Before paddling alone, train with a certified instructor and get some experience under your belt. Paddling with a companion or with a group is where you should begin.

Paddling solo requires self-reliance and a deeper appreciation of safety. It builds confidence and like solo sailors, paddlers have their awareness, skills and abilities challenged.

Like any other level of your kayaking skills . . .

Before you paddle alone – You must first have …

  • A proper fitting PFD
  • Reliable self recovery skills
  • A hand pump or bailing method
  • Solo launch and landing skills
  • A paddle float
  • Good directional awareness
  • Float bags fitted to your kayak
  • Know navigation and signal rules
  • Spare paddle
  • Familiarity with your planned route
  • Signaling kit – VHF radio or cell phone
  • Know current weather and forecast
  • Repair kit
  • Leave a float plan and call upon return
  • Proper cold weather clothing

Solo skills are learned and practiced during your group paddling experiences. Take time during this period to sharpen self recovery skills while you have companion paddlers to assist. “Flip” your kayak often and learn till self recovery skills are second nature.

When you begin solo paddling – limit yourself to no more than 4 hours in a familiar area. As you become more comfortable – you can increase your boundaries. Make sure you do and have all the above. If you choose to paddle alone – know that the risks are higher but when properly prepared, it is a tranquil and peaceful journey.

Happy Paddling!
From “Paddling Alone”, back to¬†How to Kayak