KASK x Burnsco: Kayak Safety Intro

Boating, Watersports and others

Kayaking with Confidence

When it comes to kayaking, safety should always be a top priority. The oceans, rivers and lakes around New Zealand are nothing short of breathtaking, however, they can come with their fair share of risks. Fortunately, organisations like The Kiwi Association of Sea Kayakers (KASK) have taken up the mantle of promoting kayak safety, and we at Burnsco are stoked to partner with them to make sure that every adventure on the water is as safe as it is exciting.

KASK was set up to promote and encourage the sport of sea kayaking, promote safety standards, develop techniques and equipment, deal with issues of coastal access and protection, organize a biennial sea kayaking forum and publish the New Zealand Sea Kayaker Newsletter.

They've launched an extensive kayak safety initiative, aiming to educate, equip, and empower paddlers of all skill levels. This includes a series of instructional videos and a roadshow spanning New Zealand with workshops that provide opportunities to learn, practice, and connect with fellow enthusiasts.


Free Kayak Safe Workshops:

Location Date
Lake Karapiro Saturday 11 November 2023
Wellington Saturday 25 November 2023
Christchurch Wednesday 29 November 2023
Auckland - Half Moon Bay Thursday 30 November 2023
Dunedin Saturday 9 December 2023
Nelson Saturday 9 December 2023
Napier Saturday 6 January 2024
Bay of Islands Saturday 13 January 2024
Whangarei Sunday 14 January 2024


Register here.


As part of the Kayak Safe summer 2023/24 video series, they cover the following topics which we will go into in more detail in following blogs.

1. How to Choose the Right Equipment 

The foundation of kayak safety begins with selecting the right gear. It is important to choose the appropriate equipment for the type of kayaking that you will be participating in, including Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs), paddles, and kayaks.

PFDs: Your PFD is your best friend on the water. Ensure it's the right size and fits snugly, allowing freedom of movement while providing sufficient buoyancy.

Paddles: Invest in a high-quality paddle that suits your paddling style. The right paddle can make a world of difference to your kayaking experience.

Kayaks: Selecting the right kayak is crucial. Consider factors like stability, length, intended use, and size. A sea kayak differs significantly from a recreational kayak, so choose wisely.

2. Before you Head Out - The WET Acronym

Before heading out on the water on your kayaking adventure, remember the WET acronym, a handy checklist to ensure you're well prepared for your journey.

W - Weather: Stay updated on wind speed and direction, as well as wave and swell height.

E - Equipment: Pack essentials like your PFD, paddle, two forms of communication, appropriate clothing for the conditions, and any necessary safety equipment.

T - Tell Someone Your Plans: Always inform a trusted friend or family member (who is not going with you) about your kayaking plans, including your route and expected return time.

3. How to Stay Safe on the Water 

While on the water, safety isn't just about gear, it's also about responsible behaviour and effective communication.

Whenever possible, kayak with others. In a group, you can watch out for each other and offer assistance if needed.

Familiarise yourself with common paddle and hand signals to communicate with your fellow paddlers. This can help you convey information, make decisions, and stay safe.

4. What to Do in Case of Emergency 

Despite thorough preparation, emergencies can still happen so it's essential to know how to react.

If you capsize, practice self rescue techniques such as the "Kayak roll" if you are using a sit in kayak, or, re-entering your kayak from the water for sit on, these skills can be lifesaving.

Carry a mobile phone and VHF radio and know how to use it, if you are unsure then consider doing the maritime VHF operator’s certificate with the coastguard to learn the ins and outs of using a VHF. In an emergency, call for assistance on Channel 16, the international hailing and distress frequency, or if you know your local channel, radio in on that. State your situation clearly and wait for a response. If calling from your mobile phone dial 111 in an emergency, or *500 for direct Coastguard assistance.


The KASK x Burnsco partnership offers resources and training opportunities to help kayakers develop their skills and safety knowledge. Their roadshow, workshops, and instructional videos are invaluable tools for both beginners and experienced paddlers alike.

Find out if there is a roadshow in your area here: Kayak Safe NZ Roadshow

Do you have any questions?

Please, contact our friendly team on 0800 102041 or email: website@burnsco.co.nz

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We provide general information on products, not personal advice.  Always seek the help of a relevant tradesperson if you have a technical query.