Kayaking is an outdoor activity that suits both daredevils and people who like more of a relaxing experience. When you’re learning how to kayak, it’s best to learn the basic skills outside of water and then test them out after you are sure you got them right. Waters can be unpredictable and sometimes you’ll need every bit of skill you have to get yourself out of a sticky situation. This is probably the first thing your kayaking instructor will tell you because it’s the first step to becoming a pro kayaker. However, we compiled a list of 6 more important tips you need to know if you want to stay steady and safe.

1. Choose the Right Kayak

Unfortunately, kayaks aren’t one of those things where one size fits all. The most important thing you should do before you decide on buying is to determine the size and the purpose of your boat. Look up the size guide online and try to decide on which is the best type for you. You need to check the weight capacity, whether you have enough legroom, and how deep the kayak is compared to your height. This all adds up to the stability and safety you’ll have while you’re paddling. Most commonly, kayaks will come in three volumes: high, medium, and low. Make sure you do your research properly before you go shopping.

2. Learn How to Sit Properly

Even the most professional kayakers sometimes forget their basic training. However, it can be crucial for having perfect balance and picking up speed. You should sit in a way that makes your kayak feel like a part of your body and not a nuisance. Feel the way the kayak is moving and try not to go against it. It’s important to learn how to adjust to it. And the only way you’ll be able to do it is by sitting properly. Keep your back straight, keep your feet in the right place, and adjust your knees to the movements of your kayak.

3. Never Do It Alone!

Going alone on a kayaking trip isn’t a good idea when you’re a professional, and much much less if you’re a beginner. It would always be best to bring someone who’s more experienced than you because they’ll know what to do in case of an accident. Also, this is absolutely the situation in which the saying “the more, the merrier” applies. You’ll have more fun, you’ll have the opportunity to get some valuable advice, and, most importantly, you’ll be much safer. There is always a chance of something unpredictable happening, so it’s extremely important to have someone by your side who can help you.

4. Bring Some Extra Clothing

There is no way you’ll avoid getting wet while kayaking. It’s important to bring some waterproof containers to put the stuff that can get broken in it. Also, extra clothing will save your life in this case. There is nothing worse than getting wet and then having to sit through the whole day in your wet clothes. Not to mention the fact that winds are tougher when you’re on the water. You have a serious chance of getting sick, so change your clothes as soon as you get wet. Also, don’t forget to put on the safety equipment!

5. Always Check the Forecast Beforehand

Bad weather conditions can ruin your kayaking experience and also put you in some serious danger. Always check the weather forecast beforehand, and if it seems to you like the weather’s worsening, immediately get out of water. A little bit of rain won’t hurt you, but a heavy rainfall could sink your kayak. Not to mention that the chances of it turning and throwing you into the water are very high in that kind of weather. Don’t be stubborn because it could cost you your life. Reschedule your kayaking trip and you’ll have a much better time.

6. Safety First!

If an accident happens, and you see that the situation’s getting out of hand, always try to help yourself and the people around you, rather than saving your kayak. Another kayak can always be bought, but you can’t put a price on your life. Also, make sure to wear safety equipment at all times. Learn the basics of first-aid, and try to stay as calm as possible. As much as kayaking can be fun, it can also be dangerous if you’re not careful and focused.

When you start kayaking, it’s important to be patient. Learn everything you can first, and only then go on the adventure. Always stay focused, because even the smallest mistake could ruin your whole experience. Kayaking can be whatever you make it, so prepare yourself and plan out your perfect kayaking adventure.