Blue Water Healthy Living

Kayak Safety To-Do Checklist

Lake Minnawanna Metamora, MI

By Kassii Watta


  1. Take an on-water course
  2. Learn how to be safe in cold water
  3. Learn re-entry techniques in case you cap size
    1. Turn bow into strong waves to avoid capsizing
  4. Learn the universal signals
  5. Learn self-rescue techniques
  6. Learn the rules of the road and area you’re in
    1. Be aware of others around you
      1. Especially fishermen
    2. Cross a motorized craft in an astern fashion
      1. Cross as a group
    3. Stay between shore and the light/buoy
    4. Know your security zones & surrounding resources
    5. Know restricted areas
    6. Never float or paddle over obstructions
  7. Bring the proper equipment
    1. Lifejacket
    2. Flares
    3. Snacks/water
    4. Whistle
    5. sunscreen
    6. Compass/maps/chart
    7. Bilge pump
    8. Spare paddle/paddle floaters
    9. Rescue gear/first aid kit
    10. “river” knife
    11. Head lamp or white light for nighttime for oncoming traffic
    12. Matches
    13. Boat sponge
    14. Tow lines
    15. Radios/VHF (monitor channels 13&16) (16 is the distress channel)
  8. Learn what buoy markers mean
    1. Green light – starboard (right)
    2. Red light – port (left)
  9. Wear the right clothing
    1. Bright colored apparel
    2. Bring extra clothes in a dry bag
  10. Always choose an appropriate paddle location for your skill level
  11. Prep your crew/boat
    1. Reflective tape on paddles
    2. Visibility kits
    3. Have an identification sticker on your kayak with your name and emergency contacts
    4. Have a pre-trip plan
      1. Inform others of plan
      2. Do not change plan
      3. Always assess the behavior of others in your party
      4. Never go alone
        1. Where are you going? How long should you be gone? How many people in your party?
      5. Do not overload your boat
      6. Never exceed the weight capacity
  12. Be a competent swimmer
  13. Watch the weather
    1. Never go kayaking in the fog
    2. Beware of offshore winds that could deter you from getting back
  14. Never go under the influence!
  15. Always double check your equipment before going out

Some people wouldn’t believe that Lake Huron is the perfect spot to kayak, but it is! Not only is kayaking a fun activity for a group of friends or family members, but it is a great work out for your arms and legs with a Hobie. Hobie kayaks have not only the paddles/oars, but also include a drive to peddle with your feet! This makes for a great fishing trip! If you are interested in purchasing a Hobie kayak, please email for demo dates and inquires.


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Kasaundra M Watta, 22 of Port Sanilac, has lived near the water her entire life. She graduated from Croswell-Lexington High School is 2014 and received her Associates Degree in General Education from Saint Clair County Community College in 2015. Even after moving to Mount Pleasant in 2015 to attend Central Michigan University, her heart remained near the lake. She returned in December with her Bachelor’s Degree and is now the Port Sanilac Marina’s Content and Marketing Manager. She has become involved in anything that has to do with the water: learning about boats and kayaks because of her everlasting love of the lake. She now gets to watch the waves roll in from her desk.

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