One of the simpler rules to follow is this: make sure it floats. Yes, the most obvious would be making sure the kayak floats and has no holes or gashes that would cause it to sink in the middle of the lake. However, most people don’t think of all of the other gear in their kayak. If your kayak rolls, most likely, all of your gear will be floating down the river, which is bad enough, but imagine if it the gear were to sink! You should put gear that isn’t waterproof into waterproof containers that will float. You have to remember that if your kayak rolls, even the waterproof areas in your kayak will get water in them.
One thing you should consider carrying in your kayak at all times is a PFD. A PFD is a Personal Flotation Device. A PFD is the single most important piece of equipment you could carry with you in a kayak. Some parts of the world don’t require you to bring one with you, but you should take one with you, if not wear it, anyway. They now make them to look good ad feel comfortable, while with storage pockets to hold your gear. There is no reason why you shouldn’t wear a PFD for it will not only help you save your gear in a roll over, but could also save your life.
When kayaking it is good to use the buddy system. You should never paddle alone. The weather conditions could change rapidly, and things could happen that you can not handle by yourself. A buddy can help you in these situations, and could save your life.
You can also increase your safety with the gear that you carry. You should carry a compass, map, food, water, matches, flare gun, cell phone and anything else you think you might need. It will all fit into one small bag or even into the storage pockets of the PFD you should be wearing. Also, a pump is a necessity because if your kayak is full of water after rolling or capsizing you are either going to get hypothermia or you aren’t going to be able to make it back to shore. Please make sure it floats because if you roll you won’t be thinking of is catching your pump.