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Night Time Kayaking: Essential Things You NEED To Know ! [2023]

Night time kayaking is tranquil and perfect for those who need some peaceful time away from their busy lives.

If you want to relax or just want something different from your usual routine, try out night kayaking with your friends on weekends! 

Kayaking at night allows you to enjoy seeing all of the stars and hearing little critters in the water and brush, and enjoy nature in a way you have never seen before.

Night kayaking can be done year-round, but it’s especially beautiful in the winter when the sky is dark and clear.

  1. What Is Night Time Kayaking?
  2. Why Kayaking At Night Is Fun?

– You Can Experience Bioluminescence

– Night Time Kayaking Is A Great Form Of Exercise

– No Sun Exposure When Kayaking At Night

– The World Looks Different At Night

  1. What To Bring On A Night Time Kayaking Trip?

– Navigation Lights

– Personal Floatation Device

– Paddle Leash

– Kayaking Helmet

– Dry Bag

  1. Safety Tips When Kayaking At Night

– Know Your Route

– Inform Your Family And Friends On Your Plan

– Check Weather Condition

– Do Not Use New Kit

  1. Where To Kayak At Night?
  2. Is It Legal To Kayak At Night?
  3. What Do You Wear Kayaking At Night?


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What Is Night Time Kayaking?

For anyone who has tried to kayak during the day, we know that it can be difficult when the sun is too bright, and you have no shade from trees or buildings.

You can’t just paddle around in peace when there are so many people on the water who want to do the same thing as you.

Night time kayaking is the perfect solution to all of these problems where the sun isn’t as bright, the water is faster-moving, there are fewer people, and it’s just a more relaxing experience

You can paddle around and see the city lights reflected on the water, or if you’re in a rural area, you can see the stars shining brightly in the sky.

Why Kayaking At Night Is Fun?

1. You Can Experience Bioluminescence 

When you kayak at night, you have the opportunity to see bioluminescence in the water

Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by a living organism which is a natural phenomenon that can be found in both salt and freshwater.

This occurs when microorganisms are disturbed, such as when you paddle through the water or when a fish jumps out, and the disturbance causes the bacteria to emit light, which creates a beautiful blue-green glow.

One of the best places to witness this unique phenomenon is during night time kayaking in Cork, Ireland.

2. Night Time Kayaking Is A Great Form Of Exercise

Kayaking at night is a great way to enjoy the peace and tranquility of being on the water while getting some exercise to get your heart pumping without feeling like you’re working out too hard!

It provides a full-body workout because you use your arms, legs, and core muscles while kayaking and this low-impact activity will increase muscle strength from the paddling movement.

Each stroke of the paddle will enable you to contract your abdominal and oblique muscles, and this will help you to lose belly fat and build core strength. 

Night kayaking is also a great way to improve your balance and hand-eye coordination.

3. No Sun Exposure When Kayaking At Night

Kayaking at night may be one of the best things you do for your skin because there is no sun exposure.

When you kayak during the day, your skin is exposed to the sun, which can cause sunburn and skin damage due to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.

Night kayaking eliminates the risk of UV rays exposure and helps to avoid any long-term adverse effects such as wrinkles and age spots on the face.

The air is also cooler at night after sunset. Thus it is advisable to dress in light clothing to keep you warm.

4. The World Looks Different At Night

There’s something special about night kayaking that you just can’t experience during the day.

You’ll see familiar landmarks in a whole new light, and you may even spot some nocturnal animals that you wouldn’t usually see during the day while kayaking at night.

Instead of paddling under the bright sun, you’re surrounded by darkness punctuated by twinkling stars and a moonlit sky. 

The peacefulness of night kayaking is unmatched, and it’s the perfect way to unwind after a long day. 

night time kayaking what to bring

What To Bring On A Night Time Kayaking Trip?

1. Navigation Lights

When kayaking at night, it is important to bring along a flashlight that will help you to see where you are going.

This waterproof flashlight provides an intense spotlight beam that can be seen up to 656 ft away and lasts up to 50,000 hours. Perfect for bringing along for night kayaking.

It is also crucial to have some lights installed on your kayak so that other people can see you and avoid possible collision with other boats.

You can attach this slim, compact, and bright safety light to your kayak, and this light can keep you visible and safe while navigating in the dark.

night tie kayaking bright safety light

2. Personal Floatation Device

There’s nothing more panic-inducing than the feeling of being immersed in water with no way to stay afloat. 

That is why every paddler needs a personal flotation device known as PFD, a special type of floatation garment designed specifically as emergency protection against accidental drowning.

If you want to be safe when kayaking, your PFD must fit properly, and a good way of knowing if something will work well with what type of water environment you’ll experience is by trying them out yourself!

This Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device is designed for water activities and is available in an easily adjustable universal size fitting for both female and male paddlers.

night time kayaking personal flotation device

3. Paddle Leash

Paddle leashes are essential for kayaking because they keep the paddle close to the kayaker and prevent the paddle from getting lost in the water.

