ead on to find out about the necessary safety gear, and don’t attempt to head out without at least talking to an experienced paddler first. Better yet, take a lesson! We hear they offer some pretty sweet courses at the Eastern Mountain Sports Kayak School

Personal floatation device
This one is a no-brainer. Even if you think you’re a great swimmer, always bring a coast guard certified personal floatation device, or PFD, with you. Make sure you choose a PFD that fits properly and is comfortable, and wear it at all times when paddling in open water.

Keep a whistle on your PFD in case of emergencies, and blow it three times if you’re in distress. Three quick blasts is the international S.O.S. signal, so anyone who is able will respond to the call. Pea-less whistles are best, since there are no small pieces to break or get stuck.

HornA horn is slightly more bulky than a whistle, but it produces a significantly louder sound to alert rescuers to your location. Some come on a convenient lanyard so you can keep it around your neck. However, it’s better to attach it to your PFD, so you don’t run the risk of losing it if you capsize.

First aid kits
You wouldn’t head out on a trip in the woods without a first aid kit, and going out on the water shouldn’t be any different. Even a simple first aid kit could help save your life in an emergency situation.
Be sure to keep your first aid kit in a waterproof bag, and store it someplace where it will be easy to get to if you need it in a hurry. It is also advisable for everyone in your group to carry their own first aid kit in case of separation.