Behind the Paddle: How to Prepare Children for a Kayaking Experience
In today’s fast-paced and tech-centric world, it may seem more challenging than ever to find activities that the whole family enjoys. Kayaking, however, is one of them. Kayaking is a versatile sport that’s accessible to people of all ages and abilities. Children can learn to kayak just as easily as adults, and they can have just as much fun out on the water, if not more!
When Can Children Kayak?
Parents, especially those who enjoy kayaking themselves, may be eager to take their children out on the water as soon as possible. While there is no concrete rule for determining when it’s okay to bring your child out on a kayaking adventure, the United States Coast Guard offers some basic guidelines for adults to help them know when the time is right to bring their child along for the ride. According to the Coast Guard, a child must:
- Weigh 18 pounds or more
- Be able to float on the water
- Be able to sit upright and still
Additionally, children must be able to wear a personal flotation device that fits correctly.
Along with these physical characteristics, the Coast Guard recommends a minimum age of at least two for taking a child out on the water. Children aged two and five should ride in the same boat as their parents. Older children can kayak solo, provided they have a boat matched for their size and skill level and they’re wearing proper safety equipment.
Where to go Kayaking
Many parents ask themselves, “where can I kayak near me with my children?” That’s a great question, and the good news is there are many terrific places in the Las Vegas region. The Colorado River is a magnificent destination for kayaking, and it’s one of the most popular tour routes offered by Blazin’ Paddles. If you want to combine a family kayaking excursion with a bit of local history, you can kayak Hoover Dam, which is one of the nation’s most iconic attractions and a registered National Historic Landmark. Lakes and ponds are also a top choice if your children are just learning how to kayak.
Before heading out on the water, it’s important to have some basic kayaking skills under your belt. At the very least, parents should take a few lessons before taking their children out. Parents can learn basic kayaking techniques and get a better understanding of the best types of kayaks for their children. If you’re already a seasoned kayaker, it’s a good idea to pass along some basic tips to your child. When kayaking with your children rather than going solo, remember that your goals should be adjusted to meet your child’s capabilities on the water rather than your own. If you’re wondering where to go for kayaking lessons, Blazin’ Paddles is a great place to start. Blazin’ Paddles offers kayaking tours of various lengths and in multiple locations for participants ranging from children to adults. The entire family can easily get more comfortable being out on the water and learning about the terrific kayaking destinations in the Las Vegas area through a safe, informative, and educational Blazin’ Paddles tour.
Plan for Emergencies
Accidents can happen on the water, which makes it essential that you’re prepared. Along with taking kayaking lessons, it’s a good idea for parents to take first aid courses before embarking on a kayaking adventure with their children. Additionally, parents should prepare for basic first aid situations before heading out. If a child has allergies, for instance, be sure to take his or her epinephrine injection or other medication prescribed by an allergist. Parents should also bring along sunscreen, insect repellent, and other basics such as food and water for the family.
Out on the water, all family members should wear a snugly-fitting personal flotation device (PFD) at all times. PFDs come in various forms that are ranked according to US Coast Guard recommendations. Generally, PFDs labeled as Type I, Type II, and Type III are best-suited for kayaking. Everyone in the family should also have at least basic swimming skills and be able to float on their own before going kayaking.
Choose Your Boats
To make the most of your kayaking experience, it’s important to have the right kind of boat. There are multiple types of kayaks available to use. One of the most family-friendly and child-friendly is a sit-on-top kayak, which is the widest style and the easiest to get into and out of. Sit-on-top kayaks are also more affordable than other kinds of kayaks, which makes them a good investment for families who are just getting into the sport. If you’re not sure that you are ready to buy a kayak (or fleet of kayaks for the family), you may be able to find a place in the area that offers kayak rentals. This is a good way to try out different types of boats, and the sport of kayaking itself, before making a financial investment.
Document Your Kayaking Trip
Once you’ve figured out all the logistics of your family kayaking adventure, it’s time to get on the water. When you do, don’t forget to bring your camera along for photos. Documenting your time together will ensure that everyone has fond memories of the trip that they can look back on. Photos can also be shared with loved ones and other relatives to show them your outing and the fantastic Las Vegas scenery. Remember to pack your camera in a waterproof bag so that it doesn’t get damaged when you are in the boat.
Kayaking is a fun sport that the whole family can enjoy. Provided your child meets general minimum age and ability recommendations and you have some basic knowledge of kayaking and first aid safety, you’re ready to embark on a transformative aquatic adventure. Don’t hesitate to contact the experts at Blazin’ Paddles to get started with the basics, including booking a Hoover Dam kayak tour for the whole family to comfortably ease into the sport.