7 Most Important Skills For Sea Kayakers | Adventure Kayak Magazine | Rapid Media
A sea kayaker paddles into a large wave. Photo: Paul Villecourt

The key skills to stay safe and have fulfilling kayaking adventures

1. Learn how to make a bilge pump 

Having a method for emptying a flooded cockpit is essential. Some kayakers use foot-operated bilge pumps, while others use electric. Learn how to build your own here.

A sea kayak bilge pump


2. Stay visible on the water  

It is crucial to stay visible on the water. Sea kayaks are small compared to the various other crafts on the water, and for your safety and the safety of others, you need to be seen. From choosing your clothing and paddle color to thinking about accessories to make yourself more visible, especially in fog or grey conditions, this is an essential skill. Learn how to stay visible here. 



3. Know how to scout surf in your kayak 

If you choose to paddle in exposed coastal areas, you’ll have little choice but to launch or land your kayak in a surf zone. Breaking surf represents one of the greatest challenges to any paddler. It’s vitally important to choose the right beach for prevailing conditions, because surf is an incredibly dynamic and powerful environment that offers both amazing play possibilities and potentially devastating beat-downs. Read on to learn how to pull off this skill. 

A kayaker paddles into big ocean waves.


 4. Construct a tow line 

A kayak tow line is a vital tool to have in your rescue kit. It can make rescues easier, less complicated and faster. Leon Sommé of Body Boat Blade International shows you how to make your own. 

Tools to construct a sea kayak tow line

5. Pull off the sea kayak scramble self rescue 

 Knowing how to rescue yourself after a swim in the water is an important skill. This is especially true if you kayak alone or will be going on open-water trips or undertaking big crossings. The pros at the Ontario Sea Kayak Centre show you how to pull off the sea kayak scramble self rescue here. 

Sea kayak scramble self rescue


6. Understand marine VHF radio use 

If you are spending extended periods of time on the water in your sea kayak, you should know the fundamentals of communication by marine VHF radio. These radios are key for emergencies or to communicate with other watercraft, especially on large, open bodies of water. Learn how to use one properly here. 

A kayaker holds a marine vhf radio


7. How to re-enter and roll your kayak 

Have a swim on your sea kayaking trip? Learn how to rescue yourself by re-entering and rolling your kayak with these expert tips and tricks. 

A kayaker rescues themselves in the ocean.


Interested in finding a beautiful sea kayaking destination? Explore our Paddling Trip Guide. 

Discover the trip of a lifetime with the Rapid Media Paddling Trip Guide

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