KODAK, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knox County Rescue Squad reported numerous kayaking incidents that took place over Memorial Day weekend. Kim Abney, an American Canoe Association certified instructor, said it’s important to know how to be safe, and she said it starts with knowing the condition of the water you plan to be in.
“What kind of hazards are you getting into? What kind of river is it? Is it going to be a class one lake? Is it going to be a flowing gentle river, is it going to be coming straight out of the mountains?”
These are questions Abney said kayakers should ask themselves and adds you should also consider rainfall and water levels. Once you’re aware of the water you plan to be paddling in, next comes being prepared for the unexpected, with the biggest challenges coming from falling out of a kayak.
Knowing how to do things like using strainer objects to your advantage, which are usually trees blocking the way in rivers and lakes. Experts suggest either swimming toward the strain object in order to go over, or put your hands or feet against the object to move in the direction you need to go. When it comes to going under the strain, Abney said she does not suggest that because you don’t know what’s underneath.
Also learning different techniques to get back inside your kayak are all important to make sure you are safe.
“Always have several people with you, three people is nice,” Abney said. “Three will make it easier because someone can get the paddles and the gear, and someone else can get the swimmer, and you still have to boat to deal with.”
Which leads to Abney’s final tip: If possible, avoid kayaking alone.
“Be very aware of where you are,” she said. “Particularly when you’re by yourself, things happen that you don’t expect.”
Regardless of how you plan to get in the water, Abney said just be sure to have fun and be safe.
“That’s what we’re here for, just trying to get people comfortable and they can have a great summer.”
There are also safety classes anyone can take.