Rescue officials remind kayakers about water safety

June 08, 2018 05:51 PM

Now that summer is heating up, many people are looking spend more time in the great outdoors. So Upstate Kayak is making it easier for you to get into the water.

They now offer kayak rentals in four separate locations on the Hudson River. You can make the reservations online and unlock the equipment at various boat launches with an app on your phone.

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When you make the reservation online, you have to sign a waiver agreeing to paddle responsibly and wear the lifejacket at all times. However, water safety officials said the problem is there's no one there to make sure you're actually doing that.

Tony Santulli is a lieutenant for the City of Albany Rescue Squad. He likes the idea of the rental kayaks, but he said it's important to keep a few things in mind.

"My big concern is making sure people number one are wearing life jackets," Santulli said.

Renters make reservations online and use an app on their phones called Noke to unlock the kayaks, paddles and life jackets at boat launches in Albany, Watervliet, Waterford and Coeymans.

"It does create a concern, because there's not a lot of rescue personnel on the water," Santulli said. "We are at the stations, we have to respond to the water. So if there is an incident, it's going to take us time to get down here."

Officials also said there are a few different ways you can lose control of the kayak. There's a current in the Hudson and there's also tides. Not to mention the fact that there are plenty of boats that make their way through the area. That's why they recommend staying close to the shore and paddling in pairs.

Peter Isaacson has been kayaking for quite some time. He says there's safety in numbers.

"You don't want to be out here by yourself when one of these big boats comes through," Isaacson said. "You know it's relaxing because you go up and down, but you could go over also."

He said life jackets aren't the only important part of your attire. He recommends water shoes, or an old pair of sneakers.

"People throw bottles, cans -- even freshwater clams, razor type," Isaacson said.

"Make sure you're wearing proper clothes. If you're wearing big heavy clothes, cottons, you fall in the water. That's just going to absorb and it's going to make it harder for you," Santulli said.

Santulli said make sure you have some water with you, because it's easy to become dehydrated.

NewsChannel 13 also noticed one of the life jackets in the rentals taken out on Friday had a broken strap so it couldn't be adjusted. Santulli said it's important to have a snug-fitting life jacket, so it might not be a bad idea to bring your own.

More information:

Kayak rental hubs


Emily Burkhard

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