Kayaking Technique Forum

Find advice on all aspects of kayaking and using small boats on big water

Safety -- what's first?

I'm one of the students in the class mentioned in the posting, Incident Report -- Hypothermia with Patellar Injury. The incident made a big impression on the class and safety will now be a priority for us.

I had never paddled before I took the class and have no safety equipment at all, although I have clothing for XC skiing, some of which will work on the water. If I had unlimited funds, I would go to my local kayak store and buy everything even remotely related to safety. In the real world of budgets and bills-to-pay, my purchases will have to be staggered. So I have a question for more experienced paddlers. If you were starting to equip yourself, what would you buy first? What would your next priorities be?

My first purchase after the incident was a kayak capsize course and I thought perhaps a wetsuit should come next. I'd welcome the voices of experience on other priorities.

BTW, The kayak school provides a PFD, spray skirt, whistle, bailing can and tow rope with the boats. My XC ski stuff includes a couple of wonderful Lowe Alpine technical fleece base layer tops, some Polartec fleece sweaters, vests and hats, a windblock jacket and a waterproof jacket.