Kayak Briefing – What you need to know!

Please note all paddlesport is an ‘assumed-risk’ activity. You are responsible for your own actions, the following guidance has been provided to give you the most enjoyable and safe experience possible.

Sit on top kayaks

Before you go:-

  • Listen to our staff, ask questions if there is anything you are unsure of. If it’s your first time out, or you have special needs or concerns – let us know, we can usually spend a bit longer with you and give you more pointers.
  • Bring footwear – old trainers that you can get wet, or wet shoes / boots.   
  • Always wear a correct fitting and fully fastened buoyancy aid or lifejacket.
  • Be aware that modern electronic devices do not mix well with water. A phone is a useful safety tool, but it is also vulnerable to water damage. Please take steps to ensure your devices are safe.
  • Put our number on speed dial (017687 73687) if you choose to take a phone on the water. In certain weather conditions our dynamic risk assessment may require you to take a charged phone if you wish to avoid cancellation of the session (in winter or moderately bad weather conditions)
  • If any of the participants are under 16, they must be accompanied by an adult over 18. (in the same group not necessarily in the same boat)
  • If you have children with you, and you are not sure how they will cope, please ask for a tow rope.
  • Inform Nichol End Marine about any personal issues i.e. disabilities or medical conditions that may interfere with their own or others safety.  It is the participant’s responsibility to consult a medical professional about their fitness to participate in water activities.  
  • Be aware that damage to Nichol End Marine property may be charged for.
  • Accept that there is a risk of damage or loss to property taken onto the lake.
  • Accept that all water activities carry a degree of risk.

All customers hiring a kayak should: – 

Take care of our craft.
Take special care to avoid the shallow areas indicated
Report all damage to a Nichol End Marine member of staff.
Inform Nichol End Marine about any problems on the water so that Nichol End Marine can address the issue.  Please report any accidents or near misses – even if minor.  This will allow us to review and modify our procedures in the future.
Respect our lake and other water users.
Be aware that Nichol End Marine may curtail a session if an individual or group’s behaviour threatens safety.  In this scenario no refunds will be given.
Nichol End Marine may take photos from time to time to record achievements.  These photos may be used to promote water activities in PR material.   Please inform Nichol End Marine if this is not acceptable.

Nichol End Marine will:-

  1. Have first aid cover and a rescue boat on standby whenever customers are on Derwentwater in or on our craft. The rescue boat does not permanently patrol the lake but will respond to reported concerns if you are substantially late back and out of sight or if the weather deteriorates and causes concern.
  2. Ensure boats are suitably equipped.
  3. Ensure that equipment is inspected and maintained regularly. 4. Initiate emergency procedures when needed.
  4. Conduct on-going risk assessments and may limit sessions or impose additional conditions at any point. Nichol End Marine will consider lake conditions, current and forecast weather reports, customers reported and assessed ability and other information. Nichol End Marine’s decision is final.
  5. Nichol End Marine may curtail a session if an individual or group’s behaviour threatens safety. In this scenario no refunds will be given


  • Keep your buoyancy aid or life jacket on and fully fastened. If you take them off on an island, it Is critical they are put back on and fastened properly before setting off again.
  • Our beach team will explain how to balance the boat.
  • Stay near Nichol End while getting used to your boat and gaining confidence.  Once you’re confident, you can explore further afield.
  • If you are in a double or multi person boat then paddle in sync.
  • Go with the flow. Let the boat run between strokes. You don’t have to be paddling frantically all the time!
  • Stay on the lakedo not go up or down any rivers. We are not licensed for boats to be removed from Derwentwater and it’s hard to rescue you from the river.
  • If it’s windy and you are struggling to make headway then tuck yourself in near the shore and paddle along the sides – there is usually less wind there.
  • Landing in cold water can come as a shock. If you capsize, take a minute to compose yourself to prevent panic. The kayaks we hire are sit on tops, so won’t fill with water or sink.
  • It should be easy to flip the boat the right way up and climb back on. If you are overweight, less fit or otherwise concerned ask a member of staff before you go out on the lake and we can advise you of the best techniques.
  • Let us know if you are going to be late out or back.
  • If hiring as part of a group, stay with that group.
  • Stay out of the way of the Keswick Launch ferries. (they have a timetable to stick to, are big and need to stick to deeper water and channels and can make a big wash which may be difficult to manage as a fledgling paddler). They are easy to spot and are usually predictable.
  • Stay clear of wildlife on the lake especially young or nesting birds.
  • Alcohol does not mix with paddle sports.  Do not drink and paddle or drink and swim.
  • Never allow hands or feet to come between the boat and solid objects such as jetties.

After your session:-

  • return your boat / boats to the part of the beach you collected them from.
  • Take your rubbish home or put it in one of our bins.
  • Let us know you’re back at the hire desk and hang your wetsuits and buoyancy aids up on the used kit rail.
  • Let us know about any problems.
  • Send us your photos on Facebook / Instagram / by email and we will add them to the 2021 gallery.

Nichol End Marine. Portinscale, Keswick, Cumbria. CA12 5TY. 

Tel. 017687 73082.   Info@nicholend.co.uk.

Registered address:  Nichol End Marine Limited, 2nd Floor, 121 Duke Street, Barrow in Furness, Cumbria. LA14 1AX

Registered in England & Wales. Company no:8395361. VAT registration: 157 5268 84

Book Now