The 14 Essential List of Kayak Safety Equipment |You Should Have|

kayak safety equipment

Last updated on September 27, 2022

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If you want to go on a kayaking expedition, it can be risky to go without proper safety equipment. It can become difficult to safely and successfully finish the adventurous trip without having a first aid kit and the necessary equipment to ensure your safety. Being a safety-conscious person is meaningless if you do not have safety equipment while on a kayaking trip. A list of essential kayak safety equipment is provided hereunder for your reference.

Cell phone

At the time of emergency, you can use your cell phone to call for help. However, you should keep it in a dry bag so that you can use it when required, as it can be a useless gear if soaked in water. You should fully charge its battery but take some careful steps to preserve its battery for a long time.

Dry Bags

Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag, Ultra-Durable Roll-Top Dry Storage, 13 Liter, Royal Blue

Like your cell phone, there can be several other things that you may like to keep safe from water in a waterproof environment while kayaking like kayak dry bag. You can make your expedition safe and enjoyable by having a small nylon bag with you as it can save your valuables from rain as well as rough waters where you are kayaking.

Bilge pump

Your kayak can overturn any time due to some mistake, massive waves, or wind or white water even if you are a skilled and experienced Kayaker. It can also be due to filling up the water of rain or through some cracks in the kayak. If you have a bilge pump with you, you can pump out water from it and safely end your trip.

A two-way radio

You can be out of your cell phone service coverage area if you go deep into the rough water while kayaking. In such a situation, you can contact other members of your group or the base station in an emergency if you have a two-way radio with you.

A compass and a map

In today’s technologically advanced world, sometimes old kayaking gear can help find your way if you lost it. An old compass and map can make your navigation easy if the GPS of your cell phone stops working due to drained out battery.              

GPS Unit

It can help you or your partner navigate safely by finding your direction accurately and quickly if you have lost your way in the rough waters.

Tow rope

While kayaking is group, as per rule, all should follow the paddler paddling at the lowest speed. A tow rope with you can help in towing away the kayak of the paddler who is unable to paddle it due to some physical inability, illness, or accident. It will help you in enjoying your trip without leaving anyone behind.

Long-distance communication system

Two types of long-distance communication systems can be used to communicate on extended trips like noise like a kayak safety whistle or air horn and light like flashlight or torch or Walkie Talkies. It can help you give signals to the other members of your group about your presence and location.

First aid kit

You must ensure that you have a well-stocked first aid kit before going on a kayaking trip. It will help you give firsthand treatment to your colleagues and yourself in case of any injury on the waters.

PFD or personal floatation device

You must wear a PFD while kayaking and do not take it off unless you return safely. It will keep you safe if you fall into the water due to any reason like sudden rapid movement or rough and hard waves etc. It will help you in swimming as you may not be able to swim correctly in such unexpected events even if you are a good swimmer.


You have to protect your head in case of violent rapids or fast currents as some hard or rocky objects can hit it. So you must wear a helmet while kayaking to keep your head safe.

A spare paddle

If you fail to paddle your kayak properly due to breaking one of its blades. You can still paddle it with one edge of the paddle, but if you have a spare paddle with you, it will be easier to cope with your group.

Kayak Repair Kit

You can repair minor defects in your kayak in the field if you have a repair kit containing materials and tools according to your kayak type.

Float Bags

These bags can help you stop the water from filling in your kayak if you fall out of it or the kayak is overturned. You can fit these float bags in the stern and bow of the kayak you sit in.

Along with kayak safety equipment discussed above, you must have a few other items while kayaking to help you survive on the trip. These items include:

  • The emergency ration will help you survive on a more extended trip if you have lost your leading food or it has got damaged. This emergency ration can include high energy and calorie foods like protein bars, chocolate, and dried fruits, etc.
  • It would help if you had a lot of potable water to quench your thirst while paddling your kayak. Though you are paddling in the water, you cannot drink it. You can fall into it or get sprayed by it, but you cannot drink it unless you have potable water.
  • A Spray Skirt can help prevent the entry of rainwater as well as water from the waves into your kayak. You can wear a spray skirt around your waist and attach it to the rim of the cockpit of your sit-in kayak.
  • Experienced Kayakers bring spare clothes packed in a dry waterproof bag to change their wet clothes due to some accident. It will keep them in comfortable conditions for the rest of the time.


If you plan for a kayaking trip, you should ensure that you have all the kayak safety equipment listed in this write-up. You can use the entire capacity of your kayak to adjust all the things in it. All the matters discussed above have been suggested based on the experiences of the seasoned Kayakers.

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