With some knowledge and respect for wildlife, the slow speed, quiet nature, and ability to access shallow water close to shore make kayaks ideal crafts for viewing wildlife. However, these same characteristics can also cause kayakers to more easily disturb wildlife if not done properly.
The main goal when viewing any wildlife should be to ensure that our actions do not cause the animal to change their normal behaviour. For example, from a silent kayak it is often easy to surprise sea lions hauled out on rock basking in the sun or to scare an eagle away from its hard-fought salmon dinner. In the case of the sea lions not only was their rest disturbed but they now need to expend more energy to warm up again. Furthermore, in the rush to get into the water animals that way up to 1000 kilograms often get injured in the stampede. In the case of the eagle, it often takes numerous attempts for an eagle to catch a fish. By scaring it from its catch it becomes vulnerable to losing it to be scavenged by other animals. The eagle would then need to spend even more time to catch a replacement, possibly causing chicks in the nest to go hungry as well