The Essential Kayak Safetly Equipment List

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There are many different things to consider when out on the water kayaking, but one of the most important is safety. Kayaking can be a very dangerous sport. This list of essential kayak safety equipment will help you stay safe and paddling out there longer and happier.

Life Jacket

Whether you are a beginner or a professional kayaker, a life jacket is essential. It is the only way you can pull yourself out of the water if you fall in and it will keep you afloat if you go capsizing. There are three different types of life jackets: Type I, II, and III this article should be able to tell you which one is best for you and your kayaking.

PFD (Personal Flotation Device):

Another name for a life jacket – whatever they call it in your area, make sure to have one with you whenever you hit the water. Your PFD will keep you safe no matter what happens while on the water.

Bailing Bucket:

If you end up dunking your kayak, having a bail bucket will make the process of bailing out the water go by much quicker. It is a bucket with a long spout to help you get all the water out of your kayak without any problem. They are usually made of plastic or metal but if you find one that can be used for both fishing and bailing you will have double use out of it.


This is not completely necessary, but it comes in handy if something were to happen by accident. A whistle can alert other boaters around you and tell them that there is an emergency.


You should never be too far out on the water without a rope with you. A rope will come in handy if you need to pull someone out of the water or if someone falls in and needs to be saved. Be sure to have at least 20 feet of rope just in case you need it when you are out on the water.

Bailing Pump:

Another alternative to using a bail bucket is using a bailing pump. It is basically an inflatable pump that will suck the excess water out of your kayak. It is attached directly to your kayak and makes the process much quicker than using a bail bucket. If you have a bailing pump with you on the water then you will not need anything else.


If you get lost or out of sight of land, you should have a compass with you so that you know exactly where to go. It can also be used for navigation so that you do not get lost while on your water trip.

Tow Rope:

A tow rope will come in handy when someone has fallen in the water and cannot get back into their kayak without help. If someone falls in the water and is not near their kayak then a tow rope will be the only way to get them back on their kayak in a safe manner.

Signal Flares:

Another safety precaution is having signal flares with you at all times when going out on the water. You never know when something could happen and having signal flares could end up saving your life or someone else’s.

First Aid Kit:

Having a first aid kit with you while out on the water kayaking is a necessity. You will need to use it if you get an injury or if someone falls in the water or breaks their arm while out there. The first aid kit will help you when something bad happens and you need it.

Waterproof Matches:

It is important to have waterproof matches with you whenever on the water kayaking because they can be used for many things other than starting fires during a fire breaking party. They can also be used to start fires that will dry your wet socks or any other type of wet clothes so that they do not get cold and cause more harm to your body than necessary.


If you do not have a flashlight or a head lamp with you then you will be in a lot of trouble if there is anything that catches your eye that you need to see. Having a light for your kayak will help you navigate during the night while out on the water. If there are any other light conditions outside, like if it is raining, then having some lights on your boat will help guide you through them safely. Also, always keep an extra battery or two with your flashlight. You never know when it will die in the middle of what might be an emergency situation and it could prove to be extremely dangerous to have no lights.


You should always have a map of the water that your boat will be on. This way you will know where you are and not get lost and confused. Possessing a proper sense of direction is important to ensure your safety if you are on the water kayaking.Emergency Equipment Kit for River & Sea Kayaks

If it’s not enough to carry all this boat gear, make sure to carry an emergency equipment kit as well.

A personal flotation device, such as a PFD, can be considered essential equipment for kayaking. If you’re on the water and you fall in or your boat flips over, a life jacket will keep you afloat while waiting for help. Sometimes they are called Type I, II or III life jackets. Type I jackets are very light weight and provide less protection than Type II and III jackets so if you use one it is best to go out with a group of people who have Type II or III jackets on them too. One of the disadvantages is that they take up more space in your kayak than other types of PFDs so this means there’s less room for gear like the ones mentioned above like a first aid kit, GPS, extra clothing, etc.

Kayak helmet:

A kayaking helmet is an important piece of safety equipment for any kayaker. It will help you keep your head above water if you get in trouble and it can also help prevent injury if something were to happen while out on the water.

Spray Skirt

A spray skirt is a thin layer that goes around the cockpit of your kayak. It blocks water from splashing up and getting in while you are out on the water kayaking. They come in different materials and types but a neoprene spray skirt is an example of one that many people use so this should give you some idea of what to look for when shopping around for one.


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