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Can You Kayak In The Ocean? (What You Must Know)

Kayaking is an exciting activity enjoyed by many people. People often go to lakes, rivers, or dams for kayaking. However, some may wonder if you can kayak in the ocean? If so, do you need a specific kayak for ocean kayaking, or will a regular kayak do? 

It is possible to kayak in the ocean, and you can do this with a regular kayak. However, kayaking in the sea has different challenges than kayaking in other locations. You must be comfortable with a kayak in calm waters before attempting to kayak in the ocean and be attentive when kayaking. 

This article will discuss some tips when kayaking in the ocean. We will also discuss the best type of kayak to use when kayaking in the sea and what the dangers of ocean kayaking are. Although ocean kayaking is more challenging than river or lake kayaking, it can also be more fun. 

Kayaking In The Ocean – What You Must Know

Kayaking is a great activity, regardless of where you do it. However, ocean kayaking is different from kayaking on a lake or river. There are more risks, and you must have more kayaking skills to manage a kayak in the ocean. However, ocean kayaking is a fun way to develop your kayaking skills when done right. 

Before attempting to kayak in the ocean, we must discuss some essential tips and guidelines for kayaking in the sea. There are more factors to consider when kayaking, and kayaking in the ocean is more dangerous than kayaking elsewhere. So, what should you do when ocean kayaking?

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1. Always Wear Your Life Jacket When Ocean Kayaking

Because the ocean has more movement than a lake or river, it will be easier for your kayak to capsize. Regardless of your swimming capabilities, a life jacket or Personal Flotation Device (PFD) is required when you go kayaking in the ocean. 

This is because you can easily hit your head against the boat or a rock or be injured in another way, causing you to become unable to swim. Therefore, a life jacket will help keep you safe. While you should always wear a life jacket when kayaking, it is even more critical when kayaking in the ocean. 

2. Be Aware Of Your Surroundings

When Kayaking in the ocean, you will undoubtedly encounter other people and obstacles, such as waves and rocks. Therefore, it is crucial to constantly be aware of your surroundings. Watch out for other people in the water. This is true when you are kayaking and when you are taking the kayak into and out of the water. 

Always keep a close eye on the ocean’s movement. Keep the nose of the kayak facing toward the waves. If you allow the kayak to turn and the waves hit the kayak from the side, the kayak will capsize, and you will fall out. In addition, always be alert of any rocks or obstacles in your surroundings. 

You must act responsibly when using the kayak and remain vigilant. A pleasant kayaking trip can easily turn into a nightmare if you are unaware of your surroundings, the kayak topples over, or someone gets hit by your paddles or kayak. 

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3. Monitor The Ocean Currents When Kayaking 

Something else to remember is that the ocean, unlike a lake, has currents that can draw you in. So while you might start kayaking in the shallow waters, you can easily be dragged in by the currents and pulled out into the deep sea. 

To remain aware of your location, identify a landmark on the beach and check if you have moved away from the landmark. Remember that you will kayak easier in one direction when paddling with the current. However, you will paddle against the current upon your return, which is a much harder task. 

Therefore, don’t paddle out too far when kayaking, as you might have trouble getting back to shore. Also, use your movement in relation to the landmark to indicate how strong the current is pulling you. Don’t allow your kayak to drift too far, as you also might have trouble getting back to shore if this happens. 

4. Don’t Lose Your Paddles When Ocean Kayaking

Of course, losing your paddles will make it more challenging to get back to shore when ocean kayaking. Therefore, to prevent you from losing your paddles, tie them to the kayak with a long piece of string. This will enable you to use the paddles when kayaking. But, should the kayak capsize, the paddles will not be lost. 

The same is true for anything else you bring on the kayak with you. For example, fishing rods, tackle boxes, or snack containers should be secured to the kayak in some way or another to prevent you from losing these items if your kayak topples over. 

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Store everything you aren’t using at a specific time in the kayak’s storage compartment and secure everything you are using to the kayak using string or hooks. This tip will prevent you from losing your items if your kayak capsizes. In addition, having everything neatly secured will also prevent you from getting strangled between loose items if the kayak topples over. 

Do You Need A Specific Kayak For The Ocean?

While some kayaks are designed explicitly for ocean kayaking, you can use any kayak to paddle in the ocean. However, when you start to kayak in the sea, use a sit-on kayak. Sit-on kayaks will not fill up with water. This means they will always float, and you can get back on it easily if the kayak topples over. 

However, sit-in kayaks can fill up with water and sink. Then, you will not be able to paddle back to shore and might find yourself in a troubling situation. Because waves can easily splash into your kayak, causing it to fill with water, a sit-in kayak is not suitable for someone new to ocean kayaking. 

Once you get used to the waves and what to do when your kayak gets filled with water, feel free to use a sit-in kayak for ocean kayaking. Both sit-on and sit-in kayaks are great fun and can be a joy to use for ocean kayaking. 

Is Ocean Kayaking More Difficult Than Other Kayaking?

Ocean kayaking requires more skill and knowledge of kayaking than kayaking on a lake or river does. You must know how the kayak reacts in the ocean, and you must be aware of the waves, currents, and other obstacles when ocean kayaking. 

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In addition, you should also be fit enough to kayak in the ocean. You must paddle against currents and navigate the kayak over waves and through different obstacles. Therefore, you should have a strong paddle and good coordination skills when ocean kayaking. 

The great news is that anyone can learn to kayak in the ocean. Practice in calm bay areas at first and build up your paddle strength before kayaking in the open ocean. However, with enough practice, you can go ocean kayaking in no time. 


You can kayak in the ocean, and many people prefer ocean kayaking to other types of kayaking. There are more things to consider, however, such as the ocean’s currents, the direction of the waves, and the location of other people in the water. You must also be strong enough to kayak in the ocean. 

Fortunately, you can use any kayak for ocean kayaking. However, experts recommend using a sit-on kayak at first as these kayaks don’t fill up with water. So, if you have ever considered ocean kayaking, wait no more! With some practice and general knowledge, you will be ocean ready in no time.