Kayaking safety tips that could save your life

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There’s nothing like paddling a kayak on a calm, sunny day.  But Raymond Sanborn, president of Kamaaina Kids, said it’s important to take precautions to ensure everyone stays safe.

“In an environment like Hawaii where we’re surrounded by water, the first thing is (kids) need to know how to swim and be comfortable in the water. And then make sure that you’re looking at a program and you’re getting instruction from someone,” Sanborn explained.

He said Kamaaina Kids requires all of its guides to be certified.

“We do a lot of staff trainings. Our staff always know what the best practices are, and we do in-service so they practice the skills that they have learned so they can do their life-guarding, lifesaving techniques if they ever need them,” Sanborn said.

The guides are also required to teach the kids skills before they get into the kayaks.

“We want to make sure that they learned, that they are given instructions on how to be safe on the water. That they know that their boats are good, they know how to handle the paddles, they know how to handle all of the equipment.”

Having the right equipment is also key according to Bob Twogood of Twogood Kayaks.

“For 13-year-olds and under, federal law requires that they be wearing a life jacket whenever they are on the water in a kayak or any other watercraft,” Twogood said.

Having the right size life vest is important. There are sizes for every age and body size from infant to extra large. And you also need to make sure the life jacket is worn properly. 

If it isn’t put on properly or it is too big, Twogood said it will float up to your neck when you go into the water.

“The way to put it on properly is to put all the slack out from this side,” Twogood explained as he snapped the three clips on the life vest and pulled each of the straps tight on the vest-specifically the straps around the waist.

“You need to snug this up so it’s nice and snug like so on both sides (of your waist). Now when the life jacket floats, it will lift you up in the water instead of coming up around your neck. That way it will help you rather than getting in your way,” Twogood said.

KHON: “What do you do if a kayak flips?”
“If the kayak flips, the very first thing that you want to do is grab the kayak,” Twogood said.

He said that if it’s windy and the kayak floats away from you, you could get into trouble.

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