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Pro Whitewater Tip: Safety First!

Posted: 09.01.2015

By Kim Russell

Adventuring into the world of whitewater kayaking can be a dangerous undertaking and requires all safety precautions to be accounted for. Because of this, it is very important to carry specific safety items incase a boat gets pinned, a paddle gets lost, or you have to hunker down overnight in a canyon. 
Below is a list of what I personally keep in my creek boat no matter what difficulty whitewater I am paddling. Some people carry more, some people carry less, but in general, most people carry the same basic items. 

1. Throw bag *
2. Break Down Paddle * (held in place by an airbag)
3. Pin kit (2 pulleys, 3 locking carabiners, 3 small diameter prussiks and 8 feet of tubular webbing) *
4. First Aid Kit (including duct tape)
5. Fleece hat and gloves
6. Emergency Blanket
7. Headlamp/small waterproof flashlight/glowstick
8. Waterproof Matches/lighter
9. Energy bar (s)

I like to keep items 3-9 in a drybag inside my boat, leaving the throw bag, breakdown paddle, and pin kit available for immediate use.

In addition to these items, consider carrying the following in your PFD:

1. Rescue Vest with a tow leash (most rescue vests have more flotation than the standard pfd. In addition, they have a tow leash, which allows you to clip yourself to a boat for a boat rescue, hook yourself to a rope for a live bait session, etc).
1. Whistle 
2. Knife (Rule of thumb: anytime you are carrying a rope, you should also carry a knife)

Hopefully you'll never have to use any of these items, but if you do you will be glad you packed your boat full of goodies.

Stay Safe,