Where Are Kayaks Allowed to Be Used?
If you’re wondering where you can use your kayak, read on. While you can kayak anywhere, you must first determine where you can use it legally. Federal and state laws set specific standards for kayaking locations. Unlike lakes, which are privately owned, rivers are considered public bodies of water. If you can paddle in navigable water, you’re good to go. But what about private or state-owned lakes? Fishing Kayaks
In order to stay safe, it’s best to choose a small lake, pond, or other body of water where powerboats are not a problem. You should also launch your kayak from a shoreline where other boaters can easily see you. Ideally, you should be in full view of other boaters so they can offer assistance if needed. If you’re in an unfamiliar lake, you can ask a local park ranger or another kayaker for advice.
If you plan on renting a kayak, make sure to get a permit. There are four lakes in the Forest Preserve District where kayaks are allowed, but they must have a permit. Silver Lake has a boat ramp. Hidden Lake, Round Meadow Lake, and Mallard are all carry-ins. West Branch is a carry-in only lake. All four of these lakes require an annual permit to be attached to the bow of the kayak. Active military and senior citizens are eligible for free permits.
In addition to registration, kayaks must be properly numbered. If the kayak is used on public waters, you must have a current state sticker or certificate of number. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in a ticket. Registration also provides added security against theft. Even if you never plan on using your kayak, you should always keep the title of your boat with you. If you don’t, you may find yourself with no way to prove that you own it.
While registration is not required in most states, it helps maintain a safe waterway and provides money for upgrades and conservation. The fees for registration vary by state, but they’re usually in the $25 to $250 range. The registration process is easy, and the process should only take a few minutes. The authorities will review your application on an individual basis. But, if you’re still unsure, you can always try again later.
In New York, you’ll need a permit to operate your kayak. The Department of Motor Vehicles has rules for watercraft with motors, including kayaks. They require a registration, which is valid for three years from the date you register it. You should also ensure that you’re a strong swimmer and a good swimmer. It is important to know the minimum depth at which you’ll be able to swim two body lengths and tow a victim fifteen feet in case of an emergency.
If you’re planning on using your kayak on a public body of water, check local weather conditions and forecasts. Then, prepare to capsize! Know how to use a tow rope or rescue system, and always keep your feet pointed downstream. And, don’t forget to bring a throw bag and a rescue kit for emergencies. If there’s a lot of boat traffic, stay near the shore. If you’re planning to paddle with a group, try crossing in a “pod” or line-ahead.