Safety at Sea

5 Tips for the Sea Kayaker Before You Go Out

Whether it is extreme or serene, kayaking is a much more enjoyable adventure when the newcomer to the high seas has gained a certain degree of knowledge and experience.

Sea KayakHere are five tips for the complete beginner to sea kayaking:

1 – Basics

First-time sea kayaking paddlers can experience a variety of mishaps on the initial outing if the standard techniques aren’t learnt, including:

  • Use the proper grip for holding the paddle. A paddle should be held with a light grip to give better control of movement while maintaining a good level of flexibility. Plus, a light grip means less chance of straining the muscles.
  • Move a paddle with a deep, rhythmic, and a swift forward motion to get the kayak moving.
  • Use a sweeping stroke to help with maneuvering and correcting the course. A sweep stroke is much wider compared to the forward and reverse strokes.
  • Paddle at a pace and range that is comfortable for the specific kayakers comfort and enjoyment. Sticking to a personal style makes it easier to move naturally through the sea.
  • Paddling with the upper body held stable. By holding the proper center of gravity there is less chance of the kayak tipping and this ensures the steering action is significantly easier.
  • Practice the proper paddling techniques on the beach or similar shore-based area to get a feel of how to handle the paddles. Move on to shallow waters and get fully used to the proper movement until muscle memory is achieved.

2 – Companion

A solo kayaking adventure for the complete beginner is rarely a good idea. Paddling on the open sea can be quite unpredictable, so going with companions is certain to mean a safer and more enjoyable adventure. Go out with 2-3 other kayakers when first starting out to get a better appreciation of the entire experience. A kayaking adventure can experience several different situations which are much easier to handle when in a group environment.

3 – Lessons

Beginner sea kayakers should start their adventures by learning the basic skills before setting off on to the sea. Basic skills include maneuvering capabilities to paddling strokes. Without the basic knowledge, a paddler can soon find themselves in difficulty. Start with the simple lessons and slowly progress on the path to becoming a professional paddler.

4 – Map

While a mobile phone and GPS can be useful tools while out paddling they do have certain limitations such as reception signal and battery life. For these reasons it can also benefit to have the ability to use a compass and read a nautical chart.

5 – Route and weather

Plan a paddling route that is familiar. Use sheltered areas or bays to get more protection from choppy waters and strong winds. This is certain to benefit the beginner when first starting out. Get a regular update of the weather forecast to determine the likely conditions out at sea. But, when paddling a kayak in the open sea it is always wise to expect a certain degree of waves and wind even on days that appear calm. Avoid kayaking in difficult conditions with fog a real issue – sight of land is easily lost with low-visibility.

Safety at Sea

11 Safety Tips to Using Inflatable Rafts, Canoes & Kayaks

Inflatable boats such as white water rafts, canoes, kayaks, etc. are extensively available and made water sports a mainstream activity.

Inflatable Kayak for White Water RaftingWhile a reliable and high-quality boat can be helpful it is also critical to practice safety and take precautionary measures with an inflatable to avoid accidents. Mishaps at sea are easily caused by ill-preparedness, ignorance, and negligence.

Here are eleven tips for staying safe while in control of the inflatable boat:

1 – Alert skipper

Similar to road vehicles, avoid operating the inflatable when under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or at times of illness. Controlling the boat on rough waters can require an alert and quick mind so make sure the skipper is always in a position to instantly make the proper handling decision.

2 – Boat safety course

A practical method to enhance the boating knowledge and navigation skills is to complete a boat safety course. An in-class or online course can teach everything there is to know about the safety operation of the boat.

3 – Boat skills

Be familiar with the all-round handling skills of the inflatable before venturing out on the water. Get experienced before taking charge of the inflatable and rely on those with experience or use less challenging and shallow water to get a full appreciation of using the boat.

4 – Life jackets

To comply with local rules and regulations make sure a life jacket is made available for each person on board the inflatable. Plus, the life jackets should be at the correct size (adult or child) to match those on the boat.

5 – Outboard motor

Give the outboard motor a test and visual inspection before setting off to ensure it is fully operational. Also, ensure there is enough fuel (with some spare) to complete the intended trip.

