Ocean kayaking or sea kayaking is a type of sport that is generally carried on open water bodies like lakes, bays, seas and oceans. Ocean kayaks or sea kayaks are generally small watercraft with a sit-in design and the capability of attaching a spray skirt on the deck. Ocean kayaks and sea kayaks are also capable of taking small choppy waves and whitewater. If you are going for an ocean kayaking adventure for the very first time, or you are a beginner in ocean kayaking, then it can be quite intimidating for you.
With that in mind, I have curated this small and subtle guide on Kayaking In The Ocean Vs Kayaking In The Sea. this guide post will depict each and every piece of information about the ocean and sea kayaking in complete depth. Right from selecting the correct kayak for an ocean ride to safety tips and everything in between – this post has got it all.
Here’s a highlight of this blog post.
1. What is ocean kayaking?
2. What is sea kayaking?
3. Ocean kayaking Vs Sea kayaking
4. Tips and strategies for kayaking in the ocean and sea
5. Safety gear for kayaking in the ocean
6. Best kayaks for ocean and sea
What is Ocean Kayaking?
As the name says, ocean kayaking is the activity of paddling across the open water with a perfect ocean paddle board or an ocean kayak whichever fits the best for you. For kayaking in the ocean, specialy designed ocean kayaks are used which are generally slim boats, long and narrow at both ends. This ensures smooth gliding and allows the kayak to cut through waterways.
Ocean kayaking can be done at various locations, lakes and rivers that connect with the ocean or flows into the ocean. Many kayaking clubs and providers do offer kayaking in the ocean activity and special training for the same. I personally love the ocean kayaking experince as it brings the feeling of peace in mind.
In fact, this activity of kayaking in the ocean and sea is not only a good excessive but also peaceful for the mind and body. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city and daily work, you can unwind your mind and body in the middle of the ocean. And trust me, this is the best feeling ever.
Another major benefit of kayaking in the sea or ocean is that you can leave the hectic life back and let the water hit you. Of course, you won’t be able to see the amazing shorelines and beaches, but you’ll surely enjoy the opportunity of wildlife and other aquatic creatures like whales, dolphins, sea eagles and a lot more.
Is Ocean Kayaking Tough?
Kayaking in the ocean or sea is surely exhilarating and memorable sport. If you have got the right ocean or sea kayak, you can surely explore loads of amazing sites, and lakes, enjoy a rejuvenating exercise and stay close to mother nature. You can also go on full-stack camping or recreational adventure on the lake, river stream or ocean bay for fishing and sightseeing, or just for fun.
But the question arises whether ocean kayaking is tough or easy.
To be honest, kayaking in the ocean or sea is quite easy, even if you are a beginner or a newbie paddler.
With little effort, the right technique, good kayaking gear and accessories and the best kayak, you can surely think of starting your kayaking in the ocean journey. Besides, there are too many options and choices available when it comes to ocean kayaking. For example, you can start at the level you are comforable with and then increase the pace or slow as you prefer. Also, depending on your paddling skill.
However, kayaking in the sea or ocean can be difficult for some people and relatively easy for others. It basically depends on certain factors like the size of the paddler, stamina level, physical and mental fitness, experience in other water sports or sports etc.
If you are an absolute beginner in kayaking in the sea or ocean, then I would recommend you to hire a professional or senior kayaker who can teach you some proper techniques, tips and safety measures with regard to kayaking in the sea.
Here are some tips that you can follow to make your ocean and sea kayaking journey easy-peasy.
1. Get a right kayak
If you seriously want to excel in kayaking in the ocean or sea, you need to have the right ocean paddle board or a kayak. Your kayak can make or break your ocean kayaking experience.
So, you must be very careful when selecting a kayak for ocean or sea kayaking. Done go behind the hype of the kayak. Look for your comfort, ease of control, right length and width. If you are 6 feet tall then a kayak with 10 feet or 12 feet should be your ideal choice.
Apart from lenght and width, your kayak should also be easily manoeuvred, steer and paddle with less effort. Foldable kayaks from ORU have these features and attributes. You can consider buying any one of them for sea kayaking.
If you are looking for more stability, then go with wider kayaks that come with a rudder system or skeg at the bottom.
2. Use a paddle
After deciding on the right kayak, it is now time to opt for the right paddle system that will help you with paddling, cruise control, speed control, directional flow and manoeuvrability as well. An ideal paddle lenght is between 210 cm to 260 cm. Most of the paddles do come with a kayak, but you can also opt is separately and make kayaking in the sea enjoyable and fun.
