Kayak Camping – Focus on what Matters Pt2
Safety Matters When it Comes to Kayak Camping:
In PART 1, we discussed how Size Matters, and how packing efficiently can make a huge difference in your trip. In this article, we are going to focus on why Safety Matters , how it applies to kayak camping, and the top three things you can do to get home safely.
When it comes to safety, I’m a fan of being direct and honest…So here it is. If you are taking yourself (and your family) on a “remote” camping trip, you must address certain safety issues, otherwise, you are gambling with your life and that of your friends and family.
Kayak Camping – The three main issues you need to address before leaving the house.
Flow Rate: Many new to river fishing and kayak camping don’t realize how quickly the flow rate of a river can change. I’ll give you an example. Some of my friends were fishing the 8 mile stretch below the Lake Whitney Dam. They had almost completed the trip when the water started to rise. In a matter of minutes, the water went from knee deep to over their waist. Thankfully they were able to quickly get back in the kayaks and ride the current back to the take out point.
Now let’s change the scenario up a little – same dramatic change in the flow rate, but they are camped on the river bank. They wouldn’t have been wearing life jackets and their kayaks would have been stowed and secured for the night. Even if they could have made it back to the kayaks and launched them safely, they would then need to navigate the river in the pitch black.
Knowing the current and expected flow rates can literally be the difference between everyone going home or that tragic phone call that no one wants to get. The three things I check every time are scheduled gate openings at the dam (if applicable), whether or not the area is prone to flash flooding and the weather.
Float Plan: This one is simple, so let’s not over analyze it. Let your loved ones know where you’re launching, taking out, and what time to expect a phone call from you.
Communication: Whether you’re kayaking with a buddy, or a group, being able to communicate over long distances can be important. On a recent 8 mile trip, our group of 10 (or so) got distracted with fishing. The group was spread out over a mile from the lead guy to the one bringing up the rear. A set of two-way radios would have let the lead guys know that they needed to slow the pace and wait for the group.
Cell phones in waterproof sleeves are another great way to communicate but are not as reliable due to spotty cell service in remote areas.
Those are the big three for staying safe on the water. What safety issues have you come across that you think others should know about? Leave your comments in the section below or on the social media post where you found the article.
Check back on Monday for Part 3.