Is kayaking alone dangerous? (10 tips for staying safe)

Is kayaking alone dangerous? (10 tips for staying safe)
Photo by Filip Mroz / Unsplash

Kayaking alone can be an incredibly peaceful and rewarding experience. It can also be a great way to get some exercise and explore new areas. However, it can also present a lot of new risks and dangers, especially for new and less experienced paddlers.

If you've stumbled upon this page because you are thinking about journeying out in the water by yourself, here are a few things you should keep in mind before you set off.

Table of contents

The risks of kayaking alone

Kayaking is an incredibly fun and rewarding experience, but it's important to be aware of the risks involved before heading out on the water alone. The most obvious risk is that of capsizing or being swept away by strong currents, which can quickly lead to hypothermia or drowning.

Other risks include becoming stranded on a remote shoreline, fatigue, or becoming lost in the fog or bad weather. Kayakers should always be aware of their surroundings and be prepared for the worst.

Wearing a life jacket and carrying a whistle are essential safety precautions when kayaking alone. It's also a good idea to let someone know your planned route and expected return time before heading out.

With proper preparation and awareness, kayaking can be an extremely safe and enjoyable activity. However, it's important to remember that solo kayakers are ultimately responsible for their own safety and should never take unnecessary risks.

The benefits of kayaking alone

Kayaking is one of the most underrated solo sports. It is a great way to get some exercise while enjoying the outdoors, and it can be very therapeutic. While there are a few risks and dangers potentially involved, taking the proper precautions can ensure that you are getting the most out of the activity. There are many benefits to kayaking alone, including the following:

  1. You can go at your own pace and enjoy the scenery at your own leisure.
  2. You can explore areas that you might not be able to with someone else.
  3. You can get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and clear your mind.
  4. It is a great way to get some exercise and improve your fitness.
  5. You can connect with nature and feel a sense of peace and tranquility.
  6. It is a great way to relieve stress and relax.
  7. You can learn new skills and techniques.
  8. You can challenge yourself and push yourself to your limits.
  9. You can have a lot of fun!

Personally, going out for an early paddle is something I often look forward to and one of the most peaceful things in my life. I hope that many others are able to discover this and enjoy it in the way that I do!

Sunset kayak
Photo by Patrick Fore / Unsplash

How to stay safe while kayaking alone

1. Preparation

Make sure you are well-prepared before setting out on your kayaking trip. This means having the proper gear such as a well-fitted life jacket, emergency whistle, first aid kit, and whatever else you may need. Dressing appropriately is also important, make sure that you bring clothes that will keep you warm and dry.  

2. Let someone know where you will be

It is always a good idea to let someone know your plans before heading out solo. This way, if something happens, someone will know where you are and can come to your aid or send help.

Be sure to tell a friend or family member where you plan to go, what route you will be taking, and what time you expect to be there. If something were to happen to you, acting fast can be crucial to your safety.

3. Check the weather forecast

Pay attention to the weather forecast and be sure to check conditions before leaving. This will help you avoid getting caught in bad weather or dangerous conditions.

Knowing the projected forecast can also help you pack the right clothing to make sure that you are ready for whatever weather that you may encounter.

4. Have some experience

Make sure you are comfortable with your kayak and know how to operate it before heading out solo. This includes knowing how to paddle and maneuver your kayak, as well as how to dock and launch it.

Knowing how to swim and rescue a capsized boat can also be extremely helpful to know for emergency situations.

5. Know your strength

Be aware of your own physical limitations and be sure to paddle within your abilities. This is especially important when kayaking alone, as there is no one there to help if you get into trouble.

6. Bring lots of food and drink

Be sure to bring along plenty of food and water, as well as any other supplies you may need for your trip. A helpful tip is to always bring more than what you think you will need since you never know what unexpected things may happen.

7. Prepare for the worst

When kayaking alone, it is important to stay calm and focused. If you encounter any problems, remain calm and think through your options before taking any action. Any situation can happen, even if you are only planning to be out for a short amount of time.

8. Avoid dangerous situations

If you find yourself in a dangerous situation you arent prepared for, call for help immediately. Do not attempt to paddle to safety on your own if you are injured or in danger of capsizing.

It is always best to familiarize yourself with wherever you are planning to go before you embark. Doing this will help make you aware of any potential dangers that you may encounter.  

9. Take frequent breaks

Be sure to take breaks often, especially if you are paddling in hot weather. Drink plenty of water and find a shady spot to rest in if possible. Remember, you are out there for a good time and to maybe clear your mind. It's okay to sometimes sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery.

10. Consider using a bright-colored kayak

In case something terrible were to happen, having a bright kayak would help people easily spot you out in the water. Of course, if your kayak isn't vibrant you don't have to go out and buy one but perhaps consider this when out shopping for your next boat. It's a lot easier to spot a bright yellow kayak out in the water than one that is dark blue, especially if the boat has capsized.


To finish things off, always remember to enjoy yourself! Kayaking is a great way to explore and enjoy the outdoors, so make sure to take the time to appreciate your surroundings.

I hope that these tips will help you when considering going out and venturing on your own. With proper caution, you can remove a lot of the stress of being by yourself and focus more on the peaceful aesthetic and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.

Happy Paddling!!