Kayaking Safety

Kayaking is an inherently hazardous sport and people die doing it, usually because they over estimated their abilities or were not adequately prepared when conditions changed. The East Coast Paddlers believe strongly in practicing strokes, braces and rescues, insisting on proper equipment and preparation in our outings, and sharing safety related information and experience. The articles below were written by experienced paddlers but we do not claim to have all the answers, so use this information along with your own best judgement, training and experience.

Some Basic Safety Guidelines

  • Always wear a PFD (personal flotation device - life jacket) - ALWAYS - no kidding!
  • Check the weather forecast before you leave and be prepared for the worst or cancel out.
  • Dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature - even in mid-summer this may mean a wet suit or dry suit. Cotton clothing in cool, wet conditions causes hypothermia.
  • Don't paddle alone.
  • Let people know where you are going and when to expect you back.
  • Don't overestimate your abilities.

Safety Articles


The East Coast Paddlers are an informal, voluntary group of individuals who enjoy paddle sports and welcome others to join. Participation in East Coast Paddlers' trips is limited to adults and children who are accompanied by a legal guardian. Participants acknowledge that kayaking is potentially dangerous and they are fully responsible for their own safety.

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 Eastcoastpaddlers@gmail.com