Almost daily our guides receive questions on the health and fitness level needed by guests on our kayak eco- tours. Before you venture out to see the Florida manatees, the monkeys of Silver Springs, or the Econ River alligators there are a few things to know that will keep you safe, healthy and happy during and after your eco-tour.
Most adults of average fitness and good health should be able to enjoy our kayak tours. Guests should be able to tolerate 1 ½ to 2 hours of mild to moderate exercise in Florida’s hot and humid climate. Be ready for a work out that includes abs, back, shoulders and arms. Guides try to use water currents to help push guests along, however, some paddling in wind, waves or against the current is bound to occur and may increase paddling intensity and exertion. Frequent nature stops and photo ops at scenic spots give eco-tourists a nature break at strategic points on the route. If you need to slow down or take a rest just tell your guide.
Kayaking is actually easier than riding a bike, but there’s still some balance involved. The narrow and sleek design of a kayak is designed to maneuver and glide easily on the water. You’ll naturally and unknowingly balance while bobbing at a stop or while gently swaying while you paddle. In case of an upset, swimmers and nonswimmers alike will be kept safe by their required personal flotation vest. Most importantly, keep calm and don’t panic. The ever-present guide will be there to assist you in getting to shore and back into your kayak.
Wearing a sports sandal or sneakers is recommended to help keep a firm footing at launch sites. Be prepared for slippery algae, squishy sand, and moving water when loading and unloading from the kayak. Avoid bare feet and flip flops, and bring an extra pair of shoes in case your feet get wet.
Kayakers need protection from the Florida sun and heat all year round. The surrounding water intensifies and reflects the sun’s rays so extra skin precautions are advised. Loose fitting clothing, a hat and a good quality sun block are important to keep cool and protected. Hydration is a key component to Florida outdoor sports. There are no stores near our launch sites on the Econ River or the Indian River Lagoon, so pack a cooler and extra water for the trip. Consuming plenty of water before, during and after your trip will help avoid fatigue, headaches and heat stroke. Paddlers are encouraged to bring a water bottle; just be sure to deposit your disposable items in a bag on the shore.
Florida is the allergy capital of the world! (or at least it seems that way!) We probably have more stinging insects and bugs than any other place in the U.S. Not to mention the plant pollens! Kerrchooo! Venomous ants and stinging insects like bees and wasps can be a problem anywhere in Florida. Outdoor enthusiasts with known severe allergies should carry necessary emergency drugs and antihistamines on their kayak trips. Guides only carry basic first aid supplies and cannot administer medications. The health and safety of our guests is always our number one concern. Guests should communicate any problems as soon as they are aware. Because we visit remote locations, we will call 911 immediately and get help to the scene if any emergency situation arises.
Almost all Florida outdoor adventures require insect repellent to protect against mosquitoes, yellow flies and no-see-ums. Flying, biting, nuisance insects are common all over Florida so it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially around thick vegetation and water. A good quality insect repellent and a loose fitting, long sleeve shirt is recommended, especially for sunset tours and night time bioluminescence trips. You’ll want to take home some great pics and lasting memories from your kayak excursion, not a bunch of itchy mosquito bites.
Guest with physical limitations or health concerns should consult a guide prior to booking a tour. We welcome all eco-adventurers regardless of special needs and strive to provide reasonable, safe accommodations when possible. Please call or email to discuss your individual needs with one of our experienced guides and we will be happy to coordinate your trip.
Whether you’re on a Central Florida vacation or an Orlando “staycation”, book the most amazing two hours of your trip by getting back to nature and experiencing the “real Florida”. If you’re feeling good and ready to go we’ll help you get back into nature and experience some of the wild, wonderful and elusive sights to be found in Florida. And you’ll return happy and healthy!