6 – Safety equipment

Make sure the inflatable boat is outfitted with the essential safety equipment before leaving port. Compile a checklist of safety equipment that can be quickly checked before setting off. Essential safety equipment includes:

  • Emergency repair kit
  • First aid kit
  • Flares
  • Flashlight
  • Handheld radio
  • Life jackets
  • Maps
  • Mobile phone
  • Personal floatation device

7 – Seated position

Passengers should stay in a seated position while the inflatable is moving to increase safety and avoid falling overboard.

8 – Shore party

Let a nominated person know the intended itinerary, how long you expect to be out, and personal details of those on-board.

9 – Swimmers

Avoid unsafe areas such as those that attract swimmers or other water sport activities. If it is necessary to pass through an area with swimmers make sure to keep a watchful eye on the water to avoid any mishaps.

10 – Taking passengers

A backup skipper or at least someone with knowledge of operating an inflatable is certain to benefit when passengers are on board. A nominated person should be available to take control of the boat in the event something happens to the skipper.

11 – Water regulations

Make sure to have a practical understanding of the local water regulations for the body of water that you intend on using. Check with the local authorities if you aren’t entirely sure of what is involved.

Safety at Sea

5 Basic Boating Safety Tips for Dogs

Dogs and water can be fun and enjoyable for some, but not all dogs like being out on a boat or kayak.

Dogs and Boats

Dogs have different characters and the type and size of vessel can have a significant impact. A large vessel like a ferry ride shouldn’t be an issue for most dogs unless the pet is highly nervous. But, a small vessel might not be so attractive for a dog.

Below are five safety tips for taking a dog in the water:


Dogs that are first-time boaters might be quite fearful of the motion of the floor at the start. To help minimize the issues with a potentially rocking boat make sure to prepare the dog before taking them on board. Let the dog get used to the motorboat, sailboat or kayak when ashore to increase the chance of being more comfortable out on the water. After a short time most dogs will start to get accustomed to the motion and balance that comes with being in the water.


A period of desensitizing is the best course of action to get the dog used to live on a small boat, dinghy, or kayak. Sit in the boat with the dog and slowly rock the boat from side to side to give it some motion. Repeat this process of several days to ensure the dog is fully comfortable on board before heading out to sea. Avoid forcing the dog to stay in the boat, but give positive reassurance and build up a trusted relationship that confirms the boat is a safe environment.

  • Any dog on board a boat should know the basic commands like stay, sit, down, etc.
  • Create a specific space on or in the boat for the dog to use and apply a non-slip pad. Let the dog explore all areas of the boat.
  • Show the dog the easiest ways to get in and out of the vessels and lead the dog to the best places to lie or sit in comfort.
  • Make certain a dog is fully comfortable before heading out. A sudden shift in weight can cause issues with small boats or kayaks, so ensure the dog is able to remain stable on board.


Similar to people it is very easy for dogs to start to get quite dehydrated when left outside in hot temperatures. Give suitable access to fresh, cool water to avoid issues with thirst and also provide land breaks if possible to let the dog escape and relieve themselves.

  • Puppy pads, litter box or similar might be needed if land breaks aren’t a practical option.
  • Pack enough fresh water to ensure the dog is kept hydrated for the duration of the time on the water. On the hotter days, an increase in fluid intake is highly likely.
  • Plus, consider taking along the pet’s health records in the event these are needed should an emergency arise.

Life Jacket

Even the most competent dog breeds (Portuguese water dogs, Golden Retrievers, etc.) can experience issue in open waters and benefit from the safety of a life jacket. Water current and weather can easily change and it is better to have the safety of a life jacket in place. Life jackets come in a variety of sizes to ensure all breeds are fully protected. A life jacket is not only effective at keeping the dog afloat should it fall overboard, but will also make it easier to grad compared to only having a collar.


