We get this question occasionally because there are plenty of folks who would like to enjoy the Florida waters without submerging themselves into them. Then there are others who can’t wait to try kayaking, but never learned how to swim. Fortunately, there are ways to enjoy kayaking without strong swimming skills, provided you take certain safety precautions.
Swimming Ability: Recommended but Not Mandatory for Kayaking
It’s always a great idea to possess some basic floating and swimming skills whenever you participate in any water sports activity (including kayaking). That being said, it’s not mandatory. Most kayaking, especially for beginners, takes place along calm rivers that are safer for relaxed paddling.
Modern kayaks are also built pretty strong with glass/composite, thermoform, and even durable inflatable materials. This makes it an overall safe hobby for swimmers and non-swimmers alike. Plus, if you’re still getting used to either swimming, kayaking, or both, it’s wise to begin your hobby with a guided tour from our friendly Yak Shack staff.
Know Your Surroundings & Identify Hazards
You should always assess safety risks, the weather, and various hazards before hitting the water for kayaking fun. Although the chances are remote, it’s possible to lose your paddle or even capsize. You can, however, mitigate these dangers by avoiding turbulent waters where you know there’s an undertow, rip tide, or other unpredictable conditions. It’s also ill-advised to kayak during or right after a major storm, where the water is much more turbulent (or chock full of debris).
What are some other hazards to identify before kayaking?
- Overhanging trees and other water obstructions
- Submerged tree branches
- Presence of alligators, snakes, and other marine life
- Cold water temperatures during the winter
Talk to Us About Kayak Safety Equipment
Like we said at the start, you can avoid some of the potential dangers by preparing yourself with reliable safety gear. When you rent a kayak from us, our folks can offer suggestions for non-swimmers. This usually means wearing a protective life jacket, which is a good idea even if you’re confident in your swimming abilities.
Yak Shack Watersports offers an array of kayak rentals, designed to fit either single or tandem purposes. We also offer guided tours to gorgeous places like Anna Maria Island and Coquina Beach, making us a popular resource for Sarasota/Manatee county water adventurers. Contact us anytime to learn more about kayaking safety and rental opportunities by calling 941-223-9711.