Safety in the Wind

If you’re headed out kayak fishing and there might be a chance of wind, here is a good way to stay safe and be prepared.

It’s common to get out on the water in good weather and no wind and then find later in the day the wind has picked up.  This is something you want to be prepared for.  Wind is one thing that will control you and your boat.  You won’t be able to control it.  Wind is a powerful thing that can be disastrous.  Here are some important tips and essential gear to take with you.

  • First tell someone where you are going and when you should be back.
  • Personal Floatation Device or PFD is required by law to be on your kayak, but you really should be wearing it.  It won’t do you any good if it is inside your kayak and your kayak blows away.

Extrasport Kayak Fishing PFD

  • These next two items of gear should be on or in (a pocket of) your PFD:
  • VHF Marine Transceiver/Radio that is waterproof and used to call for help.  Channel 16 or channel 9 will put you in direct contact with the Coast Guard.  If you are on a lake, ask the management of the lake what channel they monitor.  At least tell them you will be on the water.
  • Safety Whistle – Use a whistle that is made for water, like this Scotty whistle:  Scotty Safety Whistle
  • Paddle Leash – You can’t paddle your kayak without a paddle.  This is a very important item on your kayak as it is your motor (unless you are in a Hobie Kayak with pedals).  There are a couple of very good leashes that are made for paddles.
  • Seairsport has a flex coil leash that works on a 1 or 2 piece paddle.  It is made with a very strong type of Velcro strap that is used on surfboard leashes.   Scotty has a Safety/Paddle Leash that is also a flex coil leash that works on a two-piece paddle only.  It uses a double O-Ring that slides onto the shaft of the paddle.

Seairsport Paddle Leash

Scoty Safety Leash

  • Surfboard Leash – Use one that is at least 6′ long.  You can attach one end (the end that would go to the surfboard) to a pad eye at the front of your kayak and put the other on your ankle.  This way if you fall off your kayak, it won’t get blown away from you.  You can also use it as a bow line.   You need to stay with your kayak.  There have been people lost while paddling in the wind, and the rescuers always find the kayak, but don’t always find the paddlers.  You can wrap the end of the surfboard leash (that will go around your ankle) around a rod holder or fishfinder unit when you are not using it.  But, it is very important to have it already rigged up when you start fishing or paddling.  Here are some photos of how I do this:

Leash clipped to the kayak with a carabiner and pad eye

Leash on the kayak

Leash wrapped around fishfinder base

Leash shown on ankle

  • Go out and enjoy yourself, but remember to think of your safety when kayaking alone or with others and wear your PFD.
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