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Kayaking on the open ocean tends to be a little more challenging than kayaking in a stream or creek. There are ocean currents to consider, the weather can change quickly, and there are more underwater dangers such as reefs and sharks to worry about.

Here are five tips that any beginning sea kayaker can use to make their trip more enjoyable.

Take a Lesson First

Like anything else, the more you know about kayaking, the more rewarding the experience will be. Increase your safety and have more fun by taking a lesson in kayaking from a qualified instructor before heading out into the open water.

Most rental companies probably will require this anyway.

Know the BasicsĀ 

In the calm waters of a forest stream or the slow-moving waters of a gentle river, it’s probably okay to figure out the basics of kayaking on your own.

But in the wide open ocean, you pretty much need to know what you are doing. If something goes wrong, there’s less room for error.

Start Slow

Kayaking in the ocean is usually better and more exciting than river or stream kayaking. But it pays to go slow.

Start by kayaking in a sheltered bay or close to the beach before taking on more challenging conditions, such as the open water far from shore. You will learn fairly quickly and be able to apply your new skills to more challenging situations.

Check the Weather

Before heading out into the ocean — or into a river, for that matter — it’s always a good idea to check the weather report. If skies are going to be sunny and the sea smooth, you shouldn’t have any worries. But if rough weather is predicted, you probably will want to delay your kayaking trip until it passes.

Bring a Friend

There’s always safety in numbers. Inexperienced kayakers should never go out alone.