3. Learn to sit and exit
Before you take your kayak into the ocean or sea for the very first time, you should know how to sit in and exit from the kayak cockpit, especially if you are a newbie or a beginner paddler. The rule of thumb is, your nose should vertically be aligned with the belly, your hands should be at shoulder lenght and you should not lean too much on either side.
If you are leaning too much on the one side, there is a chance of getting a tip-off from the kayak. And once you tip-off from the sit-in kayak it will be next to impossible for you to get inside the kayak again.
You should also learn to create your torso a bit which will help you in putting more power on the paddle and it can give you a more speedy ride on your sea kayaking journey of yours.
4. Learn to paddle
The next thing which you need to learn is paddling. You should know about the basics of paddling as it is the foundation for your ocean kayaking journey. You should know how to hold the paddle the right way along with the blades facing the right direction and hands in the correct position. This will help you steer your kayak forward hassle-free.
Also, learn to put the paddle blade into the water and take it out every time. There should be a good combination of paddle strokes if you seriously want to move your kayak in the right direction ahead.
5. Safety gears
Last but not least, make sure you are equipped with all the kayaking gear and safety accessories for your ocean kayaking ride. Sea and ocean kayaking is surely a daunting task and risky as well, especially for those who are newbies and beginner paddlers. I have discussed this point below in complete depth but here are the few safety gears that you should have.
What is The Difference Between Ocean Kayaking & Sea Kayaking?
Ocean kayaking can be a thrilling and challenging activity that allows you to explore the coast and offshore islands, observe marine life, and enjoy the beauty of the ocean. It can also be a great way to get some exercise and spend time outdoors. However, it is important to be aware of the potential risks and hazards associated with ocean kayaking, including strong currents, waves, and changing weather conditions. It is always a good idea to wear a personal flotation device (PFD) and to follow proper safety guidelines when kayaking in the ocean.
Ocean kayaking is a type of kayaking expedition that is done in small water bodies that live slowly moving lakes, streams, active rivers, lakes, and mid-size ponds. Sea kayakers might slightly have to face the rocks and other obstacles that might hinder their kayaking experince. As the sea is slightly small compared to the ocean.
However, navigation and paddling are easier in the sea, all thanks to its small size and subtle nature. Even newbies and beginners can think of going for a sea kayaking experience with the limited paddling skill they have.
Sea Kayaking Vs Ocean Kayaking [Types Of Kayak Required]
Whether it is sea kayaking or ocean kayaking, sitting in a type of kayak is suited for both types of adventures. This type of kayak allows the paddler to sit inside the cockpit, which is located within the cockpit. Paddler needs to sit inside the hull and place their lets under the deck of the kayak.
This type of kayak puts the paddler into the water’s surface and gives the kayak a low centre of gravity and makes it more efficient for paddling a stroke. The cockpit of sit-in kayaks is enclosed which ensures your knees are placed against the wall of the kayak and you can paddle the kayak forward more easily.
Moreover, the sit-in type of kayak is also less affected by the winds that sit on top kayak. As the lower part of the body is within the kayak, you will also be protected against the splash of water and sun rays, and you can add a sparkly skirt for more protection.
Sea Kayaking Vs Ocean Kayaking [Difficulty Level]
You like kayaking but there’s a small matter that is keeping you away from your ocean and sea kayaking journey. You don’t know which type of kayaking is difficult.
Ocean kayaking and sea kayaking are both different things. Both require a different skill set, kayaking experince, accessories, gear and type of kayak. However, it is not at all hard to learn about the ocean or kayaking. You just need a few basics to paddle efficiently and efficiently.
You can think of hiring a kayak instructor who can help you out with learning how to paddle a kayak, how to sit in and get out of the kayak, how to manage the winds, highs and lows, how to perform forward and backward strokes and lot more.
When going for ocean or sea kayaking, not much strength or power is required as the water will be flat in the ocean and sea. Whitewater paddle boarding and kayaking required more power and strength.
Simply put, ocean and sea kayaking is not all difficult.
Sea Kayaking Vs Ocean Kayaking [Suited For]
Sea kayaking and ocean kayaking is suited for slightly experienced level kayakers and paddlers who are more regular with the sport and have the knack for it. Beginners and newbie kayakers can also try their hands with ocean and sea kayaking, however, they should learn the sport first in and out. Also, they should carry relevant safety gear and hire a professional kayaker if they are serious about kayaking in the ocean.
