In the kayaking world, there are two major categories of kayaks; these are the sit in kayaks and the sit on top kayaks.
The sit in kayaks are kayaks that assume the design and shape of the original kayaks that were made and used by the Inuk of the Greenland and arctic regions of the North Pole. The Inuit people designed the sit in kayak due to the need to come up with a vessel that they could use for their hunting and their fishing expeditions.
Living in the harsh cold environments of the North Pole, they needed vessels that were very safe. This is because the Inuit people could not afford the risk of capsizing in the water. Capsizing in the ice cold water would mean instant death through asphyxiation. In the cold water, the Inuit could also not swim since their heavy clothing would bog them down and drown them.
The design of the original sit in kayak is such that the rounded hull has a covered deck with only a small opening which is the pilot’s cockpit. The pilot sits in the cockpit with his lower body buried into the hollow of the deck and only the upper torso is exposed atop the kayak. The pilot wears a water tight skirt around his waist and the skirt is fastened to the kayak. The skirt prevents water from getting into the hollow deck including in the event of the kayak capsizing.
In case the sit in kayak capsizes, the pilot can use his body to roll the vessel and regain its upright position thereby saving the pilot from sure death. Since the pilot can also use his body to steer the vessel, the sit in kayaks are much easier to navigate and control.
The other type of kayak is the sit on top kayak. The sit on top kayak has a design whereby the pilot sits on the kayak and hence the name of the design. Unlike in the sit in kayak, the pilot has his whole body exposed atop the kayak.
The sit on top kayak is a kayak design that was developed much later after the sit in kayak had been in use for many years. The sit on top kayak is mostly a result of the need for people to come up with a kayak that was more convenient for recreational use.
The sit on top kayak is ideal for recreational use because it affords the pilot the freedom to move around atop the kayak and it also allows him the freedom to turn in any direction. On a sit on top kayak, the pilot is also able to enjoy the elements of the outdoors better. This includes the breeze and the sun. Revelers can enjoy getting a whole body tan atop a sit on top kayak.
Sit on top kayaks are easy to embark and disembark from. The passengers can even stand on them. This is for example useful for anglers who might need to stand to get a good view while fishing.