The most common type is the Velcro strap paddle leash which is attached to the kayaker’s wrist and the paddle. 

It is important to ensure that it is secured and that it will not get in the way while you are out kayaking. 

Make sure to practice using the paddle leash before you go kayaking so that you know how to use it properly.

night time kayaking velco strap paddle leash

4. Kayaking Helmet

Kayaking is an awesome experience, but it can also be very dangerous if you are not equipped with essential safety items. 

Wearing a kayaking helmet will help keep you safe throughout the process and ensure that your head doesn’t end up in any worse condition than what was started with!

A helmet can help protect you from serious head injuries in the event of a fall or collision, besides helping you to stay visible to other boaters and prevent accidents.

This kayaking helmet has a great ventilation system that keeps your head cool while providing maximum protection for your head.

night time kayaking kayaking helmet

5. Dry Bag

A dry bag is an important piece of equipment for a kayaking trip that keeps your belongings safe and dry no matter what happens. 

Even if you capsize your kayak, your personal belongings will be protected inside the dry bag

If you are going for a short night kayaking trip, you can choose a dry bag with a capacity between 5 and 10 liters that is sufficient to store your personal belongings. 

night time kayaking dry bag

The dry bag can be placed inside of your kayak’s bulkhead compartments or strap it onto the deck of the kayak.

night time kayaking safety tips

Safety Tips When Kayaking At Night

1. Know Your Route

Night time kayaking lets you see the beauty of the nighttime sky and listen to the sounds of nature. 

However, it’s important to stay safe by sticking to routes you know well and avoiding unfamiliar areas. 

Plan your route, and having a map with you will help you track your bearings while paddling out in the dark.

If you’re new to kayaking, it is always a good idea to take a local guide who can take you out to the paddling spots. 

2. Inform Your Family And Friends On Your Plan

If you are paddling alone at night, always inform your family members or friends about your kayaking plans and location. 

You also need to include the duration of your kayak plan and how many people are on your trip, and most importantly, stick to your plan.

You need to inform them to call for help if you are not back at the intended time.

3. Check Weather Condition

Weather and water conditions are essential factors in determining how safe and enjoyable your kayaking session would be.

Before you paddle out at night, be sure to check the weather condition, stream flows, and tide patterns using the National Weather Service

This information is crucial as it is extremely risky for you to kayak under bad weather conditions, no matter how experienced or skilled you are in handling kayaks.

Weather conditions can change rapidly, and if you do not have a clear vision of the route due to fog or thunderstorms, it is better to abort your plan and return to shore. 

3. Do Not Use New Kit

One of the most important safety tips for night kayaking is to make sure you know how your new gear works before trying it out at sunset

If you have bought new gear for your kayaking activity, do not try it out during night time kayaking.

Many things can go wrong during your night time kayaking trip, so always spend time using your new gear in broad daylight.

Where To Kayak At Night?

There are many excellent spots to kayak at night, and if you live near a lake, then this is an obvious choice for a night time kayaking experience.

Lakes offer an excellent place for beginners to learn how to paddle their kayaks in a less crowded space. 

Another great place to go kayaking at night is on a river or creek where you can paddle downstream on calm waters

You can also kayak on marshes or ponds, and since there are no waves or strong currents, it is suitable for beginners to explore kayaking at night.

Is It Legal To Kayak At Night?

Yes, it is legal to kayak at night. One of the most common questions asked is whether you can kayak at night and if it is legal to do so.

Currently, the US Coast Guard does not have any specific ruling that indicates kayaking at night is illegal.

However, do bear in mind that every state has different regulations on night time kayaking, and it is best to check the local rules and regulations before paddling at night. 

The US Coast Guard also states that the legal requirement for night kayaking lights is an electric torch or lighted lantern showing a white light, and it needs to be exhibited to prevent a collision on the water.

night time kayaking what do you wear kayaking at night

What Do You Wear Kayaking At Night?

Kayakers tend to get wet when paddling; thus, you should dress for the water temperature, not the weather, and choose clothes that keep you warm if you fall into the water.

It is highly recommended to wear layers for kayaking activities and choose clothes made from thin synthetic materials that will allow the clothes to dry faster.

You should also need to protect your feet when kayaking at night with neoprene paddling booties that will protect your feet.

Do not forget to pack an extra set of clothing and store them in a waterproof dry bag along with your personal belongings.

night time kayaking waterproof dry bag


Night kayaking is a fun and different way to relax and get some exercise. If you’ve never tried it before, we recommend that you give it a go! 

Not only will you have a great time on the water, but you may also find that night kayaking is one of the best workouts you’ve ever had.

With the right gear and some careful preparation, you can have a great time out on the water under the stars.

It doesn’t matter if you are night kayaking in St Thomas or your local lakes, rest assured, you will have an awesome experience and a memorable night with your friends.

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