Articles - Top Tips for Sea Kayakers on Coastal Navigation

Coastal navigation tips for sea kayakers
Coastal navigation tips for sea kayakers
Adam Harmer - Plas Y Brenin - Posted on 26 Aug 2010
Sea Kayaking is all about being prepared, planning ahead and preparing your maps ready to head out on your next sea kayak adventure. Now if you can do this the night before in the comfort of your home you will be able to add the wind direction and tide times to your maps on top of the laminate... Perfect planning indeed!

Tip 1
Use an OS map instead of a chart, maps tend to have a lot more information on than charts for sea kayaking, such as contour lines, buildings, roads, parking spots, places of interest, gridlinesCoastal nvigation for sea kayakers 1

Tip 2

When I know where I am likely to be going I will collate the maps and charts and transfer the relevant information

Tip 3
This photo, shows the OS Anglesey 1:50000 map, I have lifted the overfall and tidal diamond information from the chart and added this to the map.
Coastal nvigation for sea kayakers 2
If the information doesn’t change, ie. The flashing sequence of a lighthouse or a wreck that maybe exposes at low water I would add this to my map before laminating.

A list you might consider could be

* Lighthouses
* Overfalls
* Transits between headlands
* Significant Buoyage
* Useful Phone numbers (Taxi shuttles, Coastguard)
* Your Name and Email address (so other people don’t nick your prize maps)
* Bird Restrictions or seasonal infoCoastal nvigation for sea kayakers 3
* Tidal Flow Rates, whether the Overfalls work on Springs and Neaps, their speed a direction. Maybe they only work on the Ebb or Flood, like Penrhyn Mawr

Tip 4
Once you have transferred all the information you need, you might consider cutting the map into smaller sections so you can fit them onto the deck of your sea kayak. Once the map is ready you can go ahead with laminating it

Tip 5
Once laminated you can use permanent OHP pens. I use red and green ones, you use these after laminating but make sure you don’t get the nib wet otherwise they stop working, another alternative is a chinograph pencil and knife to sharpen it with after the map has been laminated
Coastal nvigation for sea kayakers 4
Tip 6
Don’t be tempted to hole punch the laminates, as over time water will seep between the holes and destroy your lovely map

Tip 7
All you have to do then is keep a file, say of North Wales and then at the weekend you pick up your file and just select the sections you need before getting on the water.

Tip 8
Finally you will need to remove all your red or green pen from the top of the laminate, You could use a drop of whisky but I prefer to drink that. Other things that work are toothpaste or methylated spirit.
Coastal nvigation for sea kayakers 5

About the Author
Adam is a full time instructor at Plas y Brenin both as a mountaineer and paddler. Adam is extremely passionate about paddling, having travelled across the six continents of the globe exploring rivers, lakes and seas. He is a BCU Level 5 coach and also volunteers himself as the Regional Coaching Organiser for North Wales in his spare time.

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