Kayaking is a great way to stay active during the summer months while enjoying the weather on the water. The Bismarck Yakkers is a group of kayakers who enjoy connecting with the outdoors.
There are over 800 members in the Facebook group and two of them wanted to share some kayaking safety tips.
David Patch, a Bismarck ‘Yakker member says, “Experience is the best teacher for sure. I jumped right on the Missouri River and you don’t appreciate the power of that river until you’re floating down the middle of it.”
Patch has been kayaking for 10 years now. He says one important tip is to pick the right kayak to suit your needs. From beginner kayaks to more advanced, prices range anywhere from $200 to $2,000, but you get what you pay for.
Patch adds, “I like a fishing kayak. My kayak’s a sit on top, not sit inside kayak. That way I have access to everything in front of me but you’re also more exposed to the elements.”
He’s gone on several long routes while kayaking and says it’s important to be prepared. He says always wear a life vest, bring a waterproof container to keep your personal belongings like your cellphones safe, keep a first aid kit on board, drink plenty of water, and wear sunscreen.
Fellow Bismarck Yakker, Nyk Edinger agrees. He says with any sport involving water, there are some risks.
Edinger says, “I have been out practicing how to get back into the kayak. It’s a good idea to do that because when you’re in a situation you might be panicked.”
He says with practice, you’ll intuitively know how to react when you capsize your boat. He says there are a few things that may cause you to go in.
“Usually, it’s unexpected. You could not be paying attention and a wave from a boat hits you at just the wrong angle and puts your balance off,” said Edinger. “You could hit a tree stump or something like that.”
Both men say to never kayak alone, if you do, tell someone your route and stay close to the shore. Another way to stay safe is getting plugged into your local kayaking community and asking questions.
But most importantly have fun and don’t forget the ‘yak snacks.
For more information on the Bismarck ‘Yakkers group go here.