Hi GT and welcome to the forum... you a fireman?
You know every time I see someone starting out from scratch coming on here I think it's quite overwhelming to think of all the info we could pass on from shared long experience.
I wondered how Gurnard would approach it and he's right with start small.
Getting the knack of setting up the SIB & OB, packing the kit, remembering everything and launching... then retrieving at the end of the day to reverse the procedure... is experience to be gained in itself even before you go anywhere.
Even if you do venture out into slightly more interesting conditions launching somewhere calm with no tidal flow is the best way to start so you can calmly get used to sorting yourself out.
I was lucky to inherit my experience as well as a few books. I still like this one as despite being written in the mid 70s SIBs and the sea are basically the same. Safety and nav equipment have massively improved though.
Yep look at the link Gurnard gave on what kit and come back with any queries.
Have a look at the RNLI lifejacket guide... https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...KfRXDzSh2qolRe
Clothing quite a personal choice. I'm mostly out in decent to very good weather and started out with shorts, beach shoes, t-shirt/fleece/Mountain Warehouse type waterproof coat (always carried all three and wore most appropriate).
I now wear wetsuit trousers, dinghy boots, rash vest then t-shirt/fleece/sailing waterproof as weather dictates. Always a hat and buff. It can seem really warm at the beach/slipway but much colder moving on the water particularly if it clouds over on a sunny day. See image below. Daughter is wearing a full wetsuit and budget jacket.
Note on that day I'm using what you'd call a Kayak buoyancy aid with 70N support, daughters is a foam 100N type. We have access to 150N self inflating types too which is what I ought to advise you to be on the safe side and what Mrs F always wears.
You don't need a VHF but could get you out of a lot of trouble so advised... a marine VHF type. You need a licence to operate after doing a days course but emergency distress use is allowed without. Choice of VHF is best asked in a separate thread... or searches on previous threads.
As said above PB1 the starter course. Also and possibly as good as anything... buddying up on some trips.
You need to look at charts or a mapping GPS (expensive) to plan a trip. Online versions here...