Kayakers Check List;
Enjoy Your Day Without Fear of Misfortune!
Dieing to go fishing or a kayak trip to die for are but expressions not to really live by. Proper preparedness and tactics that will save you grief and possibly your life if heeded too can make all the difference; it only takes a lapse of good judgment for about 2 seconds to have a lasting impact on possibly, the rest of your life.
- Proper layering for cold water. Dress for water temperature not air temperature.
- PFD. Not in the milk crate, but on your body! They seem to work great when your actually wear em. Retroflective tape should be stuck to you PFD. A Type IV throws able cushion, good to sit on. good to throw to someone in trouble.
- A Knife. Preferable with easy reach for quick use. I like one on my PFD.
- Sound producing device, Whistle, Air horn or both. Attach whistle to PFD w/ a small lanyard.
- Paddle leash.
- A stern light for dark conditions. A flag attached to you light pole during the day. For vessels the size of most kayaks, I believe an all around white light is mandatory 30 minutes before sunset to sunrise. A flashlight will meet the requirement.
- Flash light and spare Batteries.
- Rope. You just never know when you will need it. I keep two 20' pieces of 1/2 " double braided nylon inside my forward hatch.
- Grear leashes. The motto is "leash it or lose it"
- Sail or float plan, do not leave home without it! Make a plan of where you will be and what time you will be home and to stick to it. Hang it on the fridge or give a copy to your neighbor, friend/family member.
- VHF Radio or cell phone. Channel 16 is for Hailing and distress frequency only.
Use the buddy system. Especially for newbie’s and in unfamiliar waters.
It may seem like a lot of stuff, but you will be glad you have it when it is in need, as my Boy Scout days come to mind; Be Prepared! And if your looking to be really, really safe, because you can’t ever be to safe try the checklist from the USCG Auxiliary ( which probably provides a good start to the required stuff.
USCG Vessel Safety Check Checklist for non-powered boats:
- Some states may require numbering: NOT FLORIDA but May where you live: The boats registration numbers visible to each side of the forward half of the boat. Characters must be plain vertical block style, not less than 3 inches high, and in a color contrasting with the background. A space or hyphen must separate the letters from the numbers. Place state validation tax sticker according to state policy.
- Some states may require Registration/Documentation: Registration or documentation papers must be on board and available. Documentation numbers must be permanently marked on a visible part of the interior structure. The documented boats name and haling port must be displayed on the exterior hull in letters not less than 4 inches in height.
- One Personal Floatation Devices for each POB: acceptable PFD's (also known as Life Jackets) must be Coast Guard approved and in good serviceable condition. A wearable PFD of suitable size is required for each person on the boat. Children must have a properly fitted PFD designed for children. Wearable PFD's shall be "readily accessible". Boats 16 feet or longer must also have one Type IV (throw able) device, which shall be "immediately available". PFD's shall NOT be stored in unopened plastic packaging. For personal watercraft riders, the PFD must be worn. An impact rating is also recommended but not required. 16 ft or greater requires one Type IV.
- Visual Distress Signals: recreational boast 16 feet and over used on coastal waters or the Great Lakes are required to carry a minimum of three-day and three Coast Guard approved night pyrotechnic devices, one day non-pyrotechnic device (flag), and one night non-pyrotechnic device (automated SOS light), or a combination of a) and b). Recreational boats less than 16 ft on coastal waters or the Great Lakes need only carry night visual distress signals when operating from sunset to sunrise. It is recommended but not required that boats operating on inland waters should have some means of making a suitable day and night distress signal. The number and type of signals is best judged by considering conditions under which the boat will be operating. The VSC program requires small flares for all PWC's plus, regardless of size or propulsion; all vessels shall have a means of making distress signal or visually identifying themselves (i.e. flashlight etc.