There is something special about being by yourself on the water. You can relax, organize your thoughts, and escape for a few hours. You can clear away the daily stressors in your life, whether it’s the pressure of your job, family, or something else. But going out on the water alone requires special considerations and raises safety concerns.
Whether you’re in a sailing yacht, motorboat, canoe, kayak, catamaran or any other type of watercraft, safety should be top of mind if you’re by yourself on the water. You have to think about how you’ll get home, who knows where you are, and how things will play out if the unexpected happens and you’re incapacitated.
Although boating alone is risky, it doesn’t have to stop you. Aside from safety, you’ll need to learn how to do certain things by yourself. Anchoring.com addresses how to launch a boat by yourself on their blog, for instance.
Whether you’re scared of going out on the water alone, or simply don’t have anyone to go out on the water with … understanding how to stay safe while kayaking, fishing, or canoeing by yourself is important.
By following these safety tips carefully and with courage, you’ll have a great and enjoyable boating experience. In this article, we’ll share some safety tips for boating by yourself. We’ll include a list of gear you should bring, what to do before you go, and how to stay safe while you’re on the water.
My Top Tips for Solo Boating Safety
Always Bring Your Life Jacket
There is no good excuse for not wearing a life jacket when going boating, especially if you’re not a strong swimmer. Even when the condition is friendly, you shouldn’t take chances. Conditions can always change rapidly.
Some say they’re uncomfortable wearing their jacket. However, that is not a good reason for not using it. Besides, there are more life jackets that perfectly fit. Some models are an inflatable suspenders-style jacket.
There are a lot of varieties out there that are more comfortable. Just get your exact size so that you won’t drown even if you fall into the water.
Bring Extra Supplies
To ensure maximum safety when boating alone, you should take extra supplies as a backup. These will come in handy if you get injured or stranded out on the water.
Some important backups are:
- First aid supplies
- Waterproof matches or fire starters
- A knife
- A whistle
- A space blanket
- Water purification tablets
Always take your phone in case there is cell service. If you are a good and careful planner, you can make the kit so small that you’ll be able to carry it in your life jacket.
Stay hydrated as estas possible. You lose more water boating on warm, sunny days than you do on chilly days. You can lose up to a liter of water in just one hour on really hot days.
Even when you’re not thirsty, take a lot of water and juice to keep hydrated. Dehydration can make you lose consciousness, as well as leg cramps and dizziness.
To keep safe while sailing, stay hydrated.
Know Your Limits
Be honest with yourself and know your limits and skill level. Do not go beyond it. PeacefulPaddle.com cautions that solo canoe trips aren’t for novice paddlers, and this applies to other types of boating as well.
Ask questions from the experienced ones and let them go with you to practice.
Never let the excitement get the better of you and go out alone to practice what you haven’t done before. It would also help if you practiced how to rescue yourself.
Protect Yourself From the Sun
Too much sun exposure causes dehydration, eye damage, and skin damage, in addition to suppressing your immune system.
Try as much as possible to avoid sailing in the sun for too long. You can take breaks in the shade or use sunscreen. Even wearing sunglasses or a wide-brimmed hat will do a lot for protection.
Let Others Know Where You’ll Be
As a solo boater, you should not go boating without telling a responsible and trusted friend or family member. Make sure you tell them what time you’re going, and possibly when you should be expected back.
This is important so that they’ll know the right thing to do when they don’t see you. Don’t forget to tell them where exactly you are going boating.
Final Thoughts About Staying Safe on the Water
The above tips will help you sail safely as a solo boater. Just make sure you follow them well.
Ensure you know your hand signs, as well. According to Water Outfitters, this is a key bit of knowledge that will help you communicate with other boaters on the water even without talking. Also, don’t try to go boating alone if you haven’t mastered it thoroughly.