Night Kayaking with Lights

Once you become an experienced kayaker, you may want to take the sport a notch higher by kayaking in the dark. Night is a cool time to kayak, especially if you are trying to catch sight of animals or do some night fishing. You may also want to take your young kids out with you and find that perfect spot for star gazing.

Whatever your reason is, it helps to know what needs to be taken care of before heading out at night: like how far and where should you go and whether or not you need lights. In this article, you will learn more about night kayaking with lights, whether it is safe to do so, the kind of light needed for this kind of activity and some safety tips.

Keep reading for deeper insight.

Why Do You Need Lights When Kayaking At Night?

Kayaking at night is not as simple as it may seem. Night kayakers need to understand why this sport cannot be done without proper equipment and the kind of safety measures that must be taken for this activity.

Majority of the kayakers who take to kayaking in the dark do it for sports or recreation. This means that they are going out not only for a good time but also to accomplish a certain task, whether it is fishing, watching an animal move around or simply enjoying the beauty of nature at night.

Nevertheless, there might be times when you may get stranded and need help from other people. Lights can be very important since it will allow rescuers see you amidst thick darkness.

They make it easy to spot animals, especially if you are going kayaking at night for watching an animal move about.

Lights also help in creating a safe environment particularly for beginners who may not have enough experience in kayaking at night.

Lighting Equipment for Night Kayaking

While using lights for kayaking at night is fine, remember that these kinds of lighting equipment will only serve as emergency light sources when they are needed. It would be best to get yourself some smaller flashlights that can fit into pockets or clips that can be attached anywhere across the body so that they will not interfere with kayaking. Also, make sure that the switch of your headlamps is set on lock mode, which prevents it from being switched on accidentally.

Types of Lights used for Night Kayaking

  • White Lights: These are usually handheld headlamps, which you wear on your forehead and strap around the sides of your kayak. The advantage of this kind of light is that they are hands free so you only have one thing to worry about when paddling, which helps you focus more on how to paddle rather than where to point your headlamp.
  • Red Lights: This type of light is usually fixed on either side of the kayak, courtesy of two bulbs fitted into mounts at the back deck or gunwale of your kayak. You can also have these mounted in front for better vision when turning or maneuvering through obstacles.
  • Colored Lights: In the past, kayaking used to be done in complete darkness using just a white light or no lights at all. These days, colored night paddles are becoming more popular with people going for a ‘pink and blue’ paddle across the bay on Valentine’s day. Pink is said to be calming while blue represents trust and security, which mean your mood will affect how secure you feel in the water when doing a pink and blue kayak during nighttime.

Kayak Lighting Tips

One of the most important factors that determine how well or poorly equipped your kayak appears when seen from afar is its lighting system.

It makes an incredibly huge difference if your boat looks like a Christmas tree or if it emits very little light whenever seen from another boat several meters away.

Choosing between the different kayak lighting systems available can be a bit of a hassle since there are hundreds if not thousands of choices when it comes to lighting equipment as seen below.

  • LED Lights

One of the most frequently used lighting devices by kayakers at night is the LED light. It does not emit much heat, which makes it safer to use when compared with other types of lights. In addition, many people find LED lights easy on their pocket even though they may cost a few extra bucks in comparison with other types of kayak lights that you can buy from your local store or online shop.

  • HID Lights

An HID kayak light is another good choice when it comes to illuminating your boat while you are out kayaking at night although most people tend to stay away from this particular lighting device due to its high cost.

For this reason, many kayakers who use an HID light prefer using a single unit rather than buying more than one in order to save up some money and avoid spending too much cash on something that they can do without.

  • Daytime Running Lights

This kind of kayak light is perfect for people who decide to kayak during the day and at night on their way home.

  • Flash Lights

It is safe to say that flashlights are among the cheapest boat lights that are available on the market today since you can easily pick up a brand new set of these for less than $30. All you need to do is attach it to your kayak with the help of some kind of water-resistant holder and you will be good to go in less than 5 minutes.

  • Battery Powered Lights

If you find yourself running out of energy at night, never fear because battery operated lighting devices are here. While they cost more than flashlights, these lights are perfect for people who cannot afford any other type of boat light due to its high price tag or for those who simply do not want anything but the best when it comes to illuminating their kayaks at night. Just make sure that you get a good battery and you will be fine.

  • Solar Lights

Solar kayak lights are slowly becoming better and better as years go by since new models tend to come out on the market every year or so. Solar boat lights do not emit much light compared to other more affordable boat lighting devices but it tends to even out due to their low energy consumption free charging using the sun.

