Resting in Your Fishing Kayak

Spending long hours paddling and fishing can make you tired. Stretching while standing up or lying down on the saddle of your W500 fishing kayak can be invigorating or relaxing, and will help keep you fresh.
As far as resting while lying down, although it may be tempting because of the stability and comfort the W500 fishing kayak offers, we do not recommend it because you could fall asleep, which is hazardous.

If there’s a slight chance that you might fall asleep in your kayak, you’d better be anchored in water that’s very shallow, that is enough for you stand in safely and comfortably in case you go overboard. By shallow we mean not more than knee deep. Remember: stuff happens is not just a phrase – it’s real life, which can be cruel. Deep water is dangerous enough even when you’re fully awake, and believe it or not – it’s possible to drown in water that you can stand in.

Falling asleep in your kayak involves taking the risk of being exposed to predators, such as alligators or sharks in the water, and bears and other large size land predators on the nearby shore. Statistics can be composed of improbable events.

Sleeping in a kayak that’s not solidly anchored in place is particularly hazardous, because you might drift too far from shore, or into deep or turbulent water, or to an area that can be otherwise dangerous to you.

Taking a nap in your kayak is extremely perilous when the water is cold, because falling in such water while you’re asleep might cause a shock, quickly followed by hypothermia, which can lead to the inability to move, and thus be lethal.

If your paddle is not properly secured in case you fall asleep in your kayak, the result could be more than awkward, since losing it would prevent you from paddling back to shore in time before darkness, or before a storm.

Sleeping in a kayak with hooks and bait around could cause you to hook yourself, or attract some unwanted visitors…

Always, and in all circumstances, leave your PFD on. Wearing your PFD is your best policy against drowning.

Avoid falling asleep in your kayak especially if there’s even a slight chance of a fast motorboat going by. Even if the driver can see you and avoid a collision with your fishing kayak, the wake their motorboat leaves could make you lose balance and fall overboard, and even capsize your kayak if you panic.

Although some irresponsible kayak anglers say that wearing waders is OK when you’re kayak fishing, it is not. It’s one thing to plan testing a concept in a controlled environment such as in one’s swimming pool, and a totally different thing to have to deal with a problem in real life, which tends to catch you by surprise. Therefore, falling asleep in your kayak while you’re wearing waders is much more dangerous.

Never drink alcohol on board a fishing kayak (or any other small watercraft for that matter), and don’t use mind altering substances or drugs. Remember – drowning is easier than you think. Being drowsy while operating a small watercraft can be enough to cause a fatal accident, and many deaths by drowning are related to substance abuse.

Don’t take the risk of falling asleep in direct sun on a hot and bright day. Being asleep won’t prevent you from getting a sun stroke, and paddling while you’re sun stricken and dehydrated can be very hard, and might even prevent you from making it back to shore.

Falling asleep in your kayak while there’s no one else around is more dangerous. Generally, it’s highly recommended to go kayak fishing and paddling in a group, because it’s safer.

Kayak angler lying down in his W500 fishing kayak

The reader should remember this list of recommendations is partial, as the author cannot possibly cover all potential risks involved in taking a nap in your kayak, as those risks are multiple and varied.

Bottom line: Do whatever you can to avoid falling asleep in your kayak.

8 thoughts on “Resting in Your Fishing Kayak”

  1. You should never take a pillow on board your W500 because the temptation to take a cat nap would be too big! 😀


  2. Far safer in any kayak to stay awake. Too many sharp items in the boat to hook yourself and trust me it’s really hard to get those hooks out. As Yoav said losing a paddle is bad since it takes away your motor and you could drift to a bad place. Of course where I fish even napping on shore is not too good an idea since so many things in Florida bite, sting, or even try and eat you. With our growing python problem that is just one more concern. Sleep at home or in another sort of safe spot but not in your kayak.

  3. I know a guy that crosses Lake Ontario in home built skin on frame kayaks. He sleeps overnight in the yaks on the journey. He does inflate a small radar balloon with helium and sends it up above his kayak to make sure the cargo ships pick him up at night and don’t run him over. He was still alive last I knew, but it’s not something I’d attempt.

  4. I’ve done some pretty weird things with kayaks myself (remember the W ice paddling movie?)… so I guess I’m not in the best position to criticize others, at least not in public 😀


  5. Me sleep in my W in a secluded spot with the warm sun in my face and a gentle breeze rocking me when the fish aren’t biting – never zzzzzzzzzzzzz

  6. I found out yesterday how easy it is to roll over board, while lying down on the saddle.

  7. It was an accident as I’m still learning my limits. I was in Lake Ontario with some good size swells. The water did feel good. I was back out today tipping it on purpose to practice reentry from deep water.

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