Advice on Kayaking alone.

I’m retiring and looking at buying a fishing Kayak for recreation and exercise. My friends advise against as I plan to go out alone most of the time. They say it is not safe alone. Any advise?

be realistic
Be realistic about your skills and equipment, and be cautious.

Make sure you dress for immersion. Should you flip over or get separated from your boat, this is what will keep you alive. Also wear your PFD at all times.

Bring the right gear for the conditions. If your boat was not made for waves or currents, stay out of them.

And bring gear to contact authorities, something like a SPOT or VHF.

It is real easy to get into trouble in cold weather or cold water.

Pick your water carefully, keep a close eye on the weather, maintain a bail-out bag with you in the boat, learn how to use the contents of the bail-out bag, learn to use your boat well, dress to stay dry if you fall into the water, dress for the water temps and not the air temps, and above all use your head.

The bail-out bag should contain fire making materials, high calorie food (like a protein bar and granola bars), a spare set of dry clothes, a “space” blanket, and maybe a small shelter of some kind (like one of the space blanket bivies). I also like to take some hot tea or hot chocolate in a thermos when the weather is cold.

As far as whether you are crazy to go alone, it all depends on your skill level and the other choices you make. I will say that it is very easy to get into big trouble fast, especially when alone. I lost a friend who was paddling in waters familiar to him a few years ago. He was very experienced and well equipped. The weather turned unexpectedly and instead of small waves in a protected cove, he found himself in big trouble.

On the other hand, my step-mother used to do everything wrong when she paddled and survived things without even much of a scare that would have killed stronger, younger people.

kayaking alone
Peter-ca and Big D thanks for the input. I’m pretty careful by nature and don’t see myself out alone unless the long rang forecast is good.

I’m looking at a Hobie Pro Angler, their supposed to be very stable.

Appreciate the input.

Don’t set yourself up for trouble by purchasing a “stable” kayak. You’re going to need to learn how to get in and out no matter what you buy.

Also, there are plenty of other kayaks out there just as stable as the Pro Angler at half the weight and price. Not to mention how notorious the Hobie Mirage systems are at splitting the drivewell.

review of Mirage drive

– Last Updated: Nov-09-10 12:09 PM EST –

There is a review of the Mirage Drive (as compared to native Watercraft's pedal drive and also comparing to paddling) in California Kayaker's summer 2010 issue, which is available online for free at

I agree with the comment that stable doesn't always make safe. Definitely learn how to get on the boat from a swimming position. Big, wide stable boats can actually be worse in waves than a narrow sea kayak, so keep that in mind.

Stable Kayaks
I know the Pro Angler is heavy but the reason it appealed to me is I am a big person, 6’2 280. The capacity of the Angler was 600lbs. I didn’t see a lot of Kayaks that would support my size and weight.

By the way I’m not a big lard ass, I work out I’m just really really big boned. LOL

Check out the Native Manta Ray 14 (375#), Ocean Kayak Trident 15 (550#), Wilderness Systems Commander 140 (475#), Malibu XFactor (625#), Malibu eXtreme (525#), Wilderness Tarpon 160 (375#), Native Ultimate 14.5 (450#), Wilderness Ride 135 (375#), etc…

All these have plenty of legroom for someone 6’2".

There is no real standard for the weight ranges used across the manufacturers, so the maximum weight for one may indicate the point at which it submerges while it may mean something different for another boat.

I would suggest a SOT because there is less risk of it sinking and self rescue is easier.

If you go out alone, you need to seriously bump up your margin for safety. Have a Plan B, C, and D. Make sure you post a float plan and stick to it. Get a drysuit and test it. Carry a compass, maps, and a GPS. Maybe a SPOT or VHF radio depending on your area. Consider what all might go wrong and have the gear and knowledge to make good decisions.


Kayaking Alone
Thanks for all the advise. Its all about planning, safety and having the right equipment.

Cant wait till spring so I can test drive a few yaks and decide which is best for me.

