Developing a personal code of ethics for swift kayak takes more than reviewing someone else’s list of recommendations. It takes personal commitment, time on the water, and thoughtful analysis of new ideas or experiences. Take these recommendations with a grain of salt, be skeptical and adopt them through the lens of your own experience and personal success. Most of all, share what works with others and preserve the waterfront for future use by paddlers that have yet to come.
Pre-Trip Planning – You are the primary person available to ensure your own safety in swift kayak. Good pre-trip planning will reflect this responsibility.
Be aware of regulations and special concerns that apply to the area to be traveled
Be prepared for extreme weather conditions, natural hazards, and common emergencies
Schedule trips to avoid high periods of use
Boating Safety – Kayaks operate under the same safety regulations that apply to other vessels.
Kayaks are difficult for powerboats to see. Make an effort to be seen
Carry boating safety gear, a survival kit, medical kit and wear your PFD
File a float plan with someone you trust
Environmental Impacts – Every action we take as paddlers has some effect on the environment. The key is to lessen these impacts whenever possible.
Keep group sizes small
Campfires, especially in high use areas, leave long-term scars on the land. Use a camping stove for cooking and a lantern for lighting your campsite
In areas with established fire rings, keep your fire within facilities provided
Practice fire safety and ensure fires are completely out before leaving camp
Repackage food and minimize the amount of packing material brought along on a trip
Try to camp on durable surfaces and use existing campsites
Camp at least 200 feet (60 meters) away from lake shores, stream banks and riparian areas
Wash camp dishes at least 200 feet (60 meters) away from water bodies. Use biodegradable soap
Take your trash home with you for proper disposal, pack it in – pack it out
Depose of human waster responsibly. Individuals can deposit waste in catholes located at least 200 feet (60 meters) away from the water. Larger groups should carry portable facilities and pack wastes out
Practice Clean Boating
Respect Wildlife – In swift kayak it is important to respect wildlife. Guidelines are available for viewing marine mammals from organizations like the Sea Grant College Program and NOAA.
Avoid loud sounds and noises
Avoid abrupt changes in direction
Watch wildlife from a distance. Back off if you observe any signs of nervousness
Keep pets under control or leave them home
Store food securely and out of reach of animals
Buy a good pair of binoculars to view wildlife from a safer distance
Avoid paddling too near bird colonies, sea lion and seal haulouts, and marine mammals in the water
Consideration for Others – In swift kayak consider the golden rule in your contacts with others in the outdoors.
Respect private property
Be courteous to other visitors and protect their experiences in swift kayak
Help fellow paddlers in difficulty
Remember powerboats and swift kayak share the same waters
Outdoor Activities on Sanibel Island, Florida
Hanging on the outer banks of Southwest Florida lies the barrier island of Sanibel. Known as a shell hunter’s paradise, the island also offers plenty of outdoor recreational fun. From boating and jet skiing to fishing and skid boarding, Sanibel is an outdoorsman’s paradise. Thanks largely to the environmental preservation effort, there remains an abundance of activities that are both inexpensive and easy accessible.
Biking on Sanibel
Riding a bike is the best way to explore the island. Start at the Sanibel lighthouse, the public beach, and head north. Venture off the main road that runs the length of the island, into one of numerous side roads that feed into the island’s small neighborhoods. This is where the beauty of Sanibel can be experienced.
Ride the path of the sand-filled roads and follow the scent of salted air, as it leads westward to sea. The 22 miles of bike paths are lined with floral palms and overhanging trees that are filled with cranes, small lizards, and turtles napping at the base of the trees. Vibrant flowers provide a visual stimulation as the cool sea breeze provides comfort from the hot Florida sun. Just when you are hot enough and the image of the swimming in the ocean serves as a motivation to continue onward, the road ends. What lies ahead, for as far as the eyes can see, are the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Desolated and isolated from the main land, Sanibel offers a moment of clarity as you rest on the 15 miles of bleached white sand staring off at the horizon.
Bike rentals are available throughout the 11-mile long and 2-mile wide island. When entering the island from the causeway, the only way to get on Sanibel, turn right at the fourway stop onto Periwinkle Way. The rental shops are located on this main road. Bike rentals begin at $5 for 2 hours and scooters start at $40.
Kayaking and Canoeing on Sanibel
Geographically, Sanibel is a kayaker’s paradise. The westward side of the island faces the Gulf of Mexico, were rip currents and boater’s wakes offers a challenging adventure. The eastern side faces San Carlos Bay, calm and docile the waters are great for beginners who are not comfortable in the open waters. Small inlets created by mangrove trees provide an off the beaten path journey into an untouched Florida landscape.
Roughly half of the island is zoned for conservation and cannot be developed. The channels and man-made canals bring life into the areas that are home to thousands of animals and plant life. Beyond the main island there are numerous small islands throughout the area that are easily accessible by kayaks. Untouched by man’s development, kayakers can paddle to the shore of these virgin islands. The shallow waters of the Bay, a clear turquoise blue with a hint of green, conjure the images of the Caribbean off the coast of Florida.
Kayak Rentals are available on Capitiva Island, just north of Sanibel, or in Ft. Myers before the bridge to get onto Sanibel. Rates vary depending on the season but generally start at $30 for a half day rental.
Insider’s Tip on Sanibel
Visit the island during off season when the more than 20,000 island snowbirds have left and general tourism is low. Not only will the beaches be empty but the rates on hotels and rentals will be cheaper as well. Off-Season runs from Easter to Halloween.
Watch the sunset from either the north side of the causeway or the Gulf side of Sanibel. The view is one only seen in the movies. The type that calms your soul as the sky slowly burns into darkness.
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