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  • Phil Keetley

Sea survival for sea kayakers

Updated: Jun 27, 2019

A desperate situation

Sea survival for sea kayakers sounds a little melodramatic perhaps, but it is actually a subject that I am quite passionate about. I first got interested after attending the International Sea Kayak Guide Association Sea Survival course as part of my guide training, and credit must go to Jeff Allan of Sea Kayak Cornwall for instigating my interest in the subject. Since then, I have researched, planned, rehearsed and taught many sea survival courses, and I think that it is worth pushing the concept as widely as possible.

Sea survival is not some heroic macho course, it is about planning, preparation and knowledge, coupled with a thorough understanding of equipment capabilities. It certainly does not substitute sound risk assessment, judgement and seamanship.

Calling for help

Our Sea Survival for Sea Kayakers course is a half day of lectures, discussions and playing with kit. This is followed by the development of a personal 'firing sequence' that suits your paddling equipment and environment - which we then take in to the water to apply in realistic conditions.

Hypothermia Wrap

We cover the emergency services capabilities; cold water immersion and hypothermia; distress and calling for help using various means including detailed use of Personal Locator Beacons and various types of pyrotechnic and electronic flares. We also build emergency shelters, create hypothermic wraps and look at fire building and casualty care.

I genuinely believe that every sea kayaker, whether a cautious coastal paddler or an ocean wanderer should consider such a course. It will make you think through your kit and equipment in more detail, and test your systems to the point of failure.

You can find the dates for our next course here.

Here is a little video by way of an introduction that I made with Roddy McDowell in association with Lomo:

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