As with all recreational activities safety is paramount, so always use common sense as a guide.
Here are a few pointers:
Never exceed the weight capacity of your kayak, which includes your equipment and yourself. Weight capacities stated are for calm waters only.
Wear your life jacket (PFD). Wearing your lifejacket will help keep your head above water and add insulation to your body, keeping you warmer in cold water.
Tell someone your paddle plan, where you are going, and when you expect to return.
Paddling in the surf zone can be dangerous, if you are fishing remove all rods from their holders and store inside kayak if your hatch will allow, or strap to side of your kayak using paddle straps when launching and returning to the beach in surf, remove all hooks and lures.
Be aware of weather conditions and water temperature. Prepare for changes in weather and the possibility of a capsize. If paddling in cold water, a wet suit or dry suit can keep you warm and comfortable. In warm weather, a long sleeve shirt can provide sun protection.
Beware of off-shore winds that can make it difficult to return to shore.
When paddling in a new area, check with the coastguard regarding tides, shoreline conditions and weather patterns.
Be aware of other water users, they may not see you, wear bright colours, when choosing your kayak colour make it a bright one, be alert.