If you have decided to go kayaking on Siesta Key or in Sarasota Bay, especially as a novice paddler, you want to have a safe and fun experience. To do this, you’ll want to be prepared and understand how to kayak safely. But part of learning how to kayak properly, is learning what NOT to do when planning a day on the water. Let’s examine some of the most prevalent scenarios that could potentially ruin your day of paddling.

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What NOT to Do When Kayaking

  • Don’t Ignore the Weather Forecast: Experiencing bad weather while in a kayak is more than uncomfortable and unpleasant – it could be dangerous. Florida weather can be unpredictable, but radar will show you if anything is expected within the time frame of your trip. If storms are expected in a few hours – even if the sun is out when you leave – it may be best to postpone your trip or stay close to your launch point. Keep an eye on the skies and head home if storm clouds are gathering. You should also check to see if there are any strong currents expected – and inexperienced kayakers are advised not to attempt launching on very windy days. Important to note: Even if there is no inclement weather, paddlers need to be aware that the sunshine can be dangerous as well. Cover up, wear a hat and sunglasses, and stay hydrated to avoid heat exhaustion or dehydration. During the summer, plan to leave early in the morning and return by midday.
  • Don’t Go it Alone: Like any outdoor activity, it is always best to go with a friend. Kayaking is generally a safe and enjoyable activity – but emergencies can occur.  Kayaking solo can be perilous for beginner paddlers who may get stuck, flip their boat, get lost, or experience an injury. If you are on the water alone and end up in a situation requiring assistance, the situation can become serious very quickly. The best strategy is to go out with an experienced kayaker until you are familiar with the sport. Guided tours are an excellent way to go exploring safely – and kayak tours are readily available in the Siesta Key area. Going kayaking with other people is not only safer but also a great way to meet like-minded peers and learn from more experienced kayakers.
  • Don’t Be Too Ambitious: If you are not used to kayaking, you may be prone to thinking that you can safely and comfortably paddle all day. However, novice paddlers have no way of knowing how they will feel after an hour of repetitive motion – or how tiring paddling against a current can be. Like any sport or activity, it is best to start with a short, easy route and work your way into longer excursions. It is easy to get lost in the beauty surrounding you in a kayak – always remain cognizant that as far as you go, you have to return.
  • Don’t Drink Alcohol: For many people, a day on Siesta Key involves a few drinks- but for many reasons, it is best to wait to get off the water to crack open a cold one. Alcohol dehydrates the body, so drinking during physical activity is ill-advised. Being on the water always has some element of danger, so you will want your senses as sharp as possible. Being under the influence while kayaking is not only unsafe, but it is illegal in Florida – punishable with fines or imprisonment. Drink plenty of water when paddling and save your drinks for later.
  • Don’t Launch Without First Aid Basics: Bringing the right equipment is vital to kayaking safely. If you are going out on a professional guided tour, your kayaking guide will likely have a first aid kit. However, if you are paddling alone or without an experienced paddler, you should have your own first aid kit to deal with blisters, sunburn, insect bites, or wounds from stepping on sharp objects. Although water is typically calm in this area, you should always be prepared for a potential injury or emergency – so make sure you have a fully charged phone in your dry bag.

Kayak with Ride and Paddle

If you are visiting Siesta Key – or if you are a Sarasota resident – and you want to try kayaking, call Ride and Paddle. We offer guided tours and have experts onsite for any questions you may have.

As one of the area’s most trusted kayak rental companies, we know you will love paddling as much as we do – and we are committed to making sure your experience is as safe and enjoyable as possible.