Boating

Kayaking for Beginners

Kayaking is a sport that’s easy for beginners to learn. It’s simple enough for most beginners to catch on to fairly quickly. Within only a few hours, you can be enjoying your time paddling along. There are multiple kinds of kayaking, too, ranging from flat water kayaking to sea kayaking and even whitewater kayaking.

All the Information You Need to Know to Get Started with Kayaking

Whether you plan to go on a local kayaking trip or have an excursion planned to some of the most beautiful places in the world, such as kayak tours in Lagos, you’ll need to have basic kayaking skills before you start out on a kayaking adventure.

We’re launching a kayaking for beginners, these are the top ten tips boaters should have before they go out on the water.

1 – Sign Up for Lessons

First, it’s important to find a quality instructor and sign yourself up for kayaking lessons. You may not think that you need these. After all, how difficult can it be to paddle a kayak?

It isn’t rocket science, but you could find yourself stuck paddling in circles at first if you don’t have correct coaching. Lessons will help prevent you from losing time and help you with things like learning how to paddle and how to recover from tipping over.

The lessons aren’t even all that expensive. There are online search functions that can help you find locations near you, with all the details about lessons for beginners and what they include, how much they cost, and more.

2 – Dress for the Water Temperature, Not the Ambient Temperature

You may be tempted to light summer clothing because it’s a warm, sunny day. However, the temperature of the river or stream could be much colder.

Be sure that you select clothing that is designed for the water temperature, not the temperature of the air. If you fall in the water, you’ll be quite happy that you opted to wear a wet suit, kayaking gloves, and waterproof clothing, instead of lighter clothing.

3 – Select the Correct Boat

There are numerous types of kayaks on the market, with kayaks available for different ages, body types, and types of water.

You may opt to get started in recreational kayak that’s designed for the exact type of water that you’ll be going out on. If you’ll be paddling on a lake, you’ll likely want to think about renting a kayak that’s designed for flat water. Kayaks that you can sit on top of tend to be a really good option for beginners, as they’re quite easy to paddle and very stable.

4 – Never Kayak Without a Flotation Aid

It’s important to wear a flotation device no matter whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been kayaking for years.

You’ll read this in any type of beginners guide for kayakers. These buoyancy aids are similar to life jackets, but they provide you with much more movement around your neck and arms, so they’re better designed for kayaks. You never know when you could wind up having issues, even if you’re a strong swimmer.

Kayaking schools will always provide you with a buoyancy aid, but if you’re paddling on your own, we suggest that you supply your own or consider renting one from a local center.

5 – Sit Correctly in the Kayak

Taking the time to learn to sit correctly in a kayak will help make it much easier when you begin paddling. It’s true that your kayak may have a very comfortable backrest, but don’t use it as an excuse to slouch. Do your best to sit up as straight as possible, with your lower back and buttocks at 90 degree angles to each other.

There are foot pegs on both sides of your kayak. Your feet go here. Point your toes outward, with your heels pointed towards the center. Bend your knees up and out, and allow your thighs to make contact with the braces designed for them.

6 – Take Time to Hold the Paddle Correctly

It may seem simple, but it’s actually vitally important to learn to hold your paddle before going out on a kayak. An instructor will be happy to work with you to teach you correct paddle technique and form, so that you’re holding the paddle in both hands, at the correct angle, and putting it in the water correctly. Using the paddle correctly will help ensure that you can move through the water in the direction that you want to go, at the speed that you’d like to go.

7 – Always Pack Extra Clothing

This is another simple fact that’s easy to forget about. Always make sure to bring extra clothes, even if you don’t think you’ll get wet. You may find that you’re quite grateful for having those clothes stashed away.

8 – Learn How to Rescue Others, as Well as Yourself

The first rule is knowing how to care for yourself. You may not capsize on your first, or even second, trip out – but it’s still good to know what to do. Be sure to stay with your kayak if it capsizes. Take the time to go through several capsize drills with your teacher. They’ll help you to learn how to get back in your boat after things go wrong.

