Know before you go: Purchasing water sports products, safety reminders

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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Warmer weather is finally here in the U.P. and for many that means taking paddle boards, kayaks and canoes out on the water.

"Paddle sports around here is very, very attractive. Obviously we have the big lake, but we also have lots on inland lakes to paddle that are very peaceful,” said Todd King, Co-Owner Downwind Sports.

When looking to purchase a kayak, it is important to know exactly what kind you need.

"There are essentially three different categories of kayaks. Recreational kayaks, touring kayaks, and then the in between which is the transitional or day touring boat,” said King.

Each kayak serves a different purpose and performs best on different bodies of water.

"Anything that requires big lake stuff like Lake Superior, you need a touring cockpit. Something that’s a little smaller and then you need two bulkheads. And a bulkhead is basically a buoyancy device,” King said.

According to King, there is one big mistake that can be made when purchasing a kayak.

"If you don’t try it before you buy, is the biggest thing. The other thing is even sitting in the kayak before you purchase it is huge. Making sure that the adjustments will fit you."

The United States Coast Guard Station in Marquette also reminds everyone that any time you are on the water in a kayak or canoe, certain safety features are required.

"Always make sure that you have a life jacket. That’s required to have on board with you. It doesn’t have to be on, but it has to be present. And then a sound producing device, a whistle, air horn, anything of that nature,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class, Terry Bailey.

It is also recommended before heading out on the water that you let someone know where you will be and to have some means of communication with someone on shore.

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