Kayak Safety and Precautions

Kayak Safety: 5 Things You Need to Know

Kayaking is a rewarding experience. If you have adequate navigational and paddling skills, as well as loads of common sense, you can go ahead and enjoy this sport to your heart’s content.  However, no matter how experienced you may be a comprehensive review on kayak safety and precautions is always a great way to start your kayaking ventures. In this article, we’ve listed the 5 most important kayak safety tips and precautions to keep in mind while on a kayak holiday.

1.) The Kayak Equipment
Before you even plan for a kayaking trip, check if your kayak is in good condition and your paddles are sturdy. The skirt should fit you and your kayak. There should be plenty of secure buoyancy and don’t forget to bring your life-jacket, the most important part of kayak safety. Your clothing should be suitable according to the weather conditions of the place where you intend to go as well as the water temperatures. You should also have signaling devices, flares, a bilge pump and self-rescue aids. Remember to bring a compass, water bottle, maps and charts.

2.) Learn About Hypothermia
Hypothermia is one of the biggest dangers for sea kayakers. Therefore, read about the conditions in the area you plan on kayaking before you go. You should be wearing appropriate clothing and sufficient insulating garments when kayaking in cold water. You need to dress according to the water temperature.

3.) Wind and Currents
One should avoid paddling on windy days, as a strong wind can create fatigue very quickly.  People don’t realize, but a little headwind can separate two kayakers in seconds.  It can also slow you down and make it difficult for you to turn.  Avoid kayaking in foggy conditions as well as it can lead to complete disorientation.  Likewise, you need to be careful about the currents.  Strong currents can also quickly take you off course, but are harder to notice than wind. Make sure you read the weather forecast before you go out.

4.) Avoid Going Alone
It is always advisable to go in a group or at least let your family and friends know exactly where you pan to go kayaking.  Always carry kayak safety equipment and a waterproof bag.

5.) Watch Out for Crowds
Don’t assume that you can be easily seen by other ships, powerboats, tugboats or float planes. It is important to make yourself visible. Cross those shipping lanes fast and only at right angles. Don’t underestimate the speed of bigger ships.

Keep the above kayak safety tips and precautions in mind before you go kayaking or plan your next adventure. It’s better to be prepared with the necessary items and knowledge that even the most advanced kayakers require, ensuring a great time and plenty of fun with safety as the number one priority. Happy kayaking!

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Kayak Rentals in Sarasota Florida

kayaks along the beach front of lido key

Kayak Rentals For Some Sarasota Fun!

Are you ready to hit the bay? How about taking a relaxing leisurely float down one of the many river routes that empty into gorgeous Gulf of Mexico? Maybe you have always wanted to go to Anna Maria Island, or see Longboat Key? Do any of these strike your fancy? If so, then kayak rentals and adventure might just be the perfect thing for you. If you aren’t sure how to go about planning the perfect kayaking trip, consider finding a good Sarasota kayak rental company first. A company that will not only provide you with the perfect transportation to enjoy scenic Florida, but will also plan your route for maximum enjoyment.

kayaks used for our kayaking tours
Kayaks all lined up under the Florida Sun

Planning your adventure is what renting a kayak from Bay and Gulf Adventures is all about. We will come up with the route that fits both your personality and desires, so that you experience the best kayaking trip ever. Whether it’s a tour of Lido Key and Siesta Key, or exploring the exotic mangrove tunnels, we can help you plan the perfect trip. It all starts with choosing the best Sarasota kayak rentals the Sarasota Bay area has to offer.

Sarasota, Florida is a hotbed for kayak rentals and there are a lot of different companies that will rent you a kayak, help you plan your trip or take you on guided tours. Then, there is going at it alone, renting a kayak without the aid of a company, without a plan and just winging it. While that can be fun, it can also make for some unforeseeable mishaps. The possibility of getting lost is very real, as is encountering dangerous wildlife. So, when it comes to having the perfect kayaking trip, you are much better off if you plan it out with a seasoned expert who knows where the best spots to see Sarasota’s wildlife, plant life and sea creatures are.

Sarasota kayaking tour guide Scott Whitehead
Me and my truck!

Bay and Gulf Adventures offers an array of  kayak rentals in Sarasota and is the best place to start your kayaking vacation. We will help you with all of the necessary arrangements so that you have memories that will last a lifetime.

Including Sarasota Kayaking in Your Florida Vacation

dolphin spotted on sarasota bay kayaking tours

Create Memories with Sarasota Kayaking Trips

Vacations are a blast and can be even better with a Sarasota kayaking trip. Coming up with exciting vacation activities is so much fun. From hiking, to sightseeing, to eating wild and original cuisine, there are always tons of options to choose from. However, for a fun and original way to spend a vacation, kayaking may be the most underrated way to have a great time.There are many locations nationwide that offer kayaking tours, but one of the best around is Sarasota, Florida. Florida is a great location to find many of nature’s wonders and a kayaking outing only adds to the pleasure.