I know most of you are paddlers but just from a pure fishing and ergonomics standpoint I still like the Pro Angler. I know it’s expensive but my wife is buying it for me as a retirement gift. Moneys no object,LOL

Thanks again for the advise.

I’ve been kayak fishing for ten years and it’s the only paddling I do. I’ve also been working at an outdoor retailer for five years. Be sure to test a lot of kayaks before you buy. There are a lot of options out there.

Been kayaking alone for years
and now I’m 64. I kayak the Fraser River in BC, fishing for salmon, as well as some coastal salt water and other lakes and rivers. I did a two day wilderness trip about six years ago alone, paddling in the moonlight below bright glaciers on the peaks above.

Several of my friends also think it that kayaking alone is too unsafe. I have a lot of years of water experience, paddling, skin diving in white water rivers and tidal currents, some surfing, and have a pretty good feel for going with what the water gives rather than fighting it.

Yet I may drown due to being alone and not having help, though hypothermia when disabled would be more likely. I also may get hit by lightning, or skid on an icy road under a fuel tanker truck tomorrow morning.

Weigh your abilities (honestly) vs the risk and make the call, for you. I don’t recommend my risks to anyone else, but if I have to wait and go only when a companion can, the majority of my outdoor pursuits would not happen. I do not consider myself a thrill seeker nor do I need adrenaline highs: I just enjoy a lot of outdoor stuff that happens to have some built in risks.

advice on kayaking alone…
My advice is kayak alone as often as possible.

just stay …

– Last Updated: Nov-22-10 6:29 PM EST –

....... on calm waters . Mild easy water and wind conditions that are pleasant to paddle in . Avoid paddling when the water temps. are 60 F. or below (cold water and/or hypothermia conditions are real and should "never" be ignored , read up and review it , and "believe" it) , and always wear your PFD ... avoid paddling around high speed power boats .

If you have some particular health condition that could be restrictive under certain circumstances , that will have to be your judgement/ballance call as always too .

These few things should keep you out of harms way . As you paddle more and more you almost unavoidably encounter increased water and wind conditions just as matter of course , being out there paddling and fishing . As the conditions you "see in front of you" at the time expose themselves , it's up to you what you do from there ... call it a "no go" today or get off the water , or choose to enter into the more challanging conditions and thier assocciated increases (incremental) in risk (it's a scale that starts at about 2 and goes off the charts - you can stay at 2 if you want to minimize almost all risk and fish till end of the time) .

Staying in the boat on top the water is the first objective . There is no reason to end up in the water swimming or worse if you stay in calm mild conditions ... go have fun , adventure , have a look around , start easy and choose your comfort or policy level from there . It's when you enter faster (moving) waters , rough waters , higher winds that control of yourself and boat can become compromised to degrees enough that put you into the water swimming ... avoid that if you aren't willing to risk it and you stay in the boat on top the water always (careful about standing up , only you know how good your ballance and reflexes are there , paddle craft rock some from side to side) .

out alone yesterday and today
The peace is awesome. There were some inconveniences but the time alone was well worth it. Though there were some heart stopping bumps that had me thinking alligator. They were just underwater cyprus knees. That’ll get your heart rate up if nothing else does.

kayak fishing alone
i do alot of fishing and duck hunting alone from my 14’ kayak. yes they are rather tipsy, i have made outriggers for mine out of pvc pipe and boat floats

same as you

I think we got the same dilemma, but yea, getting yourself with a well plan and a good knowledge is a must. From paddling to capsizing technique, from gear to PFDs, and it’s from A to Z. But and again, probably unlike you, the place where I came from, we have a quite numbers of crocs laying around. I’m still trying to get a good sonar/fish detector which can give me a rough estimation of what is below me, and that is on the river side. On the shoreline, it is quite safe for me though, although every 10miles or so, I would bump into with estuaries. So, every time I bumped one, I would say “CROCSSSS!!!”.