1. Wear Your PFD
This is extremely important and could save your life. Companies like NRS, Stohlquist and MTI make kayak specific type II and type III PFDs that won’t hinder your paddling ability. Keep a whistle in your vest to alert nearby boaters or persons if you are in distress.
2. Know Your Limits
Become familiar with your kayak and abilities, especially if you’re new to the sport. Start out somewhere calm like a local pond, lake or marsh. Practice maneuvers that get you back on the kayak if you fall out (search YouTube for demonstrations.)
Be aware of the conditions and marine forecast. Avoid going out if heavy storms, high winds or rough waters are in the forecast. Visit NOAA’s website for marine reports and resources on your area.
4. Anchor Properly
Always anchor from the bow or stern of your kayak, especially in rough conditions. Don’t let waves or choppy seas hit the broadside of your kayak or you could flip over.
5. Avoid Hazardous Locations
People drown at San Luis Pass every year. The strong currents and changing tides can create unpredictable situations. Texas City and areas near the Ship Channel can also be dangerous. Keep an eye out passing tankers and their wakes. Turn the front of your kayak into any incoming wakes or waves.
6. Float Plan
Let others know when you plan to be on the water and when you will return. Keep your cell phone with you on the water in case you need to make an emergency call.