As a beginner kayaker, the first thing you need to think about is safety.
And that’s why many kayakers are curious to know the answer to this frequently asked question Do you need to know how to swim in order to kayak?
The answer is not necessarily, but it depends on the type of kayaking you plan on doing. If you are just going to be paddling around casually on relatively calm waters, then swimming skills may not be as important.
However, if you are whitewater kayaking or ocean kayaking, then knowing how to swim could save your life.
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Why Do You Need To Know How To Swim To Kayak?
Because when you kayak whitewater or in the ocean, if you tip over and get separated from your boat, it’s a real problem.
But if you know how to swim, the solution is simple – co up and paddle yourself back to your kayak.
so if there’s a chance that you will be in danger of falling out of your kayak and getting separated from it, then learning how to swim is important.
So, if you plan on doing any type of kayaking in moving water, whether it’s whitewater or ocean waves, then knowing how to swim is strongly recommended.
Different Types Of Kayaking :
Different types of kayaking require different safety measures to stay safe.
These are the different types of kayaking
- Calm Water Paddling
- Ocean Kayaking
- Lake Kayaking
This includes rivers with rapids, waves, or white water.
Calm Water Paddling:
Paddling on still lakes or flat rivers.
This includes paddling in the ocean or lakes that have larger waves than rivers
These are calm water kayak trips meant to be done on large flat surfaces of water like a lake, pond, sea, etc.
So learning how to swim is only necessary when you plan on doing whitewater kayaking or ocean kayaking because anything else can be done in relatively calm waters.
But it’s always important to choose the right type of kayaking.
How Do You Choose The Right Kayaking Type For You?
As a beginner, it might be difficult to know which type of kayaking you should start off with.
It’s usually best to stick with the category in which you feel most comfortable and try to go from there.
For example, if you are not very confident in your swimming skills, then starting out on flat water might be better since the water is calm and stable.
If being in moving water feels uncomfortable, but still want to do some whitewater or ocean kayaking, joining a club will help give guidance on how to practice safely until you become more experienced.
5-Tips For Staying Safe As A Beginner Kayaker:
Here are some of the important tips that will really help stay safe while kayaking.
1. Wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) at all times.
This is important because if you get separated from your kayak it will help keep you afloat and away from dangerous water currents or obstacles that might injure you.
2. Look out for any potential dangers such as rocks, trees, low-hanging branches, etc.
3. Always let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return home.
4. Always be prepared for the weather conditions
Getting caught in strong winds or rain can make kayaking impossible so always check the forecast before heading out on the water
6. be aware of how to properly exit your boat if needed
If the worst happens and you tip over in your kayak, make sure you know how to exit your kayak quickly. You want to try and get back into it as soon as possible so that people can help assist if needed.
5 Reasons Why Do You Need to Know How to Swim to Kayak
1. No need to worry about falling out of your kayak and drowning!
2. Knowing how to swim can help you get back into the boat safely without fear of drowning.
3. Knowing how to swim can also give you more confidence in moving water so it feels less scary and more enjoyable!
4. As stated above, swimming skills are an important part of ocean kayaking where floating out in the ocean after tipping over could be a potentially dangerous situation.
5. Lastly, getting tired from paddling all day? Swimming to shore instead of trying to paddle isn’t as hard as it seems, and could save energy!
Thus, there is always a great benefit for learning how to swim – just do it before you get on the water!
5-Reasons Why You Might Not Need To Know How To Swim When kayaking:
- If your plan of kayaking is only around calm waters, then swimming skills are not necessary.
- If you never go out past where large waves happen, there also isn’t a need for swimming skills.
- Some types of kayaks such as inflatable kayaks and sit-on-top kayaks don’t require padding so there’s no fear of falling out or getting separated from your boat.
- You can always use swimming fins when in deep waters if needed so that you can kick your way back up the surface and easily get back in your kayak so you won’t need to worry about getting tired!
- If you are with someone experienced who has proper swimming skills, they can also help get back into the boat if needed.
What Are The Dangers While Kayaking:
There are several dangers kayakers face when on the water. Some of these dangers include:
Cold Water Accidents
Because the water is cold and unforgiving, drowning if you get separated from your boat quickly becomes a problem.
Shallow Water Blackout
If you ever tip over in shallow waters where your head goes underwater, the chances of blacking out increase due to lack of oxygen intake. This can be prevented by wearing a lifejacket that prevents your head from going underwater while staying buoyant enough to keep you afloat until help arrives.
As stated above, because the water is cold and unforgiving, hypothermia can set in quickly which will make swimming very difficult or impossible. This risk can be prevented by wearing a lifejacket so you don’t sink if you fall out of your kayak.
Other Water Accidents
Water obstacles such as rocks, debris, and other things can lead to accidents that cause injury or risk drowning.
You can avoid any water danger by always staying close to shore where it’s shallow and easier to get back into your boat in case of an accident.
And as long as you choose the right types of kayaking, pick a safe area with calmer waters, stay aware of your surroundings at all times, wear the proper safety equipment, go with someone who has enough experience for both people involved in case anything does happen – then you should be fine!
Never-Ending Debate: Should I Learn How To Swim?
The answer is not necessarily, but it depends on what type of kayaking you are doing. If you are just going to be paddling around casually then learning how to swim may not be that important.
However, if you are kayaking whitewater or in waters where the current can pull you away from shore or into dangerous obstacles, then knowing how to swim is important.
So, like most things in kayaking the answer doesn’t necessarily have to do with learning how to swim per se but rather what type of water you will be on. So if you are looking for fun and excitement without having to worry about getting pulled out into deep open sea waters where strong currents can take you away, then find a calm lake or stream that has calmer waters.
And always wear your life jacket (PFD) when on the water! If it makes you feel more comfortable then know some basic safety skills such as how to roll over your kayak with your PFD on so that if anything happens, you know exactly what action to take.
Knowing how to swim is a good idea when you kayak, but it depends on what type of water do you plan ongoing. To be safe from drowning and other accidents, wear your life jacket at all times while on the water because knowing some basic safety skills such as how to roll over your kayak with the life jacket might save your life!
So make sure you know what types of waters there are beforehand, choose an open body of water that has calmer waters in case anything happens, and always go with someone who has enough experience for both people involved in case anything does happen.
So, we hope that now you are well aware of about the reasons of why do you need to know how to swim to kayak.
Is it safe to kayak without knowing how to swim?
As long as you pick a safe area with calmer waters, stay aware of your surroundings at all times, wear the proper safety equipment, and go with someone who has enough experience for both people involved in case anything does happen – then you should be fine!
What happens if I need to get out of my kayak and it’s in deep, open waters?
If you fall out of your kayak into deep, open waters then it can be difficult to get back into your boat. If the water is shallow then you should try approaching your kayak from behind and climbing onto it by pulling yourself up on the rear of the cockpit. But if the water is too deep for this method, then you need to learn how to roll over your kayak.
Do you even need a life jacket if you know how to swim?
You should always wear your PFD (life jacket) when on the water because if anything happens, it’s better to be prepared by knowing what action to take.