Sarasota kayaking is something that’s been around for some time now. Sarasota offers wonderful scenery, complete with lush greenery and wild animals that highlight Florida’s rich, natural environment. Sightings of many animals including dolphins, manatees, great egrets, and ospreys can occur at any time while out on the trails and waterways of Sarasota.

A trip can be planned by yourself or by a professional vacation planning company to allow for maximum enjoyment and the ability to see all that Sarasota has to offer. Finding the right mix of vacation pleasures is very important when planning a kayaking trip to Sarasota, and there are many different kayaking vacation companies that can outline an entire trip for you. It is important to remember that not all kayaking companies are the same and it is best to do some research to find the best one that offers the best sightseeing, activities, and kayaking packages that you can find.

Osprey Near Robert's Bay, Sarasota
Osprey Near Robert’s Bay, Sarasota

For those that are looking for a little adventure in their vacations, it isn’t necessary to look any further than a Sarasota kayaking package. From shooting through mangrove tunnels, to leisurely cruises down a serene river, through beautiful scenery and vibrant wildlife, Sarasota has all that you could ask for in a kayaking vacation destination.

Giving yourself something to remember is what’s most important when on vacation, and a kayaking trip to Sarasota could be the memory of a lifetime. With all that Sarasota has to offer, do yourself a favor and book a fun, relaxing, memorable kayaking vacation now.

Sarasota Sea-Life From our Kayaking Adventure

Sarasota Sea-Life

Sarasota Bay is rich with plants and animals. The clear water attracts dolphins, manateers, cormorants, ospreys, all sorts of fish. You can also see smaller examples of sea-life like urchins. Most people, when they think of urchins think of the big black ones with the long spines that can sting you.  Well, I used to work at the Mote Aquarium, so I can show my kayakers a safer kind of urchin.

As we were kayaking through Sarasota Bay I found a full sized variegated sea urchin.  In order to find them you have to look for a collection of white shells on the bottom of the bay.  The urchins will throw a collection of shells on top of their spines to protect themselves.  This type of urchin does not sting and it has a nice, pretty purple color to it.

Sea urchins are members of the same animal family as starfish.  It’s true!  Sometimes I stump my groups with that question but this time one of my kayakers knew the answer right away.  And he was a landlubber from Kansas City!

When I picked up the urchin it had a bunch of shells on top of it and it let go.  If it had wanted to it could have held on to those shells because, if you look closely, you can see that sea urchins’ spines end in little suction cups, like the arms of starfish.  The spines are always moving.  When you touch one spine, all the others move towards the point of contact.  Sea urchins can move freely around the seabed.

After explaining more about sea urchins and warning my kayakers not to pick up just any old sea urchin they see, I passed the one I found around.  The kids had a good time making faces at the urchin for a while.  Then I returned him to the water.

Kayaking in Florida – The 3 Hot Spots

sarasota kayaking tour clients

Kayaking in Florida

Top 3 Best Kayaking Adventure Spots

Kayaking in Florida is an adventurous, fun and exciting experience for anyone looking to enjoy all of the spectacular scenery that Florida has to offer. It’s summer time and there is no better place to relax, soak up the sun and enjoy the sandy beaches then Sarasota. In 2011, Florida drew the attraction of more than 85 million visitors with Sarasota accounting for a large percentage of those visits. Tourism is a major part of the economic model for Sarasota and with the #1 rated beach in the nation that comes as no surprise.

Aside from the perfect weather conditions, rich cultural and historical elements and absolutely breathtaking sunsets, kayaking in Florida has become a favorite past time and  “must have” for many summer visitors. With over 1,200 miles of coastline begging for exploration, it can be hard to pinpoint the best places for a kayaking tour. Here are some recommendations for the best Florida kayaking adventure spots right here in sunny Sarasota.

1. Lido Key

looking out over the water of lido key

Lido Key is actually a barrier island off the coast of Sarasota just south of the famous Siesta Key Beach. The island pays tribute to the rich history of Sarasota and is home to the one of the most recognizable plants in all of Florida; the mangrove. There are over 100 species of mangrove trees throughout the world, but you don’t have to travel to the far ends of the Earth to see them. Lido Key is home to some of the most beautiful displays of mangrove landscapes and kayaking in Florida’s Lido Key gives you the opportunity to see these magnificent trees and experience them in all of their glory. Kayaking through the mangroves include the mangrove tunnels which have been naturally created by the waterways and estuaries of Sarasota. The mangrove tunnels provide a natural habitat for various other plants and animals like the mangrove crab. There are  plenty of opportunity for those kodak moments as well. Here’s some more information about kayaking in Florida’s mangrove tunnels.

