Kayaking participant safety and instruction briefing

  1. Do not participate in this activity under the influence of alcohol, drugs or medication. Ensure you advise our guides about pregnancy, or medical conditions that might affect your activity. We are going into an extreme location. Don’t take unnecessary risks
  2. We will be following the coast along a rugged coastline exploring caves along the way with the possibility of getting out the water for swimming and snorkelling if conditions allow.
  3. All participants must have signed a disclaimer form.
  4. Do not participate in this activity under the influence of alcohol, drugs or medication. Ensure you advise our guides about pregnancy, or medical conditions that might affect your activity.
  5. All the guides are rescue trained and experienced with groups in rugged environments so learn from them. We may appear relaxed but at all times we are assessing your safety to provide the right excitement / safety balance. But, if there is a severe injury, emergency exits have been planned along the route and the guides also carry flares and smoke to aid in a helicopter rescue if necessary.
  6. It is very important that everybody is aware of others safety around them especially when manoeuvring within close proximity of each other due to possible paddle related injuries.
  7. The person in your kayak is your buddy and you are each responsible to look after each other. If you need help, ask a guide.
  8. This activity has lots of different skill aspects to it so if you are new to this sport there is a lot to learn. Anything you do not remember ask your buddy or a fellow participant, or a guide to demonstrate.
  9. The equipment you are wearing is for your own safety and will provide protection from accidental paddle strikes and from close proximity with rocks when entering caves.
  10. Do not remove or adjust any of your equipment without checking with your guide as it is there for your safety. In this environment hazards can be unseen by you.
  11. When walking on rocks and slipways be aware that your feet will be wet and can therefore cause rocks to become slippery. Also be aware that some locations will have algae growing on the surface and is inherently slippery. Tread carefully and communicate with each other if you come across a slippery section.
  12. Shoes must be worn at all times when entering or exiting the kayak due to unseen objects under the water.
  13. Helmets must be worn at all times when entering or exiting the kayak to protect from slips and falls.
  14. The kayaks should be launched one at a time and be assisted by a guide so that everybody is clear on the plan.
  15. If there is swell, wait for calmer water before entering or exiting the water.
  16. When entering and exiting the kayaks it is important to keep your centre of mass low and sit down as soon as possible as this provides the greatest balance within the kayak.
  17. When entering the kayak from deep water be aware that the kayak will want to tip and capsize. Wait for assistance from another kayak or a guide to keep the kayak from tipping over.
  18. If you decide to jump into the water, take instruction from your guide where a safe and appropriate place is. Be aware of rocks and jellyfish when getting in and out of the water.

Kayak techniques

  1. Hold the paddle correctly
  2. The front person sets the timing of the strokes. The rear person follows the same timing. This avoids paddle clashes.
  3. Start paddling more slowly so the rear person can copy the strokes before speeding up.
  4. The rear person sets the direction by steering the kayak.
  5. To steer, either paddle only on one side or take wider strokes and the kayak will start to turn.
  6. You should look at some marker in the distance, a rock, a tree a building, so you only need to make small adjustments to keep your kayak in a straight line.
  7. To slow down or stop, push your paddles in the water backwards using each paddle blade at a time. Keep paddling backwards to go in a backwards direction.
  8. Look out for waves approaching and steer your kayak into the oncoming waves. If you capsize, stay calm and a guide will help you.

Difficulties and rescue

  1. The sea is the most dangerous aspect of this adventure.
  2. When in the water, your buoyancy aid will provide floatation however it will not keep you upright if you fall unconscious. If you see anybody not responding or in trouble alert a guide immediately so we can assess the situation and take action if necessary.
  3. When in the water loose clothing will create drag and tire you out quicker than usual, so take it slow.
  4. If you find yourself drifting in the wrong direction (either in a kayak or swimming) stay calm. Establish eye contact with a guide so you know he can see you and wave them over. He may give this sign (hand on head) to ask if you are calm and okay. If you are, you must respond with the same signal.
  5. If there is a problem, try to respond by holding your hand up or waving your arm above your head until you see the guide respond with the okay sign (hand on head).
  6. Although you may feel alone, there is never any need to panic as we always have a plan to get you back to safety. So remain calm until help arrives.
  7. Due to the nature of inflatable kayaks it is possible that a valve may be knocked loose or sharp rock may puncture the kayaks.
  8. Take care near sharp rocks not to damage the kayak.
  9. These kayaks are multi-chambered, so if one section loses air there is enough air in other sections. The kayak will not sink.
  10. The air pressure in the kayak is affected by the air and water temperatures. So colder water may cause the kayak to appear to lose air.
  11. If your kayak is losing air, alert a guide and they will be able to assist with a pump or emergency patches that are being carries.
  12. In the event of difficulty while kayaking/swimming a guide will proceed as follows:
  13. He will indicate the direction you should paddle/swim in
  14. He will come and coach you on any possible reasons they can see as to the trouble being caused
  15. He will offer you a tow-line which will be attached to the front of your kayak or you hold and assist in heading to safety
  16. If the emergency is severe enough (injury or kayak failure) the guide(s) will get everybody to the nearest emergency landing area to assess the situation easier.
  17. Heat stroke and dehydration is common on this activity so wear suncream, drink frequently, the guides will put extra water in the kayaks that can be drunk by anybody in the group and also have some snacks if needed.
  18. If you feel tired, scared or unwell, inform a buddy or a guide and stay close to the group. Ask for help early don’t ”tough it out” too long.
  19. In case of minor injuries a first aid kit is always carried by a guide.
  20. Don’t drop litter, put it in either a bag or the netting on the deck of the kayak.