Nothing ruins an outing on a kayak or canoe faster than an accident. Stay safe with these tips from DCH Toyota of Simi Valley.

Communicate

Many outdoor lovers take up kayaking and canoeing to enjoy nature in solitude. However, it behooves the ambitious paddler to let someone know exactly what the kayaking plan is for the day. If an accident occurs, the likelihood of a rescue increases dramatically if someone knows where you went and when you planned on returning.

Prepare

A wise shipwright once taught that when the flood comes, it's too late to build the boat. If this ancient source of wisdom were a canoer or kayaker, they might suggest that when the kayak floods, you better have everything you need already—specifically, a life jacket (PFD), a spray skirt, a pump or bailer, sponge, paddle, a whistle, a paddle float, a spare paddle, and a buoyant heaving line. They might even add the need for a first aid kit in case of injury.

Prepare (Part 2)

There's more to being prepared than having safety equipment. Samuel Taylor Coleridge's famous idiom, "Water, water everywhere [and not] a drop to drink!" sticks with us for a reason. You'll gain first-hand experience on how ironically awful this condition is if you fail to bring substantial amounts of fresh drinking water. Food, sunscreen, waterproof matches, a kayak repair kit, toilet paper, extra warm clothes, and duct tape come in handy for longer trips as well.

Learn the basics 

Unless you want to swallow copious amounts of lake, river, or ocean water, you'll want to swallow your pride and not do too much too early. Before you venture out on your own, learn the basics. Take a kayaking course. Go with a guide. Take short trips initially. That lake or river will still be there when you're ready.

Inspect

Back to the wise shipwright: they might also recommend making sure the boat is in pristine condition before you find yourself miles from shore. Give your canoe or kayak a thorough inspection before embarking. Things to check include the spring that holds the paddles together, the foot braces or sliders for wear, the rudder, and any other components that could break.

Check the weather

Ever heard of a "perfect storm?" While you might not encounter one while out on the water, you could still find yourself stuck in rain and wind (with wet socks, which is just the worst). So avoid an awful day out—check the weather before you leave home.

Life jackets are key

The word "life" is right there in the name. Keep yours intact by not only bringing a life jacket with you on your next adventure but by wearing it as well. If something goes wrong, you'll be glad you did.