The only thing more important than catching fish is staying safe. Pro anglers push the limits further, relying on an arsenal of well-tested gear to safeguard them on the water. But there’s really no reason your average weekend warrior shouldn’t benefit from the same safety equipment. If the pros won’t hit the water without this essential life-saving gear, neither should you.
Marine 200 Kit
$44 | adventuremedicalkits.com
A first aid kit holds everything you might need in an emergency, like bandages and gauze to dress cuts and lacerations, as well as ibuprofen for minor aches and pains. You can also keep Clif Bars and bottles of water in the pack, just in case a friend forgot to bring food and water.
Tikka XP Headlamp
$55 | petzl.com
It’s a good idea to keep a headlamp and fresh batteries in your pack, in case something was to happen and you were stuck on the water after sunset. Use the lamp to light your way and signal rescuers.
Solution Paddle Leash
$25 | seatosummit.com
When fighting a fish it’s easy to lose track of your paddle. Or, if you flip the boat, you don’t want to lose your paddle to the current. Attach the paddle leash to the center of the kayak so it can stretch to either gunwale. A quick-release clip allows you to disconnect the paddle when it is not needed. Don’t find yourself up a creek without a paddle!
Kids Sting-Free, Tear-Free Sunscreen, SPF 50
$10 | bananaboat.com
A high-protection sunscreen can save your hide in hot weather and high sun. In addition to preventing sun damage, sunscreen slows dehydration and reduces pain. A kids’ sunscreen has the highest sun protection factor and it doesn’t sting if it drips into your eyes.
Water Treatment Drops
$15 | aquamira.com
Water-purifying drops (usually silver nitrate) will eliminate biological risks from water. Metals and soil will still be there but infection factors can be eliminated from water in an emergency.
Hydroskin 0.5 Long Sleeve Shirt
Hydroskin 0.5 Pants
$100 each | nrs.com
Even in sultry, hot weather, a surprise cold wind or rain can put you at risk of hypothermia. Hydroskin from NRS is a thin neoprene layer you can wear as an outer layer when it’s warm and a base layer in the cold. The material is soft and breathable, so it doesn’t feel like a musty wetsuit. Wearing the pants and shirt keeps you warm when wet, which can be better for life saving than rain gear in a kayak.
HX890 Marine VHF
$210 | standardhorizon.com
You may mostly use a handheld VHF radio to talk to your fishing buddies on the water, but it can also get you out of trouble. A marine radio can put you in contact with Coast Guard and other rescue services and includes NOAA weather channels, emergency beacon and strobe. The HX890 floats and charges with a USB cord.
Life-saving buoys are great, but there is plenty of gear you can carry on a kayak to help keep you safe on the water. | Feature photo: Thu Trang/Pexels