Kayak Color Makes a Difference [Benefits of Using Bright Colorful Kayaks]

There are many reasons to choose a bright kayak color. We’re going to take a look at some of the best benefits that come with using brightly colored kayaks.

Bright colors make your kayak more visible and safer on the water. It is especially important for anglers who fish in areas where marine mammals could be present, such as near large bodies of water or where there are lots of boats around.

It’s also vital for paddlers who paddle through dense foggy conditions so that they can be seen from afar and avoid collisions. The visibility goes up when you’re crossing courses with other boaters, too.

Yellow, red, and blue kayaks

Kayak color schemes

There are lots of kayak color schemes to choose from. You can get a solid bright color, or you could go for something more subtle with some camo patterns mixed in. It all depends on what you’re looking for.

Different kayak colors have various benefits.

White kayaks: Covered by either safety and visibility concerns, paddlers in open water or on the brightest days use white kayaks to stay safe. If you are looking for a kayak to use in the water, get light-colored. It will be less visible and help make it more visible at dusk when people have a hard time seeing.

Solid yellow kayaks are great for visibility as they give off a lot of light, with the added benefit of seeing them when there is fog.

Yellow is a good color for visibility. It’s perfect if you like to fish or kayak in the fog, and other boats might not see you as quickly.

Neon yellow seems especially popular with anglers who prefer nighttime kayak fishing trips without worrying about being spotted by predators at night. The bright yellow colors also make green vegetation stand out more, which helps them navigate murky waters better.

If you’re fishing near a large body of water and boaters around, I recommend using bright colors such as orangeredgreen, or blue because these seem to attract the most attention on the water.

Anglers who fish for saltwater fish like tuna and barracuda like to use orange. The fish might not be able to see the other colors to see the angler’s colors. Orange kayaks are good for fishing on the ocean. It is easy to find them because they are so bright. If you go fishing in freshwater, it might be better to have a different color kayak like blue.

Blue is a popular color for boats as well as fish. Shades of blue are found in nature, like on the seafloor and in plants that fish like to eat. The blue kayaks were easier to see in the fog. The day was better if there were no winds.

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Camouflage kayaks: these are great for hunting! It’s hard to spot an animal if it blends into the background. With camo patterns like a jungle, desert, and snowflake designs, you’re sure not to be spotted by prey from your boat.

If you are trying to make a kayak stands out in the water or on land (beach), use colors that are easy to see. Red is good because other colors will not be as easy to see.

What color kayak is safest?

In different conditions, different colors show up. A teal blue actually shows up well in many cases. Yellow also does. White stands out in flat water but disappears in a white cap.

Often the color of your kayak doesn’t matter as much as what you wear – get a bright PFD with colorful clothes if visibility is an issue.

Many different colors of kayaks

How much is safety a factor when you choose your kayak color?

The colors used in creating a kayak will influence its visibility from other vessels or people who are not as familiar with navigating around watercraft.

If this isn’t something that concerns you every day, you don’t need to worry about what I am saying.

But if one thing could make all the difference between safe navigation and be found out (either intentionally or unintentionally), choosing wisely matters immensely when picking up your kayak.

What is the best color for a kayak?

The three most visible colors on the water are yellow, orange, and lime. All three lay in the red-orange-yellow range of the electromagnetic wave spectrum, which is why they can be seen so well by our eyes.

An electric chicken color combination is when you use two opposite colors in a design. That makes the design look better and stand out from other things. Chartreuse (a green color) is next to violet (a purple color).

The electric chicken comes from fishing manufacturers who wanted to paint many types of bait but make sure they were easy to tell apart for fishers while they were out at sea or hunting freshwater lakes.

There is a strong correlation between sunlight and visibility. Rough seas will absorb more light than mirror-like seas, which reflect it more.

Complementary colors are opposite of each other on a color wheel. They make the colors more intense when they are near each other and can be beautiful, but can also be ugly if used incorrectly.

You need to carefully combine two complements because their color differences could stand out too much for some people’s taste.

Extreme examples of complementary pairs would include red with green, purple with yellow, orange with blue any two contrasting colors will do as long as opposite colors.

Researchers at Heriot-Watt University studied which flags were the most visible. They found that folding banners are the best because you can see them from a mile away in all sea conditions.

Day-glow yellow pennants are the best because they are visible up to 1.2 miles away, even when there are breaking waves or bad light. You can only see red and orange flags for about one mile before disappearing into the horizon line.

When you are a kayaker, you have to signal to SARs. Ask for help when there is trouble. You can use dye packs, flares, lights on your life jacket or helmet strap, and flashing strobes that you can attach with zip ties. They will work if the sun is out in the sky and gives off enough light (signal mirrors will also work).

