Tips and Techniques

Dont Forget…

Make sure you pack appropriately when planning a kayak trip. Whether you are going out on your own or with a group, always be prepared for the worse.

Make Sure You Have…

  • A float plan (let people know where you are going and when you will be back)
  • Personal Floatation Device (PFD) - although they may not be the most comfortable, PFDs definitely work better on than off
  • Extra paddle
  • Change of clothing or swimsuit
  • Sunscreen
  • Bottles of water (always pack extra)
  • Snacks (keep your energy level up)
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Any medication you may need
  • Cell phone (in case of emergency)
  • First Aid kit
  • Tow rope (could come in handy if you are in a group)
  • Throw rope
  • Whistle

Watch Out For…

Hypothermia —Stumbles, Fumbles, Mumbles, Grumbles

Mild Hypothermia (Core Temperature Drops to 96°F)

  • shivering- not under voluntary control
  • Cannot perform complex motor functions
  • can still walk and talk
  • vasoconstriction to periphery (blood vessels in the fingers, toes and limbs narrow to reduce blood flow to the extremities)

Moderate Hypothermia (Core Temperature Drops to 95–93°)

  • dazed consciousness
  • loss of fine motor coordination — particularly in hands(for example, person canít zip up coat due to restricted peripheral blood flow)
  • slurred speech
  • violent shivering
  • irrational behavior, paradoxical undressing (person starts to take of clothing, unaware he or she is cold)
  • "I donít care attitude" — flattened affect

Severe Hypothermia (Core Temperature Drops to 92–86°F and below — immediately life–threatening)

  • shivering occurs in waves, violent then pause. The pauses get longer until shivering finally ceases because the heat output from burning glycogen in the muscles is not sufficient to counteract the continually dropping core temperature. The body shuts down shivering to conserve glucose
  • person falls to the ground and canít walk; curls up into a fetal position to conserve heat
  • muscle rigidity develops because peripheral blood flow is reduced and lactic acid and carbon dioxide build up in the muscles
  • skin is pale
  • pupils dilate
  • pulse rate decreases
  • at 90° F the body tries to move into hibernation, shutting down all peripheral blood flow and reducing breathing and heart rates
  • at 86°F the body is in a state of "metabolic icebox." The person appears dead but is still alive

How We Lose Heat:

Radiation — loss of heat to the environment due to the temperature gradient (this occurs only as long as the ambient temperature is below 98.6o). Factors important in radiant heat loss are the surface area and the temperature gradient.

Conduction — loss of heat through direct contact between objects, molecular transference of heat energy.

Convection — a process of conduction where one of the objects in is motion. Molecules against the surface are heated, move away, and are replaced by new molecules which are also heated. The rate of convective heat loss depends on the density of the moving substance (water convection occurs more quickly than air convection) and the velocity of the moving substance.

Evaporation — heat loss from converting water from a liquid to a gas.