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Safety Tip for Kayakers this Summer

Whether you are a first-time kayaker or have years of experience, safety on the water should always be a top priority. With unpredictable weather and an influx of rain, the rivers in Colleton County are changing daily. Being prepare for a boating or kayaking trip in advance is the best defense against an emergency. “Kayaks are no different from any other boat or vessel as far as safety equipment,” First Sergeant Andrew Godowns with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources explains, “You must have a life jacket (personal floatation device) for everyone on board, a sound producing device, and if on the water at night a white light that shines 360 degrees so other operators can see you.” These basic but extremely import requirements are the bare minimum every boater and kayaker must remember before they put their boat or kayak in the water. “If someone were to attach a trolling motor on a kayak for whatever reason then the kayak must be registered through SCDNR and all numbers and registration would apply,” Sgt. Godowns explains.

Once your kayak meets the standards required by SCDNR, make sure that you know your starting and exit point. Plan ahead by letting someone know your trip agenda, including an approximate return time. “When launching travel against the current first,” Sgt. Godowns suggest, “If you become tired paddling you can always use the current to help you get back to where you launched.” If you encounter an emergency on the water, having a sound device close by can help alert someone that there is a problem. “Sound device- I recommend is a whistle attached to your life jacket (PFD),” Sgt Godowns explains, “Something with a high pitch shrill. This is important if you are paddling in a blind curve and can hear a boat motor approaching, you blow the whistle which can be heard over the boat motor, and it signals the boat operator there is someone around the curve. The operator would have ample time to slow down and avoid a collision.” The Lowcountry is filled with beautiful waterways, and if you plan on kayaking in any this summer, here is a list of public boat landing that are suggested.

Amye Stivender (214 Posts)