How to stay safe while kayaking


Firefighters in Huntsville are reminding everyone to be prepared when getting out on the water. They say they’ve seen more and more kayak rescues this summer.  

Huntsville firefighters rescued four kayakers Saturday evening after getting stranded near McMullen cove. The kayakers weren’t using an outfitter service, and it was dark while they were on the river. Because they couldn’t see what was up ahead, they ran into a downed tree. Firefighters say to keep an eye out for strainers, like tree limbs and large rocks.

Huntsville Fire & Rescue Division Chief, Wesley Ogle, said, “With the current pushing them, they may get pushed into something like that and get tangled up in it or get knocked out of their vessel.”

And it’s always a good idea to get training and go through a safety course with professionals.

“For the most part, people are not trained. Like I said, you can go to Walmart and buy a kayak you know for 150 dollars and go get on the river.”

A lot of people think they will be fine not wearing a life jacket, but first responders say putting one of these on before taking off in a kayak is an easy thing you can do to stay safe.

“According to statistics, 48 percent of kayak accident fatalities was a person that was not wearing a life jacket. ​Another good thing to keep in the boat with you is some type of throw-able device, so if someone was to fall out of the boat, you would have something to throw to them so that they can hold on to it to stay afloat.”

Just in case something does happen, keep your cell phone in a dry bag or box so you can call for help.

If going out on your own, plan the trip properly so that you have time to get out of the water before the sun goes down.

First responders also say alcohol is a leading factor of kayaking accidents. They suggest avoiding drinking while in the water.


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