Kayaking is a fun and healthy activity that can be enjoyed by the whole family. But just as rewarding and enjoyable as it can be, it can also be stressful and not to mention dangerous if you don’t take certain precautions. If you want to enjoy family time on the water, here are five tips for a perfect kayaking trip with the kids.
Before you hit the water, the kids should be accustomed to the kayak, know paddling movements, and understand what to do in the event of a capsize. As silly as it sounds, just sitting in the kayak in your garden and practicing emergency procedures is a good idea. Also, make sure everyone on the trip is fitted with their own Personal Flotation Device (PFD). Children are measured for a PFD by their weight and not their age.
Familiarising kids with water will help them feel more relaxed on the trip. Your local kayaking club may run events for kids at the swimming pool. If that’s not an option, at least get the kids comfortable at the deep end of the pool, even taking their PFD along so they can get used to floating. If they can’t swim yet, you may want to look into lessons.
Younger children that aren’t quite at paddling age may be able to fit in-between your legs. If the sprogs are a little too big for that, they can chip in with the paddling and ride at the bow of a tandem kayak or canoe. Just make sure they’re at the front so you can keep an eye on them. If they want to be captain of their own ship, then…
When choosing a kayak for your child, their age and skill level will determine which kayak is best suited. It’s always a good idea to get your child’s involvement and let them pick one that is comfortable and fits safely, and is the design and colour they like. It may be extra effort, but it will get them excited about the upcoming adventure.
Be extra diligent about where you go and the weather conditions on your first trip. Plan to go on a clear and calm day, but pack light overalls and be prepared for the worst. Large lakes with shallow entry points are best for beginners. Also, plan for your first trip to be short – kids get tired quickly and have short attention spans.
To make sure you’ve covered all your bases, check out this handy infographic on kayaking with kids brought to you by paddlepursuits.com.
About The Author: Jamie Stewart spent 3 months travelling through Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and East Coast Australia, swimming, snorkelling, sailing, cruising, paddling - his love of the ocean was born. His dream is to continue travelling the world, exploring as much of it by kayak as possible – You can read his adventures at PaddlePursuits.com.
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