If you fancy a paddle, it pays to have some safety skills before heading out on the water, and The Kiwi Association of Sea Kayakers is stepping up this weekend.
Whether you prefer a kayak, stand up paddle board or canoe, the free ‘Meet the Paddlers’ safety workshop will provide information about types of kayak and paddle craft, the equipment you need and why, and how to understand weather and tides.
They’ll also cover what do in emergencies, navigation and trip planning, and provide a skills workshop where people can get out on the water.
KASK committee member Allen Snowsill says people often buy a paddle craft without knowing all of the aspects involved with safe paddling.
“We’re trying to plug those gaps through these workshops,” says Allen, “by informing people of some basic safety advice so that once they get on the water they remain safe.”
He says the Sulphur Point Marina workshop is aimed at people who are getting into kayaking or paddling for the first time, as well as infrequent paddlers who may need to brush up on their skills and knowledge.
People will also leave the workshops knowing where to find ongoing support and education, says Allen.
“It’s vital to use a personal floatation device or lifejacket and have two forms of communication - a cell phone and a VHF radio kept in a dry bag - when out on the water.”
He knows of far too many instances where having safety equipment would have prevented injury and death.
Allen says if people fall off their craft they can have trouble getting back on, and start to tire after the third attempt. Having a personal floatation device means you’re not wasting energy trying to stay afloat.
The workshops take place on Saturday, November 6, from 9am-3pm at the Tauranga Coastguard building, Sulphur Point Marina.
The Bay Association of Sea Kayakers, where Allen is also a member, is holding a ‘Have a Go’ day at Pilot Bay on Sunday, November 14, from 8:30am-2pm.
Anyone can head along, try kayaking and get safety advice from experienced kayakers, says Allen. All of the equipment will be provided, and people just need to bring a towel and a change of clothes.
“If you want to come and speak to some kayakers with regards to safety and try a kayak out on the water, then come to Pilot Bay on November 14.”
Joining a club or group is another way to keep up with current safety practices and knowledge.
Registration for the Meet the Paddlers safety workshop is necessary, and there are only 30 places available. To register visit: www.kask.co.nz