When attempting to head out to sea, make sure that you have the necessary safety equipment in a dry-hatch, just in case a good day’s fishing turns into a nightmare.

Before you launch, check the following:
1. Weather – although you should get a good idea of the weather conditions while driving to the launch site. Check wind direction, cloud cover and
mist, the wind can very quickly change the conditions that was assessed before launching.
2. Sea – Look at the time between the waves. Did you check if it is spring tide\Neap Tide and also high and low tide? Also look for currents, swell
and other obstacles that you might face when heading out.
3. Kayak and equipment – Check your kayak for any holes or cracks. Cracks can creep in without you knowing about it. Check your equipment, your
paddle, ropes, anchor, etc. I will get the list of safety equipment shortly.

Remember to lock your car and place the keys in a dry-bag or Ziploc bag and store it in a safe place.

The checklist:

The following items are essential safety items as required by law under instruction from SAMSA South African Marine Safety Association

To fish from a Kayak in South Africa you must adhere to the following SAMSA minimum requirements…

01. Purchase a fishing licence from the Post Office or KZN wildlife office
02. Pay for the angling and skipper of a vessel on your licence
03. Kayak must be over 3 meters in length to go to sea (beyond the backline)
04. Kayak must have minimum 30% buoyancy
05. You must wear an approved PFD (personal flotation device)
06. Carry a 10 meter rope. (tow rope)
07. Pencil flares (not out of date)
08. Bailing device (bucket or collapsible bucket) You can use your tackle box or a sponge
09. You must have 750 ml drinking water.
10. You must not exceed 1.85km from land (1nautical mile)
You can launch anywhere except if the launch site is restricted by Port Authority, Private owner, Parks Board, or Municipality for which you may be asked to pay a fee

We also recommend the following:
– Paddle leash.
– Anchor system
– GPS (Handheld or other)
– Energy snack (Chocolate\Banana\Raisins)
– Attach your paddle to your ski via a leash (some like to detach during launching and beaching)
– Carry a cell phone in a waterproof pouch, programmed in 082 911 SEA RESCUE
– NSRI safetrax application (Download from your application store)
– SMS your launch and return time or leave a float plan with someone
– Always check the weather forecast before you leave and keep checking when you are out at sea
– Make sure you can turn over and climb on your Kayak if it capsizes (Self rescue, this should be practiced)
– Never paddle alone always paddle with at least one person
– If your Kayak capsizes stay with it and phone for help
– Tell someone where you are going and estimated time due back
– Complete a launch register at your launch site if applicable
– Check your Kayak before leaving for cracks and leaks. Make sure the bungs are in!
– Remember – know your own personal paddling capabilities and do not exceed them
– Don’t forget your fishing licence and vessel licence (both on the same licence)
– Obey any Parks board or municipality launch site rules and pay fees if applicable
– A plastic whistle is also handy to have to attract attention
– A mirror to use for attracting attention (using suns reflection)
– Write your name and cell number on your paddle and equipment, should it get lost at sea.