Life Vests Are Essential When Kayaking & Canoeing

December 17, 2014 | Category: Boating Accidents | Share

Florida has beautiful weather, sandy beaches and a multitude of opportunities for kayak lovers. A day on the water can turn from wonderful to devastating in just a short time. A case in point is the kayak accident reported by NBC-2 News off San Carlos Bay Friday, December 12. Lee County Emergency Medical Services reported that two men were kayaking when the kayak flipped around 8:45 p.m. and 9:40 p.m. One of the kayakers was rescued; the Coast Guard was still looking for the other kayaker when the news report aired. It has now been reported that the second kayaker died in the accident. Authorities report that neither kayaker was wearing a lift vest. 

Life Vests Are Essential When Kayaking & Canoeing - Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A."With Southwest Florida's population increasing during the winter months, and many adding kayaking and canoeing to their activities, reviewing kayak safety information is important not only for novices, but also for veterans," says Boating Accident Attorney, Randall Spivey of Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.

The Paradise Coast Paddlers Club of Southwest Florida promotes safe kayaking education. The club says, "Enjoy the water, but respect it." On their website, the club provides important information from the American Canoe Association for kayakers:

  • Cold Water Safety
  • Paddler Ethics and Conduct  Brochure
  • Safe Coastal Kayaking Wall Chart
  • Safety Checklist Brochure
  • Smart Start for Safe Paddling Brochure

The Wall Chart and Safety Checklist both list the need for life vests to be safe when kayaking and canoeing.

Specifically, the ACA Safety Wall Chart covers these important topics:

  • Understand the Hazards
  • Preparing Yourself & Knowing Your Individual Responsibilities
  • Prepare Your Boat and Equipment
  • Know How to Rescue Yourself and Others
  • Be Able to Communicate with Others
  • Information for Groups

Specific information on these subjects will be found on the link above.

Understand the Hazards: - To protect themselves paddlers (kayakers and canoeists), need to know the tides and tidal currents in addition to understanding the wind, waves and weather. Any, or all, of these forces are vital for safety. Also, knowing where and how to safely beach kayaks is important. Fog can be disorienting for paddlers. Knowing and following the "rules of the road" for boating is vital. The ACA offers certificate courses for all levels.

Preparing  Yourself & Knowing Your Individual Responsibilities - ACA says to always wear a lifejacket and be comfortable out of the kayak and in the water. They further recommend that paddlers obtain the knowledge, skills and ability necessary for coastal kayaking. Kayaking in a group of at least three kayaks is recommended. Practice self-rescuing techniques. Filing a float plan with family, friends or authorities will make it easier for them to find the paddler(s) should he/they become disoriented. Bring appropriate navigational aids and more than adequate food, water and extra protective clothing. Have the activity level match your expertise. Monitor both the physical and emotional condition of those kayaking. Be sure to follow all the local, state and federal laws.

"Specific information on the other subjects covered on the Safety Wall Chart may be found by clicking on the Safety Wall Chart link above. Enjoy paddling around the Southwest Florida waters, but do it safely and review the Paradise Cost Paddlers Club website before venturing out," says Fort Myers Boating Accident Attorney, Randall Spivey. 


Fort Myers Boating Accident Attorney, Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one (1%) percent of Florida attorneys. He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida. For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at  239. 337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839, or by email to  Visit  for more information. You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. in Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.

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