Kayaking is a fun way to spend an afternoon, particularly in summertime. Safety should be a top priority for all kayakers, and especially for novices. A kayaking course can be a great way for novices to familiarize themselves with the basics of kayaking, including the best practices in regard to staying safe on the water.

When kayaking for the firs time, it’s important that novices choose the right type of water for their experience level. Rough, choppy waters can prove challenging to even the most skilled kayakers, and these same waters can be deadly for novices. The following are some characteristics novice kayakers should look for in a body of water before pushing themselves and their kayakers into the current.

Size
Novices should avoid vast bodies of water, such as oceans, rivers or large lakes, until they gain more experience. Large ponds, small lakes and rivers can be great places to gain some experience and familiarize oneself with the nuances of paddling.

Demeanor
Demeanor might not be a trait one normally associates with water, but looking at a body of water in this way can be a great way to determine if it’s the right place for a novice. If a body of water is raging, with choppy waters and rapid waves, then steer clear. If the water is calm, then it’s likely a safe spot for novices.

Traffic
Novices may be intimidated by crowds, but other kayakers can serve as something of a safety net for novices. Kayaking is a fun group activity, and novice paddlers should never go it alone.

Variety
Novices should steer clear of waters that allow power boats. Such vessels can alter paddling conditions quickly, and that can put novices in potentially precarious positions. Stick to waters that allow only canoes or other boats that won’t affect water conditions.

Access
Until they get more comfortable in their kayaks, novice kayakers should stay close to shorelines so they have quick and simple access to land should they struggle to get acclimate to the water and being in a kayak.

Kayaking is a popular activity that even novices can enjoy, especially when they take certain measures to ensure their safety.