Kayaking Technique Forum

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Re: Swimming skills
In Response To: Swimming skills ()

: One of my co-workers wants to go sea kyaking in a marsh on the Maine coast.
: He does not know how to swim, so my first instinct was to say NO. Is
: swimming a reasonable pre-requisite, or can he rely on his pfd?

: Thanks,
: Tom

I responded to this thread before reading the other posts, now that I have read them, I must DISAGREE strongly. A non-swimmer has no business being in, on or around the water. He or she is just playing dice with their life. In fact, I am somewhat bewildered by the question, and very glad you asked. Don't even THINK about it. 2-3 months of swimming lessons will make a profound difference. Included in swimming lessons should be training in mouth to mouth respiration, clearance of airways, a basic knowledge of circulation and breathing anatomy and physiology, a basic knowledge of hypothermia, and as I mentioned before, a basic knowledge of how to perform rescues of incapacitated swimmers. All kayakers must know the basic HELP position, how to tread water, front crawl with head in and out of the water, and at least 1 resting stroke such as the breast stroke, side stroke or back stroke to conserve energy. These fundamentals should eventually include practise at swimming with a paddle, use of fins, mask and snorkel. The very thought of a kayaking without swimming skills is the height of bad judgement.

Sorry about coming on so strong, but I would rather have you resent me for my opinionated reply, than curse me later for not advising you on what is basic water safety. A couple of months of swim lessons and your friend will be good to go.