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What to do to make yourself more visible to boaters?

Boaters have a tough time seeing kayakers in the water. There are some ways to make yourself more visible and safe for boater’s sake on your next trip out:

  • Use brightly-colored kayaks with either solid yellow or orange paddles (or both).
  • Add reflective tape to your body, face, hands, shoulders, etc.
  • Keep safety flags up if you’re crossing any open space that could be an intersection between waterways.

Using bright colors will also help you see better when it becomes foggy or cloudy outside.

Yellow short kayak on the sand beach

Can I paint the bottom of my kayak?

Changing the color of a plastic kayak is easy. It just takes two steps:

  1. Sell your current kayak.
  2. Buy a new one in whatever color you prefer.

One of the safest methods is to coat it with marine epoxy; however, this can be an expensive choice. Another option worth considering is to paint the top (above the waterline) with inexpensive commodity spray paint, but that only serves aesthetic purposes on the bottom – because rocks will scrape any kind of paint off, and it’ll look worse.

I have seen people paint kayaks. It’s easy to paint the fiberglass and Kevlar boats, but not for wood ones. It is because they are easier to paint and don’t need to be painted at all.

Skin boats need no painting because of the natural organic material, which is so tough that if you spill something on them or drag them through mud, it will all be gone in just minutes.

Plastic people believe that they can use spray paint, but this never ends well for them.

I would not recommend using any other paint than marine enamel made for plastics. Otherwise, your boat will break quickly because the paint will rot it and cause it to weaken.

What color is most visible on the water?

Fluorescent green! It has to do with a chemical reaction that occurs when light interacts with chlorine. In particular, low-light environments are where fluorescent green shines because it reflects on any objects or creatures lurking below.

What color do kayaks attract sharks?

High contrast colors make it easier for sharks to find their prey, according to George H. Burgess at the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History in the University of Florida.

Have you ever seen a shark attack in the water? It’s terrifying! Luckily, there are ways to avoid them. One way to stop sharks from coming close is to choose a kayak that looks different and has blue or light grey colors. Then the shark won’t know it’s a person, and they won’t come close.

What colors show up best at night?

The white color of a kayak makes it very easy to see, especially at night. But sometimes, this means that they are almost impossible to find if you need help and your rescue is searching for the boat in choppy waters.

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What is the most popular Hobie kayak color?

If you’re looking for the safest color out there, I would recommend a brighter and more noticeable shade of yellow. This way, it is easy to spot by other boaters or in case you happen to go overboard.

They are almost impossible not to notice on the water with all those different blues and olives around us anyways.

Five different types and colors of kayaks on the sand beach in front of blue ocean

Kayak color and fishing

One of the questions people ask most often is, “What color should I get?” The answer is not so simple. There are many things to think about when deciding what color to get, like how it looks on the water and what will be easiest for you.

In the last ten years, I have tried many different kayaks and been successful in them all. But two colors stand out: yellow and camo. People might say that fish see the yellow kayak as a problem, but I argue quite the opposite.

If you buy a solid yellow kayak, it is better than any other color. Sometimes when I am fishing, I will look down and see a big fish staring at me from only a few feet away.

Last year, I saw two muskies. One was 45″ and the other was 50-52″. They came to my kayak without hesitation and followed me a short distance before I floated downstream.

Sometimes when I look back while paddling, schools of bluegills are on my tail. What I saw made me think that it does not matter if your kayak is yellow or not: It genuinely attracts fish.

Yellow kayaks are good because you can see them from a long distance. Sometimes it is cloudy, and people can’t see them, so it is good to have a yellow one so that boats don’t hit you.

I had had an encounter before with someone else who was also in a kayak, and they thanked me for having a yellow one because they could see me better than the other person who didn’t.

There are two colors I would recommend for fishing kayaks: camo and solid yellow. If you usually fish on clear lakes, using a bright color might help. But if you fish on lakes with less visibility, then camo can be better. Camo is also good for hunting birds like ducks or geese.

Camo kayaks look like plants in the water. They don’t need to be changed because they are perfect like this. The only problem is that they look similar on cloudy days or choppy water. If you are out fishing when it looks like this, boats might not see you, and it could be not nice for them and you.

So, I would recommend a yellow kayak if you want to find fish. Then I would recommend a camouflage kayak if you also want to hunt waterfowl or fish.


If you are looking to purchase a kayak, I recommend that you go with bright and colorful craft colors. The benefits of using brightly colored kayaks include increased visibility in the water for rescue crews and other boaters who may be nearby.

It also increases your chance of being seen by bird watchers on land or other creatures under the water, such as dolphins or sharks.

Plus, it makes any outing more fun!

Last updated on June 19, 2022 by Duncan Barrett

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