Night Kayaking Essentials

Apart from lights, there are other essential gear needed for night kayaking including:

Night Kayaking Clothing

You need to dress appropriately when going kayaking at night since this activity tends to be a bit trickier than regular kayaking and you need to be more aware of your surroundings. A good example of proper clothing includes pants that can protect your lower body from bushes and sharp rocks, as well as long-sleeved shirts or jackets with padding on the elbow area for protection against hard surfaces.

Fitted or tight clothes should also not be worn when kayaking at night because they only make it harder for you to move around if you get stuck somewhere. Brightly colored clothes are best for this activity since they stand out a lot better against a dark background.

Night Kayaking Footwear

Footwear is another important thing to take into consideration when going night kayaking. Make sure that you have shoes that will give you good traction when moving around on slippery surfaces. You should also avoid wearing shoes that will only get in the way so the best footwear for kayaking at night are those with high ankle support and easy to remove. Shoes with rubber soles work very well too since they provide grip while protecting your feet from sharp objects underneath.

Kayaking Gear

Other things that you need to bring along aside from lighting equipment include food supplies, water, or even just extra clothes. Not including these kinds of items in your list of gear may leave you stranded if something happens during your kayaking activity.

All kayakers who take up night kayaking so that they can keep their belongings dry even if the kayak flips over should use waterproof bags.

Is it Safe to Kayak at Night?

Many people wonder if it is safe to kayak in the night when there are certain dangers that lurk below the surface such as shallow waters, rocks and sharp objects that can damage your kayak or injure you severely.

The answer to this question varies depending on whom you ask and what kind of experience they have in night kayaking. For example, some people consider nighttime paddling a very challenging activity while others think it is not worth doing at all since there is no chance for you to admire the beautiful scenery under the cover of darkness. You will need to make your own decision on this issue since only you know whether nighttime paddling suits your preferences.

Night Kayaking Safety Tips

Since night kayaking is less popular than regular kayaking, some people may not really know or understand how to go about with this activity. If you plan on going out for night kayaking, here are some safety tips you should consider before heading out

  • Don’t kayak alone: One of the best safety tips that you can remember anytime you go kayaking, regardless if it is during the day or at night, is to always go out with a friend so they can help you out in case something happens unexpectedly. This also means that two people must be present whenever someone goes kayaking since having more than one person around does not necessarily guarantee your safety.</li><li>Watch Out for Obstacles: Some people tend to move through water easier when darkness covers their path but some become complacent and forget to watch out for rocks or shallow waters that may end up damaging or flipping over their boats. Always take the time to look where you are going especially if you do not have lights to show you where the obstacles are.
  • Watch Out for Obstacles: Some people tend to move through water easier when darkness covers their path but some become complacent and forget to watch out for rocks or shallow waters that may end up damaging or flipping over their boats. Always take the time to look where you are going especially if you do not have lights to show you where the obstacles are.
  • Wear Plenty of Padding: The main reason why kayakers take up night kayaking is so they can see places that they would not be able to visit during daytime due to sunlight obscuring their view or hampering plant growth, which makes it hard for them to appreciate the beauty of Mother Nature.

Some kayakers who want to bask in the tranquility and beauty of lakes, rivers and other bodies of water at night tend to overlook the fact that there are dangers present that may cause harm if not taken care of properly. Investing in sufficient flotation devices or life vests should be your top priority before venturing out on a dark, dreary lake especially if you do not have the necessary kayaking equipment.

  • Use a Kayak Light: The best way for you to see things clearly whenever you are out kayaking at night is by using lighting devices that will not only illuminate your surroundings but also help keep you visible to other water users in case there are any around.
  • Be sure to check whether or not your lighting equipment works well before you leave home since having a proper light source is very important when it comes to navigation during the nighttime.
  • Check your battery level too so that things will not be cut short by running out of power at an inopportune time.
  • Keep your lines and kayak well within your sight so you will not get lost or disoriented while going about with your activity.
  • Do not break the rules of night kayaking, even if it means that you have to paddle back home instead of camping for the night on an island. The main rule is that there has to be at least one light per person in the group during nighttime activities.
  • Check out local laws and ordinances about night kayaking is different in every region.


If you want to go night kayaking, it is important that you equip yourself with the necessary safety gear and lighting equipment so everyone in the group will be able to stay safe even if they are not within your line of sight with each other. At night, it is very difficult for you to determine distance and speed when going about on a body of water especially without the aid of proper lighting equipment.

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