What Type Of Kayaks Are Best For The Ocean?
1. Sit in kayaks
if you seriously want to take your ocean and sea kayaking experince to a whole new level, sit-in kayaks are best suited for you. The cockpit of such kayaks are partly enclosed which allows you to sit comfortably within the hull of the kayak and your leg towards the deck.
The enclosed shape cockpit of the sit-in kayak also provides shelter against the cool environmental conditions, especially when you are going for an ocean kayaking adventure in winter. Plus, you’ll also be protected against the splash of water. Another advantage of sit-in kayaks is that the cockpit allows the paddlers to comfortably sit within the kayak and brace their bodies inside the walls of the kayak for better paddling performance.
2. Motorized kayaks
If you personally ask me which is the best type of kayak that you should be buying for your next sea or ocean kayaking experince, then a Motorized kayak should be on your list. Though they are mostly sit-on-top kayaks but they come with stunning speed and motor compatibility that will give you an easy peasy ride.
You also don’t need a paddle to row your kayak forward or backwards. With the help of a motor system, you can drive your kayak in any direction and at great speed. Most of the motor kayaks are stand-up kayaks that are either suited for stand-up fishing or duck hunting.
Also, they are more expensive as compared to other camping or recreational kayaks.
3. Inflatable kayaks
The next type of kayak that is suited for kayaking in the sea or ocean is an inflatable kayak. These types of kayaks are made with PVC construction material and they are great for long-distance kayaking and ocean kayaking experience. They are extremely lightweight, come fully accessorized with relevant kayaking gears and accessories, are suited for beginners and kids and are built to last.
One of the biggest features of inflatable kayaks is they can be stored anywhere you want. They occupy less space because of their inflatable design. You can deflate them, stuff them inside a backpack that comes along and store it anywhere.
Also, you don’t need a kayak trailer or rack for the car to carry and transport inflatable kayaks. You can easily carry them in small and compact size backpacks and take them anywhere with you.
4. Foldable kayaks
As the name says it all. A folding kayak is a type of kayak that can be folded or dismantled into pieces and tacked into a bag that comes along for storage and transportion. Folding kayaks are also called as portable kayaks which can be carried out anywhere and transported hassle-free.
They are available in various types, sizes and shapes, allowing the paddler to select the best kayak for them. Such kayaks are mostly suited for camping, touring and recreational purposes only.
Such kayaks are also great choices for those having limited storage space in their home and paddlers who don’t have proper kayak transportion systems. You can carry on these kayaks and take with them on your adventure anywhere in the world. Whether its an off-road trip or fly to any destination, you can carry and transport foldable kayaks anywhere.
Folding kayaks are also lighweight as compared to sit-in kayaks and much easier to carry and store. Performance-wise, they are lot faster, all thanks to their narrow and sharp design which makes them easy to manoeuvre and highly stable on a variety of water types.
5. Hybrid kayak paddle board
As the name says it all. A hybrid kayak paddle board is a type of watercraft that can either be used as a kayak or a paddle board at any time. It comes along with kayaking seat and D rings attached to the board, allowing you to convert the board into a kayak in no time.
Another great benefit of a hybrid paddle board is that they come fully accessorized with relevant paddle board accessories like a backpack, inflatable pump, tracking fins, paddle for rowing, repair kit, warranty and lot more.
6. Mini pontoon boats
Mini pontoon boats have always been a great way to explore the large ocean, seas and large waterbodies. Such boats are suited for tandem rides and capable of carrying additional load, gears and tools for your kayaking adventure.
They are also loaded with additional accessories like rod holders, mounting points, adjustable seats, motor mount, wide deck platform, anti-slip deck padding material, skeg at the bottom and so much more.
How To Start Ocean Kayaking?
Kayaking in the ocean is surely a daunting task, especially if you are a newbie or beginner-level paddler or kayaker. Without experince or without the proper support, you cannot think of launching your kayak into the ocean.
So, here’s a quick guide on how to get started with kayaking in the Ocean.
1. Learn to swim
First things first, you should know how to swim if you are planning for kayaking in the ocean or sea. Kayaking in the sea without the knowledge of swimming could be very risky and dangerous. You know the saying, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Swimming will help you in case of emergencies and at the time when you tip off from your kayak in the middle of the ocean. Besides, swimming is also a great exercise that will keep you physically as well as mentally fit.
