Can You Kayak in the Rain? (Surviving the Storm)

Y’all know how much fun kayaking can be. But can you kayak in the rain? It isn’t possible to eliminate risk, but there are ways of mitigating it.

During storms, kayaks can quickly fill with water and sink if they are not properly maintained.

You can learn more about how to take care of your kayak when it’s raining in this article.

Paddling in the rain with an avid group of paddlers

Can you paddle in the rain?

Kayaking in the rain is possible as long as you plan accordingly and are aware of what to expect. Floating rapids and strong currents may be found in a river, for instance.

Ask a local about the water conditions before paddling, since it can be dangerous if rain has been falling for days and the water level is high.

Recreational kayaks also tend to absorb more water than average, so you need to be more sensible about when and where you touch land with the kayak.

In shallow water, you might want to stay away from any vegetation that could become a hazard if it catches on something while paddling.

Keep yourself visible

In the event of an accident, it is critical to remain visible. If you’re paddling at night or during stormy weather, be highly visible so other water users can see you and assist if needed.

In rainy conditions, a white kayak light would be helpful to have on your vessel.

When paddling in lousy weather, visibility isn’t the only factor to consider. Visibility can become severely impaired, and the wind can pick up significantly if a storm becomes severe enough to begin raining.

Kayaking becomes extremely challenging if this happens.

Make sure you use spray skirts

The spray skirt is a simple way to protect the kayak from rain.

With a spray skirt, you won’t have to worry about rain filling up your deck when it rains.

It is desirable to keep water out of your cockpit by using a sit-inside kayak with spray skirts attached. On sit-on-tops, make sure there are no scupper holes that are plugged up.

If they do, then you should mop the area with a sponge.

How do I keep the rain out of my kayak?

The most effective way to keep water out of your kayak is to use a spray skirt.

The spray skirt on a sit-in kayak will prevent rainwater from entering the boat when you launch it into open waters.

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To help with this process, tunnel skirts are available in three types: nylon, Neoprene, and Goretex.

In terms of cost, nylon is the cheapest, but it is also the least effective.

When it’s cold outside, or if it’s raining, Neoprene keeps you warm and waterproof.

Tunnel skirts made of Goretex: the most expensive option, but gives your kayak maximum breathability and protects it against the elements.

Can you kayak in lightning?

An activity you want to avoid during bad weather is kayaking, as lightning strikes are a dangerous weather phenomenon.

Thunderbolts carry a tremendous amount of energy in the form of electricity. Despite its power, it doesn’t stop there. Thanks to it, even sand can be turned into glass.

A tree that gets struck by lightning will only leave splinters behind; if the ground around it is solid, up to ten meters away, there could be dangerous injuries.

When water is involved, which is more conductive than dry ground, injuries can occur up to 100 meters from the point of impact. This rule applies to a solid foundation; we can sustain more severe injuries in wet conditions, like heavy rain.

It is possible to be injured by lightning if it strikes in the water first without obstructions such as trees, buildings, or hills surrounding it.

You should stay away from tall buildings (or anything else that might attract lightning) by at least 20 meters.

Avoid climbing up a hill if you’re in an open area without a lot of protection so that you do not overheat.

When lightning strikes near your boat or kayak, get out of the water as soon as possible; if there is nowhere near the closest landmark (say, on an open sea), bail out with plenty of time before the next strike.

Be careful around metal objects such as fences, vehicles, and power lines if you’re stranded on land.

The weather was rainy and the cars were in the traffic when this picture was taken from the passenger seat

Is it safe to kayak during a thunderstorm?

In the event of a thunderstorm, it would be a terrible idea to go kayaking, as water is a fantastic conductor of electricity.

You can be injured if you are close to a lightning strike at a distance of 100 meters away from the point of impact if lightning strikes nearby. It would be best to stay on land during a storm.

Can lightning kill you on a lake?

Lightning can create an electrical current that travels across the lake’s surface if it strikes the water.

This electric field is high enough in voltage and current to be lethal for humans.

When a storm is approaching, it is wise to stay off the water. As an alternative, you may wish to lay down in your kayak until the thunderstorm is over if you accidentally contact electricity while kayaking on a lake or river.

Dry out somewhere safe before returning to shore.

How to stay safe while kayaking in the rain?

Stay safe while kayaking in the rain by following these tips.

Practice, practice, practice

A helpful tip to keep in mind before heading out kayaking on a rainy day is to be in shape. In addition, you should have a thorough understanding of the basic techniques.

