Kayaking is one of the most enjoyable outdoor activities especially during the summer months when the waters are calm and the weather is sunny and bright.
However, the weather can quickly change and sometimes it starts raining while you are kayaking.
If you’re a novice kayaker, you may wonder if it is safe to kayak in the rain. And the answer is yes, it is safe to kayak in mild rain. I have done it a few times when the weather changed unexpectingly.
3 Big Things to Consider Before You Go Kayak In the Rain
If you are a novice kayaker, then this is for you. There are a few things you need to consider and think about before you go off kayaking in the rain. Let’s discuss those now:
#1. Your Skill Level
The first thing to consider when kayaking in the rain is your skill level. If you are a beginner kayaker, it may be best to avoid kayaking in the rain especially if the weather forecast predicts heavy rainfall, strong winds, or thunderstorms.
On the other hand, if you are an experienced kayaker, you can safely kayak in light rain without much trouble. Make sure that you are confident in your paddling skills and have enough experience before you attempt kayaking in the rain.
#2. Type of Kayaking You’re Planning
The second factor to consider is the type of kayaking you are planning to do. If you are planning a leisurely kayak trip in calm waters, you can safely kayak in the rain.
However, if you are planning to do a more advanced kayaking activity like white water kayaking or open water kayaking, it’s best to postpone it until the weather improves.
These types of kayaking activities require a higher level of skill and experience, and you don’t want to risk getting into difficulties in inclement weather conditions.
#3. Your Equipment
Another important factor to consider when kayaking in the rain is the equipment you use. Make sure you wear appropriate waterproof and windproof clothing, such as a rain jacket and pants, gloves, and a hat.
Also, make sure that your kayak is equipped with proper safety gear like a life jacket, paddle leash, and navigation equipment like a GPS or compass. Make sure to also check the kayak’s hull for any damage or leaks before heading out in the rain.
#4. Weather Forecast
When kayaking in the rain, it is essential to monitor the weather forecast. If the weather is expected to worsen, it’s advisable to cut your kayaking trip short and head back to shore.
It’s also important to avoid rivers or waterways that are known to flood during heavy rainfall. Always err on the side of caution and stay alert to changing weather conditions and sudden currents.
Finally, make sure you have a dry set of clothes in a waterproof bag for when you get back to shore. Nothing is worse than being wet and cold in the rain with a breeze coming at you.
When Should You Not Kayak?
Even if you are an experienced kayaker, there are certain conditions that make it unsafe to kayak. It is important to never attempt kayaking in extreme weather conditions such as high winds or storms. I do not recommend kayaking when the wind reaches over 15 knots or if there are waves more than a foot high. That can quickly lead to dangerous situation in a moment’s notice.
It is also not safe to kayak during times of low visibility, such as in fog or heavy cloud cover.
Moreover, it is best to avoid paddling in areas where the water current is too strong or choppy, and always check for any hidden debris or underwater obstacles before heading out.
What Weather Conditions are Best for Kayaking?
The best conditions for kayaking are calm waters with very little wind and a bright sunny day. This way, you can enjoy the sights and sounds of your surroundings without having to worry about the weather.
If there is light rain or cloud cover, it’s still okay to kayak as long as you dress appropriately and stay alert to changing weather conditions.
How Do You Stay Dry Kayaking in the Rain?
If you want to stay dry while kayaking in the rain, make sure to wear a waterproof jacket and pants, along with gloves and a cap.
A spray skirt can also be of great help in keeping your legs dry. In addition, make sure that all the seams on your clothing are taped or sealed. I also highly recommend you to bring extra clothes for when you return back to shore.
Does a Spray Skirt Really Help In Keeping the Kayak Dry?
Yes, a spray skirt is an essential piece of equipment for any kayaker who plans to paddle in the rain. The skirt helps keep you dry by preventing water from entering the cockpit of your kayak, while also helping to protect your legs from splashes and waves.
Furthermore, the skirt also provides some additional insulation against cold weather and windy conditions.
Are Kayaks Safe in Thunderstorms?
No, it is not safe to be in a kayak during a thunderstorm. Lightning can strike water and cause severe electrocution because of the conductive properties of water.
If lightning hits the water near you, it can travel through the kayak and cause serious injury or death.
Kayaking in the rain can be a fun and exciting experience but it is important to take the necessary precautions if you decide to kayak in inclement weather. I’ve kayaked in light rain but have had some anxiety-ridden moments in unpredictable weather so please make sure to take weather forecasting seriously.
By taking your skill level, type of kayaking, equipment, weather forecast, and river conditions into account before embarking on a trip, you will ensure your safety and have a more enjoyable kayaking experience.
Always remember to put safety first above all else.