2. Myakka River State Park

river shot during myakka river kayaking tourSouthwest of Sarasota’s beaches lies Florida’s famous Myakka State Park, a highly desired stop for kayaking in Florida. The Myakka River is a 68 mile long waterway that stretches from Manatee County down to the Charlotte Harbor, a part of the Gulf of the Mexico. For kayaking adventures, there is a 12 mile stretch of the Myakka River that is specifically reserved for kayak tours. One of the most beautiful things about kayaking on the Myakka River is the abundance of wildlife that you are guaranteed to encounter along your journey. It’s not uncommon to see deer, wild boar, wild turkey, turtles, alligators and a many other types of natural wildlife. But the fun doesn’t stop on the river. For bird lovers, Myakka State Park offers attractions like the “Canopy Walk”, taking you 25 feet above the ground and into the tree tops, giving an up close and personal look into tree top inhabitants. For more information about Myakka River, read our Myakka River kayak tour introduction.

3. The Jim Neville Preserve

Kayaking Through Mangrove TunnelFor those cindering kayaking in Florida, the Jim Neville Preserve is a destination like no other. Covering a 35-acre protected area surrounding Sarasota’s Midnight Pass and Little Sarasota Bay, the preserve is host to a variety of plant and animal life, including manatees. We even had a manatee swim right under one our kayaks! The shallow waters of the preserve provide perfect conditions for these beautiful mammals and are wonderful memories for kayaking in Florida. In the winter months, migrating birds from all over the United States make there way to the Jim Neville Preserve, calling it home for the remainder of the winter. Kayaking the preserve takes you through the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Siesta Key, emptying into Sarasota Bay. You can find more information about the preserve at our Jim Neville Preserve kayak tour page.

Kayaking in Florida is a great way to experience all that Florida has to offer, but can be a much more rewarding experience if you know the best places to kayak. So, pack your bags, grab your sunblock and head down to Sarasota for a Florida kayaking adventure you won’t soon forget. Be sure to check out our kayaking tour gallery for some great pictures!

Sarasota Kayaking Adventure Video Pt 2

looking out over the water of lido key

Watch the next part of our kayaking adventure video where we travel through the famous mangrove tunnels of Lido Key!

The mangrove tunnels are always a highlight of the kayaking tour.  Everyone loves gliding into the mangrove forests.  They are nice and quiet and cool and calming.  Kids and parents alike love exploring these little hidden channels and catching the wildlife that lives in the water and on the mangroves.

As I explained to our adventurers, these mangrove tunnels are man-made.  Back in the 50’s the residents of Lido Key had a terrible mosquito problem.  They brought in the Army Corps of Engineers to assess the problem.  What they found was a large freshwater lagoon in what is now South Lido County Park.  This fresh water lagoon was a perfect breeding ground for mosquitos.  Then the Army Corps of Engineers came up with a really cool solution.  They cut narrow, winding channels between the bay and the lagoon.  The salt water from the bay filled the lagoon and since mosquitos can’t lay eggs in salt water, the mosquito problem was over!  Not only was the problem solved but the residents of Sarasota got these beautiful mangrove tunnels to explore and to show to visitors.

There are many channels to explore through the mangroves.  We went through three of them in our kayaks.

There are lots of animals that live in the mangroves.  One is the mangrove crab.  We saw lots of these.  They are small black crabs that live in the mangroves and eat plant matter that collect on them.  They look a little bit like spiders but don’t be afraid, they won’t jump at you!

We also saw starfish.  A big one and a little one.  There is lots of wildlife in the mangroves, I’ll share more with you again soon!

 

Kayak Rentals in Sarasota

kayaking shot front of boat in sarasota

Need A Kayak Rental?

For those looking for a more personalized kayaking experience Scott will recommend some of the best launch sites in the area and deliver the kayaks to you.

Go exploring! Some of our favorite spots in Sarasota Bay are the bird rookeries of Robert’s Bay, the dolphin sightings of the Jim Neville Nature Preserve, the alligators of Myakka State Park, and of course, the beautiful mangrove tunnels of Lido Key.

But don’t let that limit you! Design your own tour with Scott’s help. Just be careful out there and bring lots of water and sunscreen.

Book today or call us at (941)893-7221.

Bill’s Sarasota Kayaking Experience

sarasota kayaking tour clients

From Bill Connor of Islip NY.

I’m from New York, East Islip to be exact, which is a small town in Suffolk County out on Long Island. We went down to the Sarasota area to look at potential vacation homes and to enjoy a short 4 night vacation. We decided to go kayaking because we just wanted to enjoy some physical activity while enjoying the water and nature. I made the arrangements with Scott after my plans with another Kayak company fell through. I had found the other company on Trip Advisor. I luckily picked up a card at the desk at our hotel, the Lido Beach Resort.

Scott was awesome on the trip , we had plans to leave at 10AM, and we actually left early since we were a small group, 2 kayaks and 4 people total we got a lot of individual attention from Scott. His instructions and safety tips on using the kayak were right on mark and my wife and her sister were very much at ease while using the kayaks.

Scott was very informative, not just on the wild life we saw,birds, crabs, herons, ibises, pelicans, osprey, but also shared information about the various keys we toured and the history of the area.

I was a little concerned because it was my idea to go kayaking, but everyone agreed that it was the highlight of our trip and everyone would love to go out on the bay with Scott on our next trip. I really thought that the value/ quality of kayaking with Scott was off of the charts.

-Bill Connor