For canoe and kayak paddlers, water safety should be a top priority. Regardless of the weather, time of year, or kind of paddling, water safety gear is vital. In this article, we will be listing seven important things you need to guarantee the safety of paddlers.

Note: The type of clothes a paddler should wear is not addressed in this list since it depends on the weather and the type of paddling they will be undertaking.

1. First Aid Kit

A first aid kit has everything you might need to treat an injury during outdoor activities. It should be kept in a waterproof bag in case of accidents in the water. It’s better to have a first aid kit, and not need it than to need one and not have it.

2. Life Vest

Besides having a first aid kit for water safety gear, life vests also come in handy. Life vests are essential for the paddler because they can be life-saving in case of an accidental fall in the water. 

The other reason is that it can be a challenge for the paddler to swim and will tire out quickly. A life vest helps in allowing the paddler to re-focus on the task at hand.

3. Dry Bag

Dry bags are essential water safety gear that can keep your important gadgets and gear free from water. A dry bag is like a waterproof bag, but it’s tougher and guaranteed to keep your things dry. It is usually used for other outdoor activities like camping and hiking.

4. Sun Protection

Paddlers need sun protection because they’re out on the water for long hours. Paddlers who swim a lot, and stay out for a long period of time without reapplying, can get burned easily. If you don’t have a sun protection cream, you can use something as simple as coconut oil or lotion.

5. Navigation Gear

Paddlers need good navigation gear. These are very helpful in paddling, especially if you’re going to a place that you’ve never been to before.

Because of this, it’s important to have good navigation gears. There are two main types of navigation gear: GPS and map. GPS is available on most smartphones so you can download an app and get turn-by-turn directions.

Maps are still very useful, especially if you’re going out to the middle of nowhere. It’s more accurate, and if you follow it correctly, you’re sure to get where you’re going.

Directional paddles are also very helpful in keeping track of your direction.

6. Proper Footwear

If you’re planning to go on a multi-day camping trip, it’s always a good idea to bring your hiking boots for extra protection. If you’re planning on paddling for a short period of time, then you can wear any water shoes. Still, a good pair of water shoes are recommended.

Paddlers need a good pair of shoes for the safety and comfort of their feet. Proper footwear is needed to protect against injuries, infection, and blisters.

Besides keeping the feet protected, paddlers also need to keep their feet dry. It’s easy to get your feet wet when you’re paddling because you’re going against the flow of the water.

7. Water and Snack

Food and snacks are a must-have for paddlers. This is because paddlers sometimes have to go on long trips, and it’s easy to get tired. If a paddler is tired and hungry, it’s easy to lose focus, and accidents may happen.

Bringing a big bottle of water is a good way to stay hydrated. You can also bring snacks to keep you energized.


Water safety gear is necessary to keep the paddlers safe. A first aid kit, a life vest, dry bag, navigation gear, and proper footwear are essential for the paddler. Sun protection and water and snacks are also important since they can keep the paddlers energetic and focused.

If you’re interested in experiencing nature in its purest form, book eco kayak tours and activities with  Nature Coast Eco Tours. We offer small-group excursions that showcase the best of Florida’s islands in an eco-friendly way. 

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