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As well as practicing paddling techniques, it would be best if you strengthened the muscles in your upper body to be ready for any circumstance.

Plan your route before you leave

A rainy day is an excellent opportunity to stay indoors, enjoy the weather, and take a break from the outside world.

Be sure to plan your route if you plan on paddling in the rain. This will allow you to steer clear of obstacles or rising water levels.

In ideal conditions, kayaking takes place in the sunshine, but you should not worry if it rains.

If there are any changes in the weather before you go out, check the route before going out.

Let others know about your floating plan

It would be best to let someone know where you will be kayaking, how long you expect your trip to take, and when you plan to check-in.

Additionally, the person should know who they can contact in case of an emergency or if you don’t return as expected. They should also know details that will aid emergency responders in finding you, such as the color and style of the boat.

A weather and water report is important

Before you set out on the water, review the weather reports for your area.

Make sure you check the weather forecast and see if there will be any changes in temperature or precipitation over the period when you will be kayaking.

Wear layers of wind, rain, and cold-protecting clothing when it is raining before you set out.

If the weather is expected to get colder than usual or if there will be strong winds during your trip, consider bringing a change of clothes. This is just in case something unexpected happens.

When kayaking in open water near an area where lightning frequently strikes, make sure you have a lightning rod that will draw the charge away from your kayak.

The boat would sink if obstacles in the water, such as trees or telephone poles, collect hail.

You may also want to carry a compass if you’re expecting high winds, in case you lose sight of it.

Keep track of the water level

During a storm, a stream can turn into a monster. Watch out for changes in the water level during a storm to ensure it does not become too strong for your kayak.

Some apps will show you what kind of rapids to expect based on current conditions in real-time. They will also alert you if any sudden changes occur, such as River Flow and USGS WaterWatch.

Make yourself more visible

If you want to increase your visibility, wear bright colors and use reflective materials.

You should bring along a headlamp or flashlight if your kayak isn’t equipped with lights.

For added visibility, you can also attach reflective tape and stickers to the boat.

Can I kayak after it rains?

It is not prohibited to paddle in a kayak after a heavy downpour.

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Can you get electrocuted in a kayak?

A conductor like water and an insulator like your body can create a dangerous situation.

Lightning bolts can have a tremendous amount of power, up to 100 million volts of electricity (don’t forget it’s traveling through the ground).

Considering I am not an expert in human physiology, I can’t speculate on all the possible causes of electrocution death in a body of water. However, I know that the most dangerous location for electrical current to flow in the human body is where it crosses the heart.

As long as you are more than 50 feet away from where lightning strikes, you should be safe.

If you need shelter from an electrical storm, head to a building with metal plumbing.

When lightning strikes while you are in the water, get out of the water, head to shore if possible, and find shelter away from trees or tall objects.

An electrically grounded structure (house) is the safest location to be. A hilltop would be the next logical choice; the water is too dangerous to be near.

If the weather is terrible, I prefer to wait it out at home or in a hotel.

As quickly as possible, if you are kayaking close enough to lightning that it could strike you, you need to get your boat back in. This is so you don’t lose control of it if there is an electrical charge on the water.

What do you do if you are caught in a thunderstorm while kayaking?

You may need to wade downstream if you’re on a river. If it is raining too hard for you to see the shore below you, or if your gear gets wet and trees surround you, you should immediately get out of the water.

You should try paddling faster toward safety (a dock or shore) or using a personal floatation device if thunderstorms come up suddenly while kayaking.

If you are on a lake and no safe place is nearby during a lightning storm, get out of the water.

In spite of the bad weather, a man paddles a boat

Kayak rain gear: what should I wear?

You don’t have to let the rain stop you from kayaking. Simply don’t forget the following items.

You’ll need hats or helmets, a rash vest, a life jacket (including one that covers your head to toe), shoes, sandals, waterproof socks, and non-slip boots when you come ashore.

It might be worthwhile to invest in waterproof apparel (such as rain gear and life jackets). Even if your clothes get wet from being outside for too long, you’ll be able to keep them dry and warm.

Furthermore, you should have two pairs of socks: one pair that’s dry for when you get out of the water and one pair that’s submerged in water. Even when your toes are wet from rain, this will keep them warm.

After kayaking, you will need a change of clothes since staying dry is a must. Be sure to bundle up when it’s windy or stormy outside.

Last updated on June 19, 2022 by Duncan Barrett

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