Winter Paddling Skills
Because of the greater danger that cold weather and water present, winter kayaking requires refined and reliable skills. A few that I consider essential are a perfectly reliable self-rescue. Because the paddle float rescue takes time, which exposes you further to strength-sapping cold water, a reliable roll is a must. In cold water, the shock from immersion can cause a gasp-like reflex, ice cream headaches and disorientation. The cold-water shock makes rolling much more difficult than in warm water. To help ready yourself for a time when you might need a winter roll, practice rolling in the cold. You should also have good bracing and other basic kayaking skills. If you rank your paddling skills, you should have expert-level skills before even considering heading out.
In addition to skills, always kayak with someone else during the winter. There’s too much that can go wrong and very little room for error.
PaddlingLight.com REPOST: Bryan Hansel has some great pointers, checklist & info here. Worth a look at!
See the entire post for details http://tinyurl.com/4c2txrq