Do not paddle alone
If inexperienced, join with
experienced paddlers and/or outfitters and try short trips
first. Peruse books and articles about sea kayaking in Florida
and talk with experts.
File a float plan that
contains departure location, time and date, and expected arrival
date, time and location
Five short blasts on a whistle
is the international signal for an emergency
Waving a brightly colored
shirt or towel can attract the attention of a passing boater
Take careful note of weather
conditions and forecasts. If in doubt, don’t proceed into open
water. Be especially vigilant during hurricane season, from June
through November. Warm weather thunderstorms can also bring high
winds and heavy rains, along with the risk of lightning strikes.
The prime paddling period in
Florida is from October through April
Parts of the trail may require
motel stays as there is no legal camping available. Budget
accordingly, and bring a locking security cable for securing
your craft to pilings, docks, fences, etc..
Stay well hydrated. Paddlers
should carry at least one gallon of freshwater per person per
day. In remote areas such as the Big Bend and Everglades, there
can be two or more days between replenishment stops.
Carry a tide chart. Some areas
can be very shallow at low tide. In certain tidal creeks, rivers
and passes, changing tides can cause strong currents that might
help or hinder.
When primitive camping, employ
leave no trace principles (www.lnt.org).
In high use areas, you may even be required to carry out human
waste in bags designed for this purpose.
If fishing, a Florida fishing
license is required for persons 16 years of age and older (free
for Florida residents 65 or older). Visit
http://myfwc.com/license/ or call 1-888-347-4356
temperatures can be experienced in almost all parts of Florida.
Snakes, including venomous
ones, can be active in coastal environments, even in salt
marshes. Proceed with caution when you can’t see the ground. If
encountering a snake, back away and admire these beautiful
animals as they go about their lives.
Poison ivy, poisonwood trees
and other plants that cause allergic reactions can be found
along the trail. If in doubt, do not touch.
Don’t walk on oysters or coral
barefoot. Cactus, sandspurs, glass and other items can cause
problems, too. Wear appropriate footwear.
Long-distance paddling can be
rigorous. Adverse tides, currents and head winds can hinder
progress and challenge physical endurance. Be physically fit
By setting a relaxed pace for
your trip, with plenty of time set aside for side trips and land
explorations, you will likely have a richer experience.