Thursday, June 3, 2010


Outline of a clinic at WMCKA 2010 kayak symposium:

  1. What is Safety?:
    1. "Getting out is optional, coming back mandatory!"
    2. #1 killer of sea kayakers = exposure to elements: cold, lightning, heat
    3. Avoid collision with other vessels, people, and property
  2. Before paddling:
    1. Body:
      1. General conditioning and flexibility
      2. Safe application of paddling skills
      3. Know your personal limits—endurance, power, medical conditions
      4. Stretching for warm-up and cool-down
    2. Head/Knowledge:
      1. Skills—technique, group dynamics, navigation, rules of the road, signaling, and rescue
      2. Risk assessment/Prevention—people, equipment, environment
      3. Practice what you know—intentions mediate between knowledge and action
      4. Leave a Float Plan behind (
    3. Equipment:
      1. Serviceable functional condition
      2. Match for environmental challenges at hand
      3. Know what to bring or leave behind—use a checklist (
  3. On the Water:
    1. Flotation:
      1. Boat—bulkheads/hatches (spare) or float bags, sprayskirt, sea sock, sea wings, pod cockpits, bailing device (pump)
      2. Self—PFD, paddle float, quick-self-inflate deck bag
    2. Propulsion: Paddle with spare and paddle leash, sail, diver's fins
    3. Fuel (for body): food, snacks, water, warm drink or soup
    4. Clothing:
      1. Temperature—dress relative to potential and consequences of immersion (wet/drysuit, layers, head/neck protection, cotton bad in cold climates but great when it's hot, gloves/pogies), storm cag
      2. Protection—PDF (body), helmet (head) , footwear (feet), gloves (hands), sun protection (skin)
    5. Communication: learn paddle/hand signals, VHF radio, whistle/fog horn, other signaling devices (mirror, handheld and aerial lights/flares, smoke, dye)
    6. Navigation: compass, timer, GPS, pre-marked charts, navigational lights, notebook, kamal
    7. Rescue: tow rope, perimeter lines, VHF radio, signaling devices (light, smoke), paddle float, sea anchor/drogue, first aid, repair kit, bail-out survival bag, bright clothing, reflective tape
  4. After the Paddle:
    1. Shelter/Fire
    2. Food/Water
    3. Means of summoning help or getting out on your own
    4. First aid kit/Boat repair kit
    5. Stretch and warm down to prevent injury
  5. Discussion: "What is the MOST important article of safety equipment?"
Comments required!

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