9 – People Are More Important Than Things

It can seem simple, but often when someone panics, it’s easy to forget to keep one another safe, and that people are most important. It really doesn’t matter if you lose a paddle, items off your boat, or the boat itself. Keep your paddlers safe, and remember that boats can be replaced. People, on the other hand, cannot.

10 – Don’t Kayak Alone

One of the most important things for new kayakers to learn is how important it is not to go out on their own. There’s never good weather or good timing to hit the water alone, no matter how experienced you are. Instead, make sure that you always go out with a buddy, so that you’ll have someone to help you out if you get into a tough situation.

Should I Winterize My New Boat? Yes, and This is Why

Well, it’s that time of year again in most parts of the country. Time to winterize your boats, so they are ready to go next spring when you go to fire her up. Today, we are going to cover some of the important reasons why you should not let your baby sit through the winter the way you last parked it, and why you should winterize your boat.

Photo Credit: boatus.com

Reasons to Winterize Your Boat

There are many reasons you should winterize your boat, below you will find what we think are the most important reasons.

Keeping it running well

I’m sure you know what happens when you let gas sit in anything with a motor for a long period of time. You think your weed-eater is hard to start? You don’t want the investment you put into your boat to be just as hard to start.

  1. Gas will turn sour and lose it’s “punch”. Old gas does not burn as good as fresh gas. In fact, the longer gas sits, the worse it is for your vehicle. You want to get your gas tank emptied and all your hoses drained. Not doing so, can lead to many issues including lowering the life of your motor. On top of that, gas can freeze which can expand and crack your hoses.
  2. Your carb! Gas sitting in your carburetor can run havoc on how your boat runs. Making sure it is clean when you put her down for the year will insure a quick start in the spring.
  3. There is no better time to replace old oil with new. It is important to drain your lower unit oil in the winter and replace with fresh in the spring. Didn’t use your boat much this year? It doesn’t matter, it is worth the small investment to just do it.
  4. By greasing all your electric connections and movable parts, it will protect them from the harshness of winter. You can find this grease at any Marine Supplies Store. You don’t want flaky connections while out on the water!

Keeping it looking good

It would be nice to have indoor winter storage for your boat, but most people do not have the space for this. This means that most boats are kept outdoors. And just like the summer sun, winter can prematurely age your boat in many ways.

  1. Between the sun, snow, rain and cold, your seats and carpet will pay a heavy price if not covered correctly. Keep your boat looking good and invest in a boat cover. Do not use a tarp, they are not made to breathe and will hold in wetness. Boat covers are made to let moisture out and allow everything to breathe. This will protect you against mold and sitting water.
  2. Besides covering your boat, using tire covers will allow you to get many more years out of your tires. You will notice many trailers have dry-rotted tires (cracks in them). This is caused from sitting more then being drove, by the sun and water. Making sure to use some tire shine, then covering them will make them last much longer.
  3. While speaking about your tires, another thing you may want to do is to have them either parked on a hard surface that drains, or jack them up off the ground.  Parking in grass or soft gravel will degrade your tires way faster than if you have them parked in a way that doesn’t allow standing water.
  4. Cleaning your boat now while winterizing will make sure everything looks good come spring.

The best time to fix and replace parts

Depending on how your store your boat, depends on how much you can do while it is down for the winter. If parked inside, you have all winter to tinker with it. But if you have it outside and covered, this would be a good time to do any maintenance that you have been putting off. Want to add some pole holders? This is the perfect time!

My go-to place is Marinewaze. Much cheaper than local and I save on taxes. You can check them out or give them a call at 1-800-201-1221 if you like.

The Bottom Line

No matter what your telling yourself, know that it is important to winterize your boat. Don’t be lazy and let it pass by, you will be kicking yourself in the butt next year when you’re broke down in the middle of the lake. If you have never had to ask another boater for a tow back to dock, consider yourself lucky. It is not only a buzz kill, but embarrassing!

Take care of your equipment now so you are the one being asked for help later.