Basic Safety Equipment

Suggested minimum equipment list

submitted by Ray Denno

These lists cover the equipment each paddler should have for the various types of trips. Also see the list of suggested equipment for cold weather paddling.

Casual Paddling Close to Shore:
  1. Spray Skirt
  2. Paddle
  3. Spare Paddle
  4. P.F.D. (Personal Flotation Device)
  5. Paddle Float
  6. Pump
  7. Sponge
  8. Water to Drink
Offshore Paddling - Above equipment plus:
  1. Compass
  2. Tow Rope
  3. Knife on P.F.D.
  4. Line from Front Toggle to Cockpit, used to connect to Tow Line.
Extended Offshore Paddling - Above equipment plus:
  1. UHF Radio
  2. GPS (Global Positioning System) - optional
  3. Maps
  4. Flares on P.F.D.
  5. Emergency Blanket or Plastic Tarp
  6. First Aid Kit
  7. Strobe Light on P.F.D.
  8. Matches or Lighter - both is better
  9. 50 ft. 1/4" Rope
  10. Duct Tape
  11. Small Folding Saw
  12. Leatherman Pliers or Equivalent
  13. Proper Clothing for Conditions (Wet Suit, Dry Suit, etc.)
  14. Nose Clips - In rough water or surfing, cold water can be driven up the nose, arresting the heart causing sudden death.
  1. Paddle Park
  2. Reflective Tape on Paddle or P.F.D.
  3. GPS
  4. Paddling Gloves
  5. Hat
  6. Sun Glasses

New to Kayaking?

Don't know how to get started? Which boat to buy? How to learn without embarrassment? What if it tips over? Do I have to roll the kayak?

We were all beginners once and we'd be happy to help you with the basics. Before you even buy a boat, why not stop in at our monthly meeting (see the Paddlers Calendar) for some friendly advice from experienced paddlers. Whether you're interested in calm afternoons on one of Michigan's beautiful lakes and rivers or two weeks in the wilderness, we can help - we've been there.

To ask any questions or to contact the group for any reason, please send an e-mail to