Kayaking and canoeing are a lot of fun, but like many water activities, they present potential risks. For example, there are a remarkable number of dangers associated with these activities, according to these statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard. That said, sometimes fun comes with risks. Today, let’s discuss some basic kayaking and canoeing safety tips that can help to keep your family safe on the water.

Kayaking and Canoeing is Safer with Friends

When it comes to kayaking and canoeing safety, you can never be too careful. Water safety, on the whole, is a serious concern. Naturally, we understand that people like to have a good time. However, it never hurts to be prepared.

If you are inexperienced, kayaking and canoeing are safer if you go with an experienced expert. It goes without saying, someone who understands the dangers of these sports can be a massive boon to your adventure downstream.

Beyond hiring a guide, it pays to go with friends. Just like the buddy system and swimming, kayaking and canoeing safety is much more effective with friends. Don’t hit the rapids alone. Having trusted friends along for the ride can be a massive step toward safety. Just be sure to stay within earshot of each other at all times.

Besides bringing a few buddies along, it is crucial to let others know where you’ll be hitting the waves and when. With a protective safety network, someone can alert the authorities in case you go missing.

Preparation and Planning Rule the Day

Before you head out for kayaking or canoeing, don’t forget to plan your day. This includes checking the weather conditions and a whole lot more. You should create a detailed plan and leave a copy with someone you trust. At the very least, this plan should include:

  • The names of anyone who will be joining you on your boat, including their contact information.
  • Planned arrival and exit points on the river, including the planned route. This can help authorities in their search should something go wrong.
  • When you intent to start and return.
  • A potential action plan if you are late to return. Be sure to include any important phone numbers that may be helpful.

Dress for Success

A crucial detail that many people miss is knowing how to dress. Now, above all, plan to dress for warmth. Assuming you will get wet, take the threat of hypothermia seriously. Pay attention to the water’s temperature and dress accordingly. According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s safety recommendations, if the water at your destination will be below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, you should to wear a wetsuit or dry suit.

Aside from this, many states have their own requirements for kayaking or canoeing safety. Be sure to check with your local authorities. For example, a whistle or a life jacket may be required, depending on where you live. Either way, both of these items should be used. They can help to alert others of danger and keep you afloat.

Picking a Swimsuit and Life Jacket for Babies

CPR and First Aid

Beyond basic kayaking skills, it never hurts to know basic health and safety procedures. For this reason, we recommend becoming CPR certified. When it comes to kayaking and canoeing, knowing how to perform proper CPR can save the life of a fellow adventurer.


Additionally, it is always recommended to carry a small first aid kit. In case of broken bones, scrapes or deep cuts. One of these can save the day.

Along with this advice, be sure to defer to expert guides and medical professionals. If you have any additional safety tips to share, please reach out to us on Facebook or Instagram.