Apply a sunscreen to a dog or provide enough shade is certain to benefit when out on the water. A sunscreen with SPF of 15 or more is practical for applying to the belly, ears (avoiding the ear canal), and nose. Ask the vets to determine the safest brand to use for pets. Many dogs have a tendency to lick it off so you want to avoid issues that could lead to severe stomach upset. A boat hull in fiberglass or aluminum can easily heat up once exposed directly to the sun. This heat is then easily absorbed by the paw pads, so make sure to have a cool or shaded area for the dogs to get relief from the heat.

Small Boats & Paddle Crafts

Kayak Hoist: Canoe & Kayak Ceiling Hoists

Easy-to-use, safe, and reliable the kayak hoist systems are designed with a thick, reliable rope, solid engineering, and safety-catch to support paddling machines up to 150-pounds.

Versatile in use, the kayak ceiling hoist is available in multiple configurations, with models designed to hold a 1-person kayak, raft or canoe up to a maximum weight limit of 50-pound, to those designed to hold 2-person or multiple canoes, and accepting a maximum weight limit in the region of 300-pounds.

Hoist Features

Ceiling mounted, the garage hoist system, with its adjustable straps (guarantees a raft, canoe or kayak is kept in position), safety release latch (puts a stop to accidental release), and rubber-coated hooks (protects from abrasions or scuffs) is built to hold a Old Town, Ocean, Perception, or Native Watercraft at a height of approx 12-foot above floor level.

  • Supports a 50, 100, 125 or 150-lbs weight limit
  • Protects kayaks from scratches via the rubber coated hooks
  • Smooth operating pulley and latch system
  • Avoids un-wanted release with reliable safety mechanism
  • Thick rope for long-term use
  • Accepts all-types of paddling machines (canoe, kayaks, dinghies and rafts)

Easy for a single person to control, the kayak hoist system is constructed with a smooth rope or pulley system to lift or lower a raft in a solid, flat position via use of its two ropes; one attached to each end of the machine, and safely positions a kayak at ceiling height in minutes.

Perfect to mount on either open rafters or finished ceiling, the kayak storage systems are supplied with all assembly hardware (lift, pulleys, screws, rope, etc) for ease in positioning in an unobstructed space.

Push-button Hoists and Motorized Pulleys

Raise or lower a kayak, canoe or raft with a simple-to-operate electric hoist system – lifting a much higher load limit, often in the region of 225 – 250-pounds. Push-button control, the electric hoists operate via a 110-volt outlet, flex-corded hand control, and reliable ¾-HP motor – An efficient solution to eliminate a lot of the clutter that builds up in a garage space – and a great choice if wishing to avoid the strain of man-handling a paddling machine into position.

Other Well-Situated Systems

Racor, Harken Hoister, BAC Industries, and ProSource design and manufacture a series of kayak hoist pulley system to lift a raft – up to 17-ft 9” – to a safe, and secure ceiling height.

1- Storage Rack

A free-standing, super portable, and lightweight solution for organizing multiple canoes, kayaks, surfboards, or similar sports equipment – A floor-based rack is designed to hold paddling machines up to 30-inch in width, up to 20-foot in length, and up to 75-pound in weight.

2 – Wall Cradle

Load almost all kayak models – up to a 100-pounds in weight and 15-inch in depth – onto a steel constructed wall cradle for a safe, reliable hold. Cradles are foam padded to guarantee scratch-free protection of a paddling machine.

3 – Boat Hanger

A versatile solution to hang up to 3 kayaks in a safe, horizontal position – easily adaptable, the boat hangers come with multiple webbing loops which attach to the ceiling for a safe anchoring position.

Versatile in use, the multi-use kayak hoists offer the benefit of lifting or lowering a wide variety of garden or household objects often confined to a workshop or garage, such as deck furniture, adult-size bicycles, sports apparatus, ladders, dock boxes, garden tools, etc.

Also, in order to arrange sufficient boat insurance coverage it is often a requirement to store or secure a small craft against theft or vandalism – or at least remove all equipment if left out in the open – kayak storage systems of this nature will help to comply with these requirements.

All in all, a simple-to-use kayak hoist offers a space-saving solution to lift or lower kayaking equipment – up to 150-lbs – or similar other garage clutter to get back a lot more lost floor space.