Kayaking with Kids
A new water sport can be an engaging and fun way to get your children active in the outdoors. This guide will help you get started with kayaking.
Quick Safety Tips
If you don't have the right equipment or knowledge, any activity near the water can be dangerous. It is important to take safety precautions while kayaking with children. This will ensure that everyone has a great time.
Kids First Keep your children close to you. Sit your younger children in tandem kayaks. If the kayak is for more than one person, then they can sit between you and them. Older children who are able to paddle their own kayaks should lead the way. This not only keeps them safe but also allows them to be independent.
Practice the Wet Exit. If you use sit-in kayaks to get out, make sure that you practice it in a safe location. This skill can be learned if you want to stay safe in the event that your kayak tips.
Tow lines and float bags. For those times when you need to tug a tired child's kayak home, remember to bring two lines as well as float bags.
Personal Flotation Equipment Always uses a properly fitted personal flotation device or lifejacket for boating activities.
Always wear your lifejacket
When you engage in water sports, such as swimming or kayaking, make sure to wear a personal flotation (or PFD) device. This is especially important to children, but it's also important for adults. These life-saving devices will keep you floating if your kayak is tipped. They also make it easier to rescue you.
Check that your child's safety equipment is properly fitting and in good shape. Your child grows quickly so make sure your lifejacket fits properly before you let them get in the water. The three sizes of children's lifejackets are Infant (32-33 lbs/3-14 kilos), Children (30-50-23 kilos/14-23 kgs), and Youth (50-90lbs/23-40kgs). Some jackets have an adjustable shoulder and side so you don’t have to buy new ones every year.
The Best Kayaks for Children
Kayaks are narrow, small boats that can hold one or two paddlers. Kayaks are small and easy to maneuver, making them ideal for exploring rivers and lakes as well as tackling white-water rapids and ocean waves. Kayaks are available in many sizes and styles. However, not all models will work for you.
Sit in vs. Sit on
You can cover your legs with "sit-in” kayaks. These kayaks can be hard to remove if they tip over and are too large for small children to handle on their own.
The " Siton-top" type kayaks are ideal for beginners. You can also use them for casual paddling as they are easy to stop, swim and then climb back up.
Single or twin?
If your child is under 10, you might consider tandem kayaking with them. If your child is an experienced paddler and swimmer, they can start to paddle on their own kayak. However, don't forget the rope for the tow.
Proper Paddling Technique
A paddle is essential for everyone. The paddles for children will be lighter, more maneuverable, and easier to use. Learn proper paddling skills on dry land. There are many YouTube videos, articles, and lessons you can look at (or learn from a pro). To improve your technique, you can read the basics.
Checklist: Kayaking with Kids Gear
There will be a variety of gear that you need for kayaking, depending on your trip. But it is better to be prepared. Double-check everything on your list and make sure you have all your gear ready to go before you set off.
- For each person, you should have the right PFDs. Check that they are properly fitted.
- Each kayak comes with a throw bag, bilge pump, and paddle floats.
- Waterproof bags are great for changing clothes.
- Water shoes.
- Rain gear.
- Dry bags for smartphones, cameras, etc.
- First-aid kit.
- Water and food.
- Sun protection.
Keep your kids hydrated!
Most kayaks come with enough space for a cooler. These can be secured by bungee cords. Your child will be less likely to complain about not having enough protein if you pack their favorite snacks.
Hydration is key. Always carry more water than what you think you will need. Even though boating is surrounded by water, it can be easy to get dehydrated. To learn how much you can bring, visit this page.
Avoid sunburns that cause severe pain
While clothing provides more protection than sunblock alone, you should still apply sunscreen at a minimum every two hours, especially on the neck and chest. You can protect your children from the sun by providing sun hats and sunscreen as well as long-sleeved shirts. You can also buy clothing with SPF.
Remember to have fun
Consider what activities you can do with your children depending on where they are. Bring a few toys that your kids will enjoy while you're on the move: a fishing net, shovel or bucket, and beach towels.
Where to go kayaking with kids
Adventure may call you out on the open sea, but it's best for beginners to learn to kayak on a calmer body of water before they venture out on the open ocean. You can improve your skills on large bodies of water, such as lakes and ponds, especially if you have children who are new to kayaking. After you feel comfortable handling calm waters, you can move on to areas that have stronger currents.
These quick tips will help you if you are feeling overwhelmed by all that information is available:
Visit a sports goods or specialty boating shop. The staff can answer any questions you may have and assist with getting you the right gear.
Consider taking lessons. Learn from professionals who have hands-on experience.
Test before you buy. You can rent a kayak at many lakes or rivers if you aren’t sure you want the sport.
Concentrate on the fun. If your children just want to paddle around a small channel looking for shiny stones, that's okay. Enjoy safety, but have some fun.