2. Get in perfect shape
Although there are loads of kayaks for big guys available in the market, they are mostly sit-on-top kayaks, which are not recommended for kayaking in the ocean. Though your size and shape do not matter for kayaking, but getting in good shape will help you balance the kayak very well. Also, it will be easy for you to enter and exit from the kayak.
According to me, if you can’t go 30 minutes for walking without getting exhausted, then you should not try your hands with kayaking in the ocean or sea.
Also, if you have a bulky body, torso or arm, you should be more careful while planning for kayaking in the sea. So, I would recommend you to get a bit fit and than plan for ocean or sea kayaking.
3. Plan your day
When it comes to kayaking in the sea, planning is of utmost importance to get you going. Without having a proper plan, you cannot think of having a successful ride on the water. You should plan in advance where to go, how to go and which kayak to opt for.
For the first time, you can choose calm waterbodies and flatwater types for kayaking. Lakes, beaches and small ponds are also better as there are no currents.
If possible, then I would recommend you to get a big size kayak as you’ll get ample space and it will also allow you to easily enter and exit from the kayak. Besides, you can also plan for how much time you will be spending on water and at what time you’ll prefer kayaking in the Sea.
A 2-3 hour kayaking session would be more than enough for a beginner or newbie paddler. Experienced kayakers can also plan for long-day touring and camping adventures.
4. Never go along
For all those newbie kayakers and beginner paddlers planning for a sea kayaking adventure, remember, you should never plan a trip alone. You can think of hiring a senior-level kayaker or expert paddler. If budget is your constraint, you can think of kayaking in the sea with a group of people, or along with your friends and family.
But kayaking alone should be avoided, even if you are a professional angler or paddler.
Also, make sure that your kayaking partner stays with you all the time, as you might need help from each other in case of an emergency situation.
5. Know your limits
Wheather you are kayaking in the sea or ocean, you should always know your limits. If you are a beginner or newbie paddler, don’t go to far from the shoreline and stay within swimming distance of the shore. You should also plan your kayaking day in advance and know about the potential climatic hazards and hardships like high tides, currents, weather conditions and so on.
Apart from that, you should also keep an eye on the aquatic animals and creatures in the ocean that might cause you harm.
6. Accessories and gears
When you are planning for kayaking in the sea, you must be equipped with all the necessary gear and accessories you need for kayaking. Devices and gear like a kayaking life jacket, paddle for rowing, fish finder, GPS system, wetsuit, cooler, kayaking dry bag, anchor system, speaker, watch and a lot more should be along with you.
You can get yourself a big-size bag in order to carry all your kayaking and paddling gear. If you are having a inflatable kayak or a hybrid paddle board, you’ll get a backpack with multiple storage pockets, allowing you to store all gear.
While planning for your ocean kayaking adventure, you should always dress for the water and not for the fashion.
If you are going sea kayaking on warm summer days, then you should have the following clothing: Shorts or swimwear, a rashguard, kayaking shoes and watches, a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses as well.
During the winter sea kayaking experience, you can consider the following type of dress code: A wetsuit to keep you dry and high, a lightweight jacket, full pants, and spray skirts as well.
Is Ocean Kayaking Dangerous?
The research by USA coastal guard in the year 2020, found that kayaks contributed to 15% of deaths registered in recreational vessels. So yes, ocean kayaking can be risky and dangerous, provided that you are not following the general kayaking rules and regulations and not loaded with safety gear and equipment. Most of kayaking accident happens due to poor judgement and lack of safety gear.
So, in this section, I am going to cover the most common kayaking risks and how you can overcome them.
1. PFD fitting
Kayak or paddle board PFD can save your life, however, you need to learn to wear it correctly and opt for the right one, which is approved by the USA coastal guard association. Also, how you wear the PFD is important. I have come across many kayakers who store the PFD under their feet and leave the buckle and zippers open. They regret it later. This is the biggest mistake you could do on ocean kayaking.
When you are wearing a PFD make sure you are wearing it correctly and there are no buckles or zippers left open. Also, buy the correct PFD jacket depending on your size and shape. You should not feel too much tight or should not be able to slip it over while wearing your jacket.
Also, whether the PFD can support your weight or not.
2. Choosing a proper kayak
If you have got a correct PFD for ocean kayaking, the next thing you need is a perfect kayak that suits you and the water type you paddle on. If the case of kayaking in the sea or ocean, you might need to opt for a touring or recreational kayak with a sit-in style design.
Selecting the wrong kayak will make you exhausted on the ocean kayaking journey. So, make sure you opt for the right kayak and paddle for the water you are paddling on. If you don’t know how to choose a kayak then you can ask for help from an expert.
