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Thread: Knowing Your Limits

  1. #1
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    Default Knowing Your Limits

    I think my kayak has seen water for the last time in 2013.

    I have never flipped the outback but I don't want to test my luck in these cold water temperatures.

    Its very important for beginners and experiences kayakers both to KNOW YOUR LIMITS!

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    Some other things I have seen new kayakers struggle with:

    Surf Launching
    Veering to far from launch point
    Underestimating the wind
    Underestimating the currents
    relying on electric motor and battery
    not being able to mount their kayak after flipping

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Barbosa View Post
    Its very important for beginners and experiences kayakers both to KNOW YOUR LIMITS!

    A critical part of every trip should be a self-assessment of yourself and the conditions out there.....
    When was the last trip you took?
    Are you rusty or not as conditioned as you usually are?

    These and many other considerations you stated should be part of a mental checklist that a kayaker asks himself before every trip. As the water temps drop, so does survival time if you get in trouble out there.......








    Another thing that should be considered seriously is foggy/misty conditions...as you mentioned....

    Quote Originally Posted by J Barbosa View Post
    Fellow yakkers please use some common sense. No good minded person would launch a yak out front in Sundays fog. You don't want shark harts uncle or fin chaser running you over...

    Fin mentioned to me he was out that day as well.

    1. The Coast Guard had to come and do a sea rescue for some yakkers who got into distress and didn't know which way shore was.....

    This could very easily have become a disaster and a fatal tragedy.


    2. Another important point is to always have a kayak flag if you are out there in poor lighting or on the ocean. There is a group of kayakers, led by a misguided soul, who has repeatedly come out and minimized the use or safety features of flags, and argued on the internet with others about it. I don't want to start further resentments here, so I'll just end with this statement.....

    **There are quite a few boaters who feel kayak flags should be mandatory.
    They feel with poor visibility in rough seas, they are afraid that one day they will hit a kayaker by accicent.
    This could result in tragedy, even death.
    It's about time that we start policing ourselves, start promoting better safety out there, before the Legislators are forced to do it for us.....

    The arguments about the efficiency and accident prevention of using a flag, or not launching in fog or poor conditions, will be rendered pointless, if someone dies out there....
    While this hasn't happened yet......I feel that it will, eventually, if these issues are not taken more seriously.
    Thanks for reading.....





    Good thread John...thanks for starting it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkSkies View Post
    **There are quite a few boaters who feel kayak flags should be mandatory.
    They feel with poor visibility in rough seas, they are afraid that one day they will hit a kayaker by accicent.
    This could result in tragedy, even death.
    It's about time that we start policing ourselves, start promoting better safety out there, before the Legislators are forced to do it for us.....

    I belong to that group ds. A few of my friends have made the jokes about kayaks being speed bumps. We are really not serious and not looking for an accident. When there are swells of over 3' it becomes increasingly difficult to see a kayak. Yelow or orange are more visible. Not all kayaks are that color - some are tan, blue, etc. It's enough of a job to navigate through floating debris. Seeing a kayaker bobbing up and down when visibility is poor is like finding a needle in a haystack. At the very least the orange flags should be mandatory. I am also in favor of state registration and regulation. There are too many kayaks out there. Don't even get me started about the ones I have seen trying to use the inlets to get to the ocean.

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    I want to thank John for starting this thread....
    With the loss of access....there has been exponential demand for kayaks...Unfortunately some do not fully understand the seriousness of being out there, and how quickly the weather can turn, especially in early Spring.......

    Someone I know of got their son a new Pro Angler...and they were out there the other day in 35mph winds....
    I am posting my response not as a criticism of them....but as a hope that some reading these posts...can learn from the mistakes. We all make mistakes in judgment. I have made many in my life....making a serious mistake on a kayak can result in serious injury or loss of life.......





    ** Report
    :
    "My 15 year old son got his first boat over the weekend - a 14 foot kayak, and he pedaled and paddled nine miles today in a strong wind, learning many lessons along the way. A nine mile kayak slog in 35 mph winds is good exercise.

    Deceived by the ease of the outgoing tide, he sped out to the Scotch Caps at 5 mph. He anchored up in the rocks and tried casting for bass -- maybe he got a hit.

    As the waves built up and crashed into the rocks, he headed deep into Milton Harbor to try for flounder.

    He ignored my suggestion to take a plastic quart container to pee in and eventually nature called. He decided to land on the mudflat at the Marshlands Conservancy. Seemed like a good idea -- NOT. He sank into the deep mud and had to drag the kayak for a long while before he could get into deep enough water to launch.

    By then, he had to endure a wicked wind against tide until he got to Hen Island and cut through to the lee side. Calm at last -- but not for long.

    The run along the shoreline in outer Mamaroneck Harbor was open to the southwest and with the wind against tide, he battled standing 3 foot waves the whole way back to the Mamaroneck Beach and Yacht Club.

    Once inside the inner harbor, all was peaceful again, and he cruised along to the ramp where I picked him up 6 hours after dropping him off. Now he's cleaning his mud-stained boat. How come he never cleaned mine for the past dozen years? Water temps ranged from the high 40s well into the 50s in the shallow mud area. But no fish were to be had. He's one happy camper though."

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    ** My response:
    I hope you don't take this personally, as I have enjoyed your stories over the years....and have to say your fishing trips with him are some of the best reports on here....


    Some of the responses to the report did mention a few sensible things here....and I would like to sum them up and add a bit...if you don't mind....not as a criticism of him or you.....but as someone who doesn't want to see another kayak death out there....

