Local kayak store owner has safety tips for hitting the water

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(WIVB) – After months spent inside, Western New Yorkers are taking advantage of the summer however they can.

Many are turning to kayaking- and a local business owner is reminding everyone that safety should be a top priority if you’re hitting the water.

Jason Mendola runs Elevator Alley Kayak, located in the Old First Ward.

He says this summer he’s noticed more of a demand for kayaks and more beginners in the water picking up the hobby.

Mendola says he’s always stressing how important wearing a life vest is.

Last week, two kayakers capsized near the Peace Bridge and had to be rescued.

Both were wearing a life vest.

Mendola says if they weren’t wearing life vests, they could have drowned.

“You want to have a life vest on- I know sometimes it gets hot, but of all the people, all the paddlers who end up drowning, 95 percent of them don’t have their life vest on so it’s the most important safety equipment you can have,” he added.

Mendola also said kayakers should avoid drinking while on the water, stay to the sides, watch out for larger boats, have a whistle, and be aware of the weather.

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