Top 10 Yakking Safety Tips

Yak Wisdom | read time 3 minutes

Murphy’s Law

Wear your PFD. Although it’s a requirement that you have a PFD on board the legalities on wearing out may differ.  No matter the law, if you do capsize, you wan to be wearing it.

Inform someone about your trip. At least one other person should know when you are starting your trip and what time you should be finishing.  Don’t just assume another member of your will.

Check the weather and water conditions. This should go without saying, but you don’t want to be yakking during a hurricane, lightning storm, or any other event that might be deleterious to your health.  You are not Forrest Gump.

Know how to swim and handle your yak. It’s probably easiest to take a course, but at least get the basics from an experienced yakker.  Emergency situations are not the place to learn skills.

Have a communicative device. Whether it be a satellite phone, cell phone, or two way radio, you need to have a device that lets you contact the outside world when the snipe poop hits the fan.

Don’t operate a yak under the influence. Not only can it seriously impair your ability control a yak or make decisions, it can lead to citations and heavy fines.

Carry spare water and food. In the southeast, high temperatures and humidity will have you sweating more than a politician having to answer a yes or no question.

Pack a watertight emergency bag. This should include, but not be limited to a small first aid kit, matches, emergency whistle, and dry clothing.  When packing this kit, remember Murphy’s Law.

Have a trip plan. Take some time and research the best places to put in and take out for yakking trip.  Estimate how long the trip will take.  Learn if there are rules or regulations on the particular body of water you’ll be yakking.  Think about any particular gear that might be useful. The more you plan, the better your trip will be.

Inspect your yak. Before every trip, get your yak out and give it a once over to make sure its water ready.  Yaks are pretty durable, but even small rocks from the lawn mower or a short fall on a hard surface can lead to some serious damage.


Here are a few great yaks to get started.