In case, you are new to kayaking, you should stay away from touring or recreational kayaks. In that case, you can opt for inflatable or foldable kayaks which are more convenient and easy to use.
3. Sun exposure
If you are planning a long-distance ocean kayaking trip in summer, then spending too long in the sun can cause heatstroke, dehydration and exhaustion. Also, it can cause sunburn. Plus, several skin and eye-related problems might also occur in case you are spending too much time kayaking in the hot summer.
Also, there is a limited amount of protection when you are doing ocean kayak in a sit-in style watercraft.
However, you can tackle the danger of the effect of the sun even while kayaking in the sea or ocean. Here’s how? Always wear UV-resistant clothing, have your sunglasses on, wear a cap, and apply sunscreen on your skin, and if possible use a kayak bimini top that will shed you against the sun and bring a cooler along with you.
Another risk you might expect while kayaking in the ocean or sea is dehydration. Dehydration occurs when you are kayaking for a long time in the sun along with the physical effect of paddling continuously in the water. The symptoms include dizziness and fatigue.
In order to avoid dehydration, you need to protect yourself from harmful UV rays. You can do this by using a kayak bimini mount, sunglasses, wearing a hat, apply sunscreen on your skin. Apart from that, you must carry a kayak cooler and bring ample water.
5. Daunting weather conditions
The next danger while kayaking in the ocean is daunting weather conditions. Kayaking in the strong, heavy rain and high tides is surely not a good idea and might cost you. So, it is advised to plan for a sea kayaking journey in advance by predicting the weather conditions.
That’s the reason why you should check the signs of adverse weather conditions like high winds, fog, intense sun, extreme rain and much more.
6. Waves and tides
You might be wondering that daunting weather conditions might be worse and might hinder your ocean kayaking journey. However, high tides and waves can be a real danger, especially if you don’t know swimming and you are kayaking in the middle of the ocean.
In this case, the knowledge of water and swimming can help you out and might mitigate the danger of high tides and waves.
7. Aquatic wildlife
One of the biggest advantages of kayaking in the ocean is that you get to see the aquatic wildlife and marine animals. I have personally come across loads of aquatic creatures like bass fish, jellyfish, some sharks and sea horses while kayaking.
That being said, exploring marine wildlife can be dangerous sometimes especially if you encounter snakes, alligators, crocodiles, bears, or perhaps a curious shark. Although such marine creatures rarely attack kayakers, but nobody can guarantee safe paddling if you get into an encounter with anyone of them.
Is Ocean Kayaking Expensive?
The cost of ocean kayaking can vary depending on a number of factors, including the type of kayak you use, the location, and the length of the trip. In general, ocean kayaking can be more expensive than other types of kayaking due to the specialized equipment and safety gear that may be required, as well as the cost of transportation to and from the kayaking location.
There are also many different options available for ocean kayaking, ranging from guided tours to rentals to purchasing your own kayak. If you are planning a multi-day trip or a trip to a remote location, the cost may be higher due to the added expenses of food, lodging, and transportation.
Overall, the cost of ocean kayaking can range from relatively affordable to quite expensive, depending on your specific circumstances and the type of experience you are seeking.
FAQs About Kayaking in Ocean & Sea
Ocean kayaking refers to the use of kayaks in the open waters of the ocean, while other types of kayaking may take place in rivers, lakes, or other bodies of water. Ocean kayaking typically requires more specialized equipment and safety gear due to the larger waves and unpredictable conditions of the open ocean.
Some basic equipment that you may need for ocean kayaking includes a kayak, paddle, personal flotation device (PFD), spray skirt (to keep water out of the kayak), and a dry bag or waterproof container for your belongings. You may also need additional safety gear, such as a whistle, a signaling device, and a first aid kit.
Safety is a key concern when kayaking in the ocean, and it is important to be prepared for the potentially unpredictable conditions of the open water. Some safety considerations for ocean kayaking include wearing a PFD at all times, staying aware of your surroundings and the weather forecast, carrying a communication device and signaling device, and avoiding paddling alone. It is also a good idea to have a basic understanding of kayaking and ocean safety before embarking on an ocean kayaking trip.
While it is possible for beginners to enjoy ocean kayaking, it is generally recommended that you have some basic kayaking skills and experience before attempting to kayak in the ocean. Taking a kayaking class or going on a guided tour with an experienced instructor can help you gain the skills and knowledge you need to safely kayak in the ocean.