Dress for immersion
Sounds pretty basic but even with the great sunny weather we are having you should still dress for immersion.
It may be wonderfully warm but take an unexpected dip and the water can be cold. Even in high summer in Jersey the sea temperature rarely gets above 18 degrees when kayaking around our superb coastline.
The key thing is the initial shock of falling in. This can literally take your breath away.
Even if you have practised capsize and rescue techniques, wearing a few bits of paddle gear makes a difference. If you fail on the first attempt your strength is going to be eaten away by the cold water.
Give yourself more time. Wear suitable paddle clothing for the water temperature. In Jersey, this can mean wearing a wetsuit in early Summer and a cagoule.
April is definitely not the time to be out paddling in shorts and T shirts as seen a couple days ago.
It often feels cooler offshore and the damp conditions will cool you down quickly. Add a bit of wind and the cooling effect (wind chill) is multiplied. Our current air temperatures of 15 degrees coupled with a 15 knot wind speed produces a wind chill making it feel like 10 degrees.
If you get too warm cooling down is easy, just take something off, or take a dip. It’s much harder to warm up if you do not have extra clothing with you. The very least should be a paddle jacket or cagoule. Pop a hat in your kit bag to give you extra warmth in case you do fall in. Remember to wear something on your feet. Not only will this provide warmth but it will also protect you from sharp objects when walking up beaches.