Apply sunscreen, lip balm, and insect repellant liberally, even on cloudy or breezy days. In addition, you should wear appropriate clothing for your activity, and the weather and water conditions.

Secure a spare paddle to your vessel as well as a watertight container for your keys, identification, money, and other valuables. Have a readily accessible personal flotation device (PFD) at all times. Bring plenty of food and drinking water (one gallon per person per day) in non-breakable watertight containers. Bring a cell phone and VHF Radio in case of an emergency, but don't rely on your cell phone, as reception can be sporadic in backcountry and offshore water. You should also bring:

  • Area maps and NOAA nautical charts
  • A compass or handheld GPS
  • A bilge pump and sponge
  • An anchor (if you plan to snorkel or camp)
  • Rope
  • A VHF or weather radio to monitor weather conditions
  • Signaling device such as a flashlight, flare, mirror, or air horn
  • A 360° light for operating your kayak at night
  • Sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat
  • A long sleeved shirt
  • A first aid kit
  • Towels
  • Extra clothing
  • Extra shoes
  • Binoculars
  • Camera
  • A pocketknife or multi-purpose tool
  • Duck tape and a repair kit
  • Extra watertight bags