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Do You Need A License Before You Go for A Kayaking Session

Do You Need A License Before You Go for A Kayaking Session?

A kayak is generally 10 feet long. The longest production kayak probably is not longer than 16 feet. It’s a small boat that neither crosses international waters nor is used for commercial purposes. Kayak is not even considered as a significant transportation vessel.

So, do you need a license before you go for a kayaking session? The answer is no. From a professional perspective, this question is funny enough. But as a person who is about to start kayaking and taking the whole thing seriously, it’s not a matter of joke.

You will find some articles that would state that kayaking registration and licensing varies from state to state. Wrong! It does not. In every state, it’s obvious to register and have a license for motorized vessels. So, if your kayak has a motor, you need a license. If not, you don’t.

This is misinformation that most people provide. Because kayaking session refers to manually operating kayaks. So, if manually operated boats don’t need a license, why would licensing before a kayaking session depend on the rules of a state? This is nothing but misleading.

You are willing to go for a kayaking session, and you are taking your passion for kayaking very seriously. This attempt is praiseworthy. Nevertheless, the answer will give you one less thing to worry about.

To go for a kayaking session, all you need is to learn the basics of kayaks, different types of kayaks, how to row a kayak properly and take enough safety measures. After these, you are entirely ready for a kayaking session. This article will deeply analyze what you need to do before going for a kayaking session.

What Actually Do You Need Before You Go for A Kayaking Session?

As I have said earlier, here, you will find everything you need to know before going for a kayaking session. So, let’s start.

Kayak Basics

A kayak is a watercraft that is generally propelled by two people or one person depending on the geographical location. The source of the word kayak comes from the Greenlandic word “qajaq”.

The traditional design of a kayak dictates that it has a covered deck with one or two places to sit. Each seat is considered as a cockpit. Smaller kayaks have single cockpits. Kayaks over 8 to 10 feet have double cockpits.

A kayak is not meant for carrying any passengers or goods. People often get confused between kayaks and canoes. Canoes are boats made by people who intend it to be a swift two-person boat where they can carry goods from one place to another in no time.

But a kayak has always been a boat that was initially designed for recreational purposes. Later on, there were many modern versions of kayaks having the total elimination cockpits and sit-on-top sitting arrangement, oil and gas-powered motors, and even added sails.

Types of Kayaks

Kayaks were initially recreational, but people came up with different kayak designs that expanded their purpose later on. So, currently, there are four major types of kayaks. There are other subcategories, but these subcategories can be covered under these major types of kayaks.

The four types of kayaks are–

  • Racing kayaks
  • Recreational kayaks
  • Sea kayaks
  • Surfing kayaks

Let’s discuss briefly about each type.

Racing Kayaks

Back in 1873, kayaking was introduced as a sport through a regatta arranged by the Canoe Club under the supervision of Mr MacGregor. The modern-day kayaking we see was introduced in 1931.

Kayaking became an Olympic event in the Berlin XI Olympiad back in 1936. Since then, kayaking has seen different types of sporting events. Starting from short white-water races to a 1000-mile long multi-day marathon, kayaking is now an international and elegant sport.

Recreational Kayaking

Recreational kayaking has always been there since the beginning of kayaking history. People often use a kayak to reach steep waterbodies having shallow depths to explore and take pictures.

In massive water bodies like lakes, people go for kayaking to spend time. The water is peaceful, and the paddling works as a stress reliever and an exercise.

Sea Kayaks

When different kayak purposes were introduced one after one, people started modifying their kayaks according to their needs. Thus, for sea kayaking, sit-on-top kayaks were introduced. Why traditional kayaks were not suitable for sea kayaking is a question.

You see, unlike rivers, seas have massive currents. Kayaks are incredibly light watercraft that balance on the current depending on the riders’ weight. By any unfortunate chance, if the kayak tips, getting out from traditional kayaks where you have to put more than half of your body inside the structure, gets extremely tough.

On the contrary, if there’s a chance for the kayak to tip, you can jump off from it at any time from the sit-on-top kayak. That’s why in the sea, people use sit-on-top kayaks.

Surfing Kayaks

The name actually says it all. Just like surfing boards, surfing kayaks have flat bottoms and tough edges to cut through the strong river and sea currents. Surfing kayaks have cockpits because surfing requires more balance than sea kayaking.

How to Kayak?

The basic kayaking skill requires you to know how to move forward, turn and how to stop a kayak. Let’s get on with it.

Moving Forward

To move forward with a kayak, at first, you have to know how to hold a kayak paddle. Keep it vertically with the kayak while holding it with both hands. The forward-moving motion requires you to put one side of the paddle underwater. Only half or 2/3rd part of the paddle should be underwater, and you have to push the water back. Do the same thing on the other side and try to create a rhythm.


To turn a kayak, all you have to do is do a sweep stroke on the side you want to turn. To turn right, use the paddle to do some sweep strokes on the right side. That way, the kayak will pivot towards the side and turn. For turning left, apply the same method.

Stopping and Moving Backwards

Stopping the kayak means doing the exact opposite thing that we do to move forward. To move forward, we push the water back, right? To stop, all we have to do is, push the water to the front. Also, doing this in a proper rhythmic motion will enable you to go backwards as well.

Safety Measures

The safety measures while kayaking is usual. You have to wear a life jacket at all times. Wear skin-tight clothes that are water-resistant, and wear a helmet and goggles to keep your head safe and visions clear.

Final Words

So, the answer to the question, do you need a license before you go for a kayaking session ended in the first paragraph. If you have gone through the article, you now know everything you need to know and do before going for a kayaking session.

We expect you to have fun while kayaking, which you will. Don’t forget about the safety measures. After a few weeks of practice, you will master the rowing motions in no time.

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