to make sure that you’ve invested in the right kayaking helmet and probably some sort of reflective material to be more easily spotted should you get into trouble. There are at least 1000 other pieces of gear that you could invest and and rely on, ranging from full on watertight survival kits to inflatable or floatation paddles, but making sure you have the essential lifejacket and helmet system will make your tandem kayak trips so much more comfortable and safe. If you do not know which type of lifevest or what other accessories to get, you can read an article where we cover that here.
Here’s a great video guide by ExpertVillage titled: “Canoeing & Kayaking Lessons for Beginners : Proper Use of a Lifejacket:”
Also, there is one thing that every single person should do and this does not just apply to kayaking and that is to take some type of first-aid course. You will learn a lot of different things in these and some day you could save someones life thanks to a course like that. I personally have taken the EFR (Emergency First Response) course, since I’m a big fan of diving, but I can recommend it for anyone who is even remotely into water sports, or well, anything. Read more about that here: http://www.padi.com/scuba/padi-courses/diver-level-courses/view-all-padi-courses/emergency-first-response/