Kayaking on Monterey Bay is delightful! From shore, colorful kayaks add an accent of beautiful contrast against the backdrop of ocean blue and shoreline. There are many places to rent kayaks and stand-up paddle boards:
On the Monterey Peninsula, most kayakers stay close to shore between Del Monte Beach in Monterey by the Commercial Wharf, and Lover’s Point in Pacific Grove.
Moss Landing is another popular kayak spot because you have a large slough to play in. Moss Landing is home to many sea otters, harbor seals, sea lions, and many bird species, so don’t be afraid if a pack of sea mammals slowly follow you down the slough.
Canoeing and kayaking are supposed to be fun, but both can also be dangerous. Follow these tips to make sure the next paddle trip is a safe one.
- Flotation is paramount to survival. Always carry a life jacket or life vest when paddling and more importantly, wear it.
- Other essential equipment for paddlers:
- a whistle or air horn (whistles are easily attached to a life vest)
- abailing or bilge device for quickly emptying a swamped canoe or kayak, and
- a spare paddle in case the primary one is damaged or lost.
- A paddle leash can help keep a paddle from being swept away in a strong current, but they should not be solely relied on or used in breaking surf conditions.
- If you capsize, remain calm and stay close to the kayak.
Part of canoeing or kayaking is knowing personal limitations. This is why knowing proper paddling techniques like bracing or turning into a wave is so important. Canoes and kayaks can get swamped or capsized by unobservant motor boats, surf or bad weather. Knowing what to do in these situations is crucial.
Equally important is knowing how to perform a self-rescue. While it is advisable to always paddle with a friend or group of friends, bear in mind that they may lack the necessary skills to assist in a rescue or they may be involved in a crisis of their own when help is needed. Practice self-rescue in shallow water with the aid of a friend or find out when the local paddling club will be holding a kayak clinic.
Although a capsize scenario usually comes on suddenly, always try to maintain a grip on the paddle. Not only is it needed to direct the boat back to shore, but with the aid of a paddle float it can aid in re-entry into a kayak.
Tips for Planning a Float Trip
Research the area to be paddled, review local weather reports and find out what the local water levels or tides will be. Be aware of the dangers of hypothermia and dress for immersion. While it might be warm outside, water temperatures can vary drastically and hypothermia can set in quickly.
Always leave a float plan with a friend or loved one so that someone will know where to start looking if the group fails to return on time. Paddle with a friend or a group and make sure that cell phones are stored in a dry bag and safely secured inside of the boat. For extra security, consider investing in a personal emergency locator beacon as cell phones may not always be functional or in range of a signal.
Kayaking and canoeing can be fun and safe, with the proper precautions. Paddle safely and have fun doing it.