Tips & Guides
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From emergency and safety gear to the best paddling practices; Ship to Shore Co has all the information you’ll need. Check out our tips and guides! Should you have a question about anything here or not here, please email us and we’ll do our best to get an answer for you!
You should carry a dry bag containing the following emergency gear:
- Duct Tape
- Deck Light
- First Aid Kit
- Sun Tan Lotion
- Bottle of Water
- Insect Repellent
- Emergency Blanket
- Waterproof Matches
These additional items should be kept in an easily accessible bag or in your deck rigging:
- Bilge Pump
- Paddle Float
There are numerous factors to think about when deciding what kayak will suit your needs the best for your application. Where you will use it? Pedal, Paddle, and/or Motorize? Budget? How will you haul it? How long or heavy of a kayak can you handle on/ off the water or even after a full day of being on the water? How/ Where to store your kayak?
First you need to determine if you want a Sit On Top or Sit Inside. The Sit On Top kayaks are more popular for our area due to the ease of getting in and out of them in shallow water, more air around your legs for breathability in the hot summer temps, and also more options for rigging them out.
The next factor you'll want to consider is the length of the kayak. Recreational kayaks typically measure from 8 to 12 feet in length. These shorter kayaks are usually wider and therefore more stable. They're easier to turn, but they are slower and harder to paddle in a straight line(Tracking). Day touring kayaks measure from 12 to 16 feet in length. They are more narrow and therefore less stable. The extra length makes them hard to turn, but they are faster and much easier to paddle in a straight line. Touring kayaks measure 16 to 22 feet in length. They're very narrow and unstable. However, they're extremely fast and easy to paddle in a straight line. Fishing kayaks can measure anywhere from 10 to 14 ft. as well and are typically wider to allow the angler to stand while fishing.
Next is determining if you want to paddle, pedal, or motorize your kayak. As far as pedals, you then have to decide which pedal system works best for your body or the waters you plan to use it the most. The Hobie Kayaks have the Mirage System which is propelled by fins. This system tends to excel in grassy or shallow water conditions. The other type of pedals is a Prop Style Old Town, Bonafide, Jackson, NuCanoe which is similar to a bicycle motion. This system tends to perform better on rivers or deeper water areas, because you have more control of your forward and backward pedaling by simply changing your pedaling direction. If motorizing is your want/ need, adding a motor can be done to most kayaks nowadays. However, there are a few that either come with a motor Old Town - AutoPilot or can easily be added with additional accessories on other kayaks (NuCanoe, Hobie, Jackson, Bonafide). Another factor for motorizing to consider, do you want it to be for getting from Spot A to B with something like Torqeedo or Newport? Or are you looking more for a Spot-Lock Feature like Xi3?
With so many different options out there for choosing a kayak, we know it can be overwhelming. So please feel free to stop in and talk with us about your wants/ needs and we can help determine which kayaks might be best for you! Also make sure to follow us on Facebook so you are informed of our Kayak Demo Days where you can get out on the water and test out numerous models!
Things to consider when choosing a paddle: What will it be used for (Canoe, Kayak Fishing, Recreation, or Touring)? Budget, Durability, Weight? How long will it be used (Few Hours or Full Days)? Where will you be using it (Rivers, Shallow Flats, Deep Water Lakes, Saltwater)? Additional Features (Hook Retrieval on Blade for Fishing Lures, High Visibility, or Adjustable Length/ feathering?
Blade shape also a factor. A wide blade will accelerate the kayak quickly. A narrow blade will require less effort when paddling long distances. A quality paddle will also have a smooth blade on the side facing the paddler.
The next thing to consider is the length of the paddle. Paddles will typically range from 220-270cm. To determine the length you need, you need to know your kayak width and seat height. Kayaks are getting wider for more stability and have higher seats. Average paddle length has slowly increased to more of a 250cm standard length for most kayaks.
If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you should consider using a bent shaft paddle. A bent shaft helps to relieve the stress associated with rotating a paddle with offset blades. Finally, you will want to consider the material of the shaft and blades. If you're planning on paddling long distances, you will want to consider a lighter material such as carbon.
Be sure to stop in and let us help find the correct paddle for you and your kayak!
There are a variety of safe ways to store a kayak. The simplest way is to store it flat on the ground with newer kayak hulls being flatter. However, this wouldn't be practical for your more rounded hulls. Another option would be with mounting a mount on the wall like the Boonedox - Yak Rack or Kurl. The other option would be to store it upside down across some type of supports. This could be something as simple as a couple of sawhorses. You should avoid storing your kayak in the sunlight. It's also a good idea to use a cockpit cover to keep insects or mice out of the kayak. Never store you kayak on a cart or wheels because it could cause the kayak to warp.
For Truck Beds: A bed extender in your hitch receiver is the most popular option for transporting kayaks. Now not all kayaks or truck beds require the use of a bed extender. However, if you plan to keep your kayak in your bed for extended periods of time, we do recommend using one, especially during warmer weather conditions to prevent it from becoming distorted. Cam straps are the preferred method of strapping it down because it is harder to over tighten them as opposed to a ratchet strap. When using a bed extender, only 2 straps are required to properly strap down your kayak. One at the bed extender and another at the back of the truck bed (this will help to keep the kayak from bouncing). Of course a red flag or caution flag is needed to mark the back of the kayak as well.
For Roof Topping: If you have factory racks, it may be possible for you to strap your kayak directly onto the wraps. However, in most cases your best bet is to purchase a rack specifically designed for a kayak. The preferred method is to transport the kayak upside down. Although some racks are designed to carry kayaks on their side or right side up. You should use cam straps to secure your kayak to the rack instead of ratchet straps. You will want to pull the straps snug, but not tighten them so much that they begin to distort the shape of the hull. The straps should cross the kayak near the bulkheads, where the kayak is strongest. You can also tie the front and back of the kayak to the bumpers of your vehicle for additional security. After about fifteen minutes of travel, you should stop and check to make sure your straps and ropes are still snug. Stop in and check out our Yakima Rack Accessories if you need some additional mounts for your roof racks.
Other useful items for hauling: Bike lock or some type of locking system to secure your kayak in your vehicle while it is unattended; a towel/ blanket when car topping to keep kayak from scratching your vehicle when loading/ unloading.
Once at the launch: getting your kayak to and from the water, the use of a kayak cart can be extremely valuable. Some kayaks allow for Scupper Cart Hobie Kayaks are the only kayaks we would recommend for this cart system. Other universal kayak carts would be the C-Tug, Wilderness System Cart, All- Terrain HD Cart, Boonedox Landing Gear, or other generic kayak carts.
- Never paddle alone
- Inform others of your plans
- Know where to go in case of emergencies
- Carry an adequate supply of food and water
- Never go boating while under the influence
- Always wear a properly fitted PFD (lifejacket)
- Learn the rescue skills necessary to assist others
- Learn how to self rescue in the event of a capsize
- Avoid weather or water conditions beyond your skill
- Never overload the boat with more weight or persons than it is designed to safely accommodate
- Never float or paddle over a low-head (submerged) dam, fallen tree, or other in-stream obstruction.
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