Many paddlers have tried to circumnavigate Iceland, without success, and many have faced dangerous situations. Because of that Kayakklúbburinn http://www.kayakklubburinn.is (e:The Kayak Club) has written these guidelines.
We strongly recommend that kayakers planning to paddle for example in Vestfirdir, Breidafjördur, Langanes and Sudurland contact experienced paddlers here in Iceland and consult them before heading out to sea. You will need good maps, need to know where to summon assistance, what to expect, etc. We have long beaches without available or easy landings. In some areas you will have to exercise extra caution when landing such as close to glacier rivers or the estuary by Hornafjordur. In some areas there is no reliable mobile network coverage. You will need to know where you can find reliable weather forecasts, information on tides, etc. It’s recommended that paddlers experience and training is at least as explained in BCU 4 Star Leader Syllabus http://www.canoe-england.org.uk/media/pdf/BCU%204%20Star%20Sea%20Kayak%20Leader%20Syllabi%20V3-1%20Feb14.pdf
If you are planning to paddle in Iceland, outside the more common routes, we strongly urge you not to play the role of a hero. Contact (and stay in contact with) the Icelandic Coast guard, as they have vast experience dealing with the difficult conditions in Icelandic waters and have all the local rescue squads in their service.
We recommend the following equipment, information and connections.
Navigation and safety
- Compass (magnetic)
- GPS preferably with maps
- Maps, laminated to carry on deck
- Mobile phone
- VHF-radio with the Coast Guard channels
- SPOT personal tracker
- PLB distress radio beacon, registered with the Icelandic Coast Guard
- PFD buoyancy aid
- Spare paddle
- Flare for distress signal
- Reflective stripe stickers on the deck
- Forecast for weather and sea state.
- Reporting to Icelandic Coast Guard.
- Tidal information specially by headlands
Free online maps available for preparation: https://loftmyndir.is//k/kortasja.php?client=rarikMaps www.ferdakort.is, http://www.lmi.is, http://www.iskort.is/, http://www.forlagid.is/?cat=84
Coast guard: http://www.lhg.is/
Save travel: http://www.safetravel.is/
Information about GSM coverage:
GSM non-coverage: http://www.pfs.is/fjarskipti/kort-og-tidnitoflur/gsm-skuggakort/
3G non-coverage: http://www.pfs.is/fjarskipti/kort-og-tidnitoflur/3g-skuggakort/,