Kayaking tours are one of the most fun and safe ways to explore open waters. At Keys Skis and Adventures, we offer a variety of different kayaking rentals, from one hour to an entire day. Though it’s a great activity for many ages and physical abilities, it’s important to make sure you and your group are fully prepared for your kayaking trip.

Before Your Trip

Before your kayaking tour, research the area where you’re going to be paddling. Guide books and topographic maps are great for this. Figure out put-in and take-out locations, set up a shuttle, calculate the distance and time it will take you to paddle it, and plan on where you will stop for breaks like lunch.

Pack equipment that will make your trip more enjoyable, but also for emergencies. You should pack a dry bag with water, food, maps, rescue equipment, extra clothing, a headlamp, matches and firestarter, and even a rope and tarp. Send a float plan to someone who isn’t going on the trip to notify others if you don’t return on time. Know your group’s paddling ability and plan the distance and breaks accordingly. It’s also important to learn kayak re-entry techniques before you need them. Learn how to re-enter your kayak and how to help others re-enter theirs.

When You’re on the Water

It’s an amazing feeling when you’re finally out on the water exploring, but keep in mind that you still need to be careful! It’s important to know how to swim and handle yourself when underwater, on moving water, and in surf or current. Make sure you’re wearing your lifejacket at all times.

Stay in control of your kayak and don’t enter rough waters unless you know everyone will be able to navigate them. Steer clear of hazards, especially fog on coastal waters. Again, be aware of everyone’s physical limitations and keep an eye on everyone in your group. Keep an eye out for anglers and land owners while paddling.

Know the Water Conditions

In coastal areas like Key Largo and the Florida Keys, water conditions are different than flatwater and whitewater, so stay close to the shore. When you travel away from a shelter, make sure you have the skills necessary to travel back. Keep an eye out for changing conditions, like wind or fog. Research wave height, wind speed, fetch, and know how it will impact your ability to travel. Be aware of other watercrafts, like boats, and follow traffic patterns. Stay updated on tidal currents and how they will affect you and your group. Be careful when passing through the surf zone (the area where waves break) when traveling to shore.

Have Fun

Some of these preparation tips may seem a little daunting and may make you anxious to get out on the water, but the truth is that kayaking is one of the safest water activities you could be doing! We at Keys Skis and Adventures just want to make sure you’re safe and prepared so that you can have the most fun for the longest amount of time possible. If you’re ready to start your next kayak tour in Key Largo, book with us today!