    I was at the Nissiquogue, I think 3 years ago, that afternoon in August when that father was out with his young son in the inflatable kayak, had an accident, and died. I will remember the sadness and helplessness I felt that day, and my sadness for that family and that son growing up without his father, a NYPD officer......







    Some basic thoughts.....
    Again, not directed necessarily at you or your son, but just as a caution to anyone who is considering this growing sport of kayaking.....


    1. Cold water survival -The water in the 40's and low 50's is cold enough to immobilize a person within 10 minutes...and within a half hour they could be dead....(I wrote a piece on this but don't remember all the specifics)....still, it's good to be very cautious in water close to or under 50 degees....


    2. School of hard knocks- I say this not out of judgment....even though I have years of experience I almost died 2 years ago when fishing early season in a bay and the weather changed from mild 5mph to steady 25 mph and 3 foot swells within a half hour.
    I made some very stupid mistakes that morning that almost cost me my life.....and hope not to make the same ones again....

    3. Buddy System - When someone is a relative newbie, it's a good idea for them to use the buddy system or pair up with someone....it would be a great idea for you to buy another pro angler and go on trips together....

    4. VHF - I didn't read anything about a VHF radio....this is a must for this time of year....and especially when you are out there by yourself, or in the middle of the night, as I often am.....

    5. Fear is Healthy - The pro angler is a very stable platform...Great choice! and a wise purchase for anyone who is a little heavier than average...however a new kayaker could still get in trouble with worsening conditions....

    I remember one morning Elias and I were out in the front of JBay...the conditions got very snotty within minutes....to his credit Eli made it back paddling....I stayed out a bit longer thinking my pedals would give me an advantage...looking back on that, I should have headed back in, when he did...there is nothing macho about being a tough guy in your yak on the water...macho or reckless guys end up dead....







    6. Contingency Planning - pedalling into the sedges and trying to maneuver walking along that way....I had a similar experience last year...the winds kicked up to 25 mph, within a 15 minute period.....and I had to land 1/2 mile away from where I wanted to, and walk the sedges back to my original put-in.... The power of the early spring bay waves smashing my kayak into the sedges as I slowly made my way back inspired me to set up a set of parameters/rules which I try not to deviate from for all future trips.....

    A. I do not launch or stay out there on days when any wind over 25 miles is forecast.

    IMO 35mph winds are not something for any newbie to deal with and could result in injury or death.

    B. I use several forecasting sites to get a pattern of the wind for that day and past my end of trip time in case I may be delayed. I plan my trip so I'm off the water before any serious weather changes.

    C. Wunderground and wind guru are two I can recommend, others may have others they want to recommend to you.

    D. I always have a plan B, or C.....trying to figure the worst possible scenario if I will be out there.

    E. I practice self-rescue....and early season try to condition myself by doing small trips at first. I have done as much as 20 miles in a bay trip, but that was after several weeks of conditioning and using the tides to get me to each spot on my journey.





    7. Float plan....
    It seems you were both prepared on this.,...you knew you had to pick him up in 6 hours...good thinking.....

    8. Toilet needs...pit stops..
    I'm getting to be an old fart...so I'm never without my pee bottle...IMO it's a lot safer to learn how to take a leak in the bottle while in the yak.

    9. Hydration....make sure you always have plenty of water...more than you think you can drink....if you get stranded and your trip takes twice as long, this can help your survival and clear thinking...Energy bars are good to have too...and some TP if you have to make a pit stop on a rockpile...

    10. Wet suit or dry suit...
    I don't own a dry suit so I can't kayak in certain conditions.....
    In my experience, in early spring weather like this a new yakker should at minimum be wearing a wetsuit....
    It is problematic if you have to take a leak..I have a 2 piece and am happy with it for that reason....That wetsuit could save your life if you get dumped...and have to wait to get saved.....worth the inconvenience of wearing a wetsuit and sitting in your own pee for a few hours until you hit land...

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    If it seems like some of the other posts were yelling at you too much...please think again....I know you are a responsible Dad....the best parents know they can't keep their children in a plastic bubble forever.....They need to let them strike out on their own...and allow them the ability to screw up.....



    Unfortunately. with the loss in fishing access...kayak demand is growing exponentially.

    I'll go out on a limb and say that although it saddens me to say this. I predict someone is going to get killed in either LI or NJ on a kayak this year....there is too little regard for safety and protocol out there....the sport is exploding....and it's sad but inevitable.....



    None
    of us wants that death, to be your son......hence the reason for some of the strong comments here........

    Get yourself a kayak, go with him...let him be his own person...but hopefully you, and some others, can learn from some of the pointers I laid out here.....


    If you want any other advice feel free to PM me any time....

    I look forward to many more reports from you and him....and healthy times for us all this season...

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    another thing to have with you especially if you travel off the beach or venture deep into the back bays and estuaries is a GPS. I have a small handheld version that cost maybe 80 bucks. I have a ram mount for it so I can use it like a dashboard. extra batteries and extra clothes in a dry bag. WATER- bring WATER. I always have my VHF radio on any body of water that has power boats.

    The rule of thumb is that a non powered vessel always has the right of way. I always give way to all vessels- it is hard to prove your right when you are dead.

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    I know you said not to criticize but at 35mph those winds are fairly unsafe to be on a kayak. Stiff enough for a small craft advisory. He is lucky he made it back ok.

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    A guy almost drowned up in the raritan bay may 4 last sunday. He was in a sit in kayak and wasn't wearing a wetsuit. Be careful out there gents!

    From Facebook -
    Wow what a day! No fish but did rescue my friend who flipped his kayak.

    I didn't think much of the situation until he couldn't get back in his kayak and we where over 3/4 of a mile out. So he hung off the back of my trolling motor while i paddled as hard as I could for 35 minutes