SEA KAYAK SAFETY GUIDELINES
Every kayak owner should be familiar with the following:
  • In a non-commercial situation individuals are responsible for their own safety and cannot hold any individual or club liable for their safety.
  • Safety norms recommended are as follows: that paddlers attach a leash from boat to paddle (and to selves in extreme situations), wear flotation devices and carry pencil and smoke flares and a tow rope. Stay with your boat if capsized, or in difficulty as it is easier for a search party to spot a boat than a person. Practise self rescue techniques, preferably under adverse conditions, so you know how to remount your boat if you ever capsize.
  • It is suggested that one paddles in a group of 3 or more kayaks (or at least two boats together). Stay together if in trouble. If one party capsizes, stay in your boat - it is easier to help a swimmer while aboard than it is from the water.
  • Log a float plan. In other words tell someone responsible that you are going out, including the approximate route and expected ETA.
  • Carry a cellphone in a waterproof case whenever you go on the water. Have relevant emergency numbers pre-programmed (entire Cape Town area NSRI - 021 449 3500).
  • Adapt length of trip to paddling proficiency of participants.
  • Check all equipment before departing.
  • Check predicted weather conditions for when the trip is planned. If weather conditions look bad, rather cancel or postpone the trip.
  • Paddle into the wind initially so you can return home downwind.
  • Carry extra fluids, suntan cream, hat and warm clothing.
  • A good rule of thumb — as the smallest and most maneuverable vessel — stay out of the way of the larger vessels!

Paddling Alone

  • While theoretically one should never paddle solo, it is often too tempting not too. If you are going alone then you cannot take any safety shortcuts.
  • Always paddle within your limits. Stretch your limits when in a group only.
  • Know the weather conditions and the area - don't paddle solo in an unknown environment.
  • Always wear a PFD (personal flotation device) - a life jacket for those who are wondering.
  • You really should know how to get back into your kayak in case of a capsize. And you need to be able to do it in rough conditions. Always carry a cellphone in a waterproof pouch. And have NSRI and other safety numbers preprogrammed.
  • Always carry flares.
  • Always let a loved know where you are going and what time you expect to return. Call them when you are off the water. Make sure they know what to do if you fail to call.
And all the above applies even if you are in a group!!!!

Local Regulations
  • Navy requires that one stays more than 30m from the harbour wall.
  • No landing is allowed on Admiral's Beach, which is the small beach next to Long Beach.
  • Parks Board do not allow paddlers to land at Boulders Beach or to go around Foxy Rock.
  • Rules of the road / collision rules need to be known and adhered to - especially when manoeuvering in and out of the yacht club and harbour areas. It is important to know that one should paddle passing all moving vessels to port, ie keep to the right.

New rules for Seaforth and Fish Hoek beaches

As of July 2012 there are new rules as to landing and launching at these beaches. We have agreed to actively participate through self-regulation and regular non-compliance to these conditions may result in the entire beach areas being shut down to watercraft. Please abide by these rules and let others know of their existence.
If the areas where paddlers are allowed to land are busy with swimmers and beachgoers, as often happens in high season, please consider not landing at all.