Boat and kayak safety

Sirmilik National Park

During the summer season boat and kayak trips are the most popular way to explore Sirmilik. There are several skills you will need in order to be properly prepared to travel safely in this area. If you are planning a boat or kayak trip, please consider:

  • In the arctic the extremely cold water kills quickly. Will you bring a dry suit - an essential for kayak travel? Reduce the risk of immersion in all your activities as the consequences of any accident are very serious.
  • Are you extremely experienced in your chosen activity? The high arctic is no place to learn new skills.
  • Can you cope with fast changing weather? Wind and currents can quickly whip waves into rough water.
  • Is your group large enough, with enough boats or kayaks to offer assistance if an accident occurs and members of your group need to be rescued?
  • Are you comfortable with bracing, manoeuvering, surf landing and launching and self-rescue techniques?
  • Can you interpret marine charts and tide tables and use them to identify marine hazards?
  • Can you travel on a bearing and use triangulation to establish your position?
  • Can you navigate in fog?
  • Are you able to estimate the speed of a current and estimate ferry angle under varying conditions?
  • Can you establish your position and follow waypoints using a GPS?

Wind and rough water

Remember that areas of calm seas and areas of wind and rough waters may be relatively close together. Generally, during the full and new moons you can expect three to four days of strong prevailing winds and rough sea conditions. Local outfitters know the conditions and weather trends for the area. Please listen to local knowledge and local outfitter advice regarding winds, rough water and points of land that are dangerous during challenging weather conditions.

Travelling by sea kayak is one way to experience the beauty and scenery of Sirmilik, but only for those who are very experienced and only in certain areas. Marine hazards include strong winds, adverse weather, floating ice, and tides. Boat transportation to drop-off and pick-up points is advised.

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