7 Safety Tips for Ocean Kayaking in Alaska

Three kayaks in the sea

Alaska is the perfect place to go Ocean Kayaking. Kenai Fjords and Glacier Bay National Parks are like heaven on earth. They’re utterly breathtaking and totally unreal. You might not be able to believe how beautiful these places are. From exploring the natural beauty of the area to seeing the wildlife and the glacier in Alaska, ocean kayaking can be very rewarding.

However, just like other water sports, kayaking also comes with risks. From 2010 to 2019, there have been a total of 1417 kayaking accidents with about 707 fatalities. To keep you safe, here are a few safety tips for ocean kayaking in Alaska.

Use a Buddy System

Plan your kayaking trip with your buddies. It’s best not to go alone as it reduces your chances of survival in case of an accident or emergency. Conditions can deteriorate quickly, and you might need assistance. Therefore, always try to go with your friends or a kayaking group, especially if you’re new to this.

Create a Trip Plan

Create a trip plan and leave it with a responsible person. Tell them by when they should expect you and inform them about what should be done in case you’re not back by the expected date. Make sure your plan has all the details about where you are going, your route, and other necessary details that can help others locate you.

Know Self-Rescue Techniques

Carry a survival kit with you with food, water, first aid, and extra layers of clothes to keep yourself warm. Paddle within your limits. Don’t overexert yourself. Make sure you know the right ocean self-rescue techniques for ocean kayaking.

Carry a PFD

Make sure you have your US Coast Guard approved Personal Flotation Device (PFD). It’s crucial for your safety. Put it on before you enter deep waters as it’s extremely difficult to wear in water.

 A woman standing in her kayak with a paddle, wearing a PFD.


Be Informed About Tides

It’s very important for you to understand the importance of high tides and low tides when kayaking. Keep a current tide book and make sure you know how to read it. Some of the lagoons in Kenai Fjords in Alaska should only be entered around the high tide. Also, make sure to tie your boat above the high tide line, or else the tide will take with them your boat and the gear in it.  

Carry a Communication Device

Make sure to carry a satellite phone, a satellite texting device, and a personal locator beacon (PLB). You should carry a marine VHF radio to reach the coast guards in any emergency situation on channel 16.

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