How to stay safe while kayaking the Great Lakes

MUNISING, Mich. (WLUC) – Kayaking has seen a rise in popularity over the years, especially with the rise of tourism in the U.P. There are several things you should keep in mind if you ever plan on kayaking in the Great Lakes. First of all, make sure that you have a sea kayak.

“The recreational kayak, it’s pretty easy going, you may have a current you can paddle down,” said Carl Hansen, owner of Northern Waters Adventures. “Here in Lake Superior, you may have wind and waves that you’ll be fighting so you want to have a longer boat and one that’s not so wide that it’d be hard to paddle through. You definitely have to worry about wind and waves on the lake and landing at the beach.”

In addition to having the right kayak, you should know how it works, learn how to use the rudder, how to properly paddle, and always make sure that you have a life jacket. However, one of the biggest dangers is the water itself.

“They should really check the weather,” said Steve Blank, Undersheriff for Alger County. “Lake Superior can change in a matter of an instant you know the wind, the waves, the currents. If you’re not an experienced kayaker, I would stay as close to shore as you can, rather than get out in the middle of a bay, or what not.”

Alger County has a new special search and rescue team made up of law enforcement and professionals in the area. The team has already saved one kayaker’s life this year, but they can’t do the job by themselves; they need help from the community as well.

“If it’s a windy day, or any type of a day, and you see a kayak, that’s floating or just you know, something that stands out that just doesn’t look right, you know, that’s why there’s 9-1-1 to call and we can make a decision,” said Blank.

So no matter what recreational activity you’re doing this summer, make sure that you have the proper equipment and the proper training.

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