Can you kayak on the ocean?
Why is this activity appealing to thrill seekers?
Can you enjoy it even if you aren’t very skilled at kayaking?
***LEARN HOW TO SEA KAYAK TODAY: Learn about kayak paddling in the ocean with our sea kayaking tutorial feature. Ocean Kayaking.
Ocean kayaking is just what it sounds like: kayaking on the ocean instead of on rivers, lakes, or ponds. This activity is especially popular with those who enjoy a little adrenaline rush due to the unpredictable nature of the ocean and its waves.
Because of this same quality, it’s a good idea to have some prior kayaking experience before giving sea kayaking a try. However, if you’re a beginner and still want to try it, you can book a tour with a skilled guide to get started.
***LEARN HOW TO WHITEWATER KAYAK HERE: Discover the basics of white water river kayaking with our whitewater kayak beginner's guide. White Water Kayaking.
Whether you’re new to kayaking on the ocean or you’ve tried it before and want to learn more, we’ve got you covered. Check out the information we’ve put together below to find out more about sea kayaking, what to expect when you go on your trip, how to stay safe on the sea, and more.
With this information, you’ll be better equipped to make the right decisions about your next ocean kayak adventure.
***HOW TO DRESS FOR KAYAKING: Learn what clothing to wear while kayaking in our overview guide. What To Wear Kayaking.
Read on to find out more about sea kayaking.
All About Kayaking on the Ocean
Check out the information in this section to give you a quick rundown of the basics of sea kayaking. From there, you can look up more specifics and develop a list of questions you may want to ask your tour guide, too.
***LEARN HOW TO KAYAK FOR BEGINNERS HERE: Learn the basics of how to kayak and other paddle tips in our beginners tutorial guide. How To Kayak.
- Always pay attention to the weather. Expect unpredictable weather changes and prepare for them as much as possible.
- Never go kayaking during a thunderstorm or at any time when a hurricane may be approaching.
- Even if a hurricane is not currently present, if there is one some distance away, it may still affect the waves too much.
- Do not kayak while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Dress appropriately for the weather and for the exposure to saltwater.
- Do not overload the weight capacity of your kayak.
- Understand there may be more offshore winds than you realize, once you get out on the water.
- Understand what rip currents are and stay away from areas with rip current warnings.
- Always tell someone where you’ll be and when.
- Never, ever go sea kayaking (or any body of water) without your personal flotation device!
- Bring a tow system that will allow you to be towed to shore if needed.
- Install or bring lights if you’ll be paddling in the dark.
- Wear sunscreen as well as clothing that resists UV rays as much as possible.
- Bring a compass, map, and electronic navigation options as well.
- Never go kayaking without communication options, including your cell phone, a radio, and an emergency whistle. When kayaking on the ocean, flares may be a good addition, too.
- Once you’ve learned how to kayak and understand the general basics, you can plan a sea kayaking trip. Plot your route ahead of time and stay informed about the weather.
- Bring along a map to help you stay on track while paddling.
- The first few times you kayak on the ocean, go with friends or family.
- Before you go, give yourself a chance to practice capsizing and recovering. This way, you’ll be better equipped to deal with it if it happens in the ocean.
- If a lifeguard is present, pay attention to where they are located and stay in sight of them, especially if this is your first time sea kayaking.
- Paddling and staying afloat work the same way on the ocean as they do on calmer waters. Just remember that you will need to adjust much more frequently for waves and changes in the wind as you go along your course, too.
What to Expect
- Expect wind. Even if it doesn’t seem windy on the beach, it will be on the water.
- Expect to get tired. Don’t push yourself, especially until you know your own limits.
- Expect to get cold, and hot, and everything in-between. The temperature changes frequently out on the ocean, so be prepared with the right clothes and protective gear for the job.
- Expect sharks. Yes, there are sharks in shallow ocean waters, and yes, you may see them while kayaking. Don’t go kayaking in known shark waters, but always be alert, no matter where your adventures take you.
Where to Go
- Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska – Keep an eye out for whales when you paddle these icy waters.
- Belize Barrier Reef – Take time to snorkel and try other activities while kayaking this barrier reef. Remember that there are protections in place in this area, and follow the rules.
- Fiji Islands – These islands boast clear waters and plenty of beautiful coral.
- Galapagos National Park – There are many limitations on kayaking here, but if you go through a touring company, you can enjoy the incredible sights.
- Maine beaches – Although cold, these waters provide beautiful scenery opportunities.
- Everglades National Park in Florida – This is a quieter place to kayak and it offers unique scenery, too. Pay attention to warnings and steer clear of alligators in this area.
When to Go
- Depending on where you choose to kayak, you may want to plan your trip at different times of the year.
- Try to check the weather ahead of time and ensure you’re going sea kayaking when the weather isn’t too bad. This may be during the earlier part of the summer for most locations.
- Remember, however, that hurricane season also occurs in parts of the summer, so keep this in mind when making your plans, too.
So what do you think? Are you ready to rush out and buy all the gear you need to get started sea kayaking right away? You may be excited to give kayaking in the ocean a chance, but remember that you shouldn’t rush out on your own if you’ve never kayaked before. If you’re a complete beginner, be sure to book an excursion with a tour guide—or go with a trusted friend who knows what they’re doing, instead. Once you’ve gotten some experience under your belt, you can plan your own ocean kayak adventures and maybe even bring along some friends or family who are new to the activity, too.
But what if you’re still not completely sold on the idea? Kayaking on the ocean sounds dangerous, after all, and maybe you’re not that much of a thrill-seeker. If you’re still looking for a reason to give sea kayaking a try, here are a few to give you a jumpstart:
- The weather is nice at the beach most of the time, and you may enjoy spending time out in the sun.
- Kayaking anywhere is a great way to get some exercise, and in the sea, it works your muscles even harder.
- Kayaking on the ocean can help you explore and see sights you might not ever have had a chance to see otherwise.
- Any type of kayaking is great for your heart health and can help you burn calories at the same time.
- Many paddlers who enjoy sea kayaking report mental health benefits as well, and especially find that sea kayaking helps reduce stress.
Remember that you don’t have to kayak on the ocean—ever!—if you don’t want to. However, if you’re interested in giving it a try, there’s no reason you should avoid it, short of medical conditions or doctor warnings.
Kayaking on the ocean may not be for everyone. But if it’s something that sounds interesting to you, learn everything you can about it and then get out there and paddle to your heart’s content. Just be wary that sea kayaking can definitely become dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Be safe!