Sea kayak safety in Jersey
Our local newspaper recently ran an article on sea kayaking in Jersey and why it’s a top sea kayaking destination in the UK.
A quick look at the number of cars with sea kayaks and sit-on-top kayaks on the roof bars reveals just how popular sea kayaking is in Jersey and the other Channel islands.
Our big 12m plus tides do add a bit of potential for excitement around our coastline and with so many people wanting to get out sea kayaking in Jersey every Summer sees a few incidents and close shaves that might be avoided with a little bit more knowledge and training.
Safety tips when sea kayaking in Jersey
Tips from the Jersey Evening Post article to make your sea kayak trip around the coast of Jersey (and elsewhere) a safer and enjoyable experience:
- Dress for immersion. Even on the hottest days a pair of shorts and a T-shirt may not be appropriate if you fall in , or it starts to feel cold offshore.
- Don’t go out on your own. If things start to go wrong there is no one around to help you.
- If you do decide to paddle alone make sure you know your limits and build in a good safety factor.
- Wear the right kit and make sure it fits you. A buoyancy aid is essential along with a waterproof top (cagoule). Make sure the kit fits otherwise it can make things a lot harder if you fall in.
- Carry communication and safety gear. The Coastguard recommends you carry a VHF marine radio, but not everyone has a VHF so take along a charged mobile phone I a waterproof bag. We have very good mobile coverage on Jersey.
- Make sure you know how to use your safety kit. It’s no use having all the safety gear if you have to sit in the water trying to read the instruction manual when you are in trouble.
- Tell someone what you are doing, where you are going and what time you expect to be back. Tell them who to call if they do not hear from you. Remember to let them know if your plans change otherwise you could have people out looking for you while you are sitting n the pub!
- Put your name an phone number on your kayak. If the coastguard find your kayak they can quickly know who it belongs to.
- Learn about the tides, currents and weather. Take care when it is an offshore wind.
- If paddling with others ensure everyone knows what the plan is. This ensures everyone knows what they are letting themselves in for! It also means others may spot trip planning errors.
- Remember, children will get tired and cold a lot quicker than adults.
- Know your limits.
- Sign up for a kayak course if you plan to start sea kayaking. You’ll learn faster and get more fun from paddlesport.