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Summer is here at last and many of us are planning day trips and holidays. While some of us are the happiest soaking up the sun on a beach or strolling through a new city, the more adventurous might be planning to dip their paddles into the water and go kayaking.
Whether you’re an experienced kayaker or trying it out for the first time, it is important to make sure you’re kayaking safely this summer and you are as prepared as possible. This way, you can ensure you get the maximum enjoyment from your time on the water and avoid getting injured in a kayaking accident.
Top tips for kayaking safely
Tim Blackwell is a specialist personal injury solicitor from our Southampton and Isle of Wight team and a keen water sports enthusiast. He specialises in helping people involved in boating accidents and has the following top tips for safe kayaking this summer:
- Wear a close-fitting buoyancy aid that is a snug fit and suitable for your body weight, at all times.
- Consider wearing a wetsuit – even if you are an experienced kayaker you might end up in the water. A helmet is also a good idea, especially if you are paddling in white water rivers.
- Check your kayak and paddle for seaworthiness. This includes checking for any damage, holes or leaks to make sure the kayak is watertight. It is a good idea to bring a small repair kit and carry a throw rope and whistle on board just in case.
- If you are hiring a kayak and equipment, choose a reputable company. Don’t assume that they have checked the equipment for you.
- Plan your route and tell others where you plan on going with an estimated time when you will be back on dry land, so someone can raise the alarm if necessary.
- Take your phone inside a waterproof case and bring a portable charger if necessary.
- Take the weather conditions into account, including the risk of cold-water shock or sunstroke. Windy or stormy weather can lead to dangerous kayaking conditions. Consider delaying your trip until conditions are better, and remember that weather conditions can change very fast, especially at sea.
- If you’re kayaking in tidal conditions, such as the sea or a river estuary, check tide times and plan accordingly.
- Check local shipping routes if you’re sea kayaking or heading out into a busy stretch of water and aim to avoid them wherever possible.
- Get kayaking training with a local club. Take a basic training course if you haven’t kayaked before or consider a refresher session if you’re more experienced but haven’t been out on the water for a while.
What to do if you are involved in a kayaking accident
Things don’t always go to plan – even when you follow all of the advice. If you or a loved one is involved in a kayaking accident that wasn’t your fault, Novum Law’s specialist team might be able to help on a ‘No Win, No Fee’ basis. To book a free, no-obligation chat with us, call 0800 884 0777, email email@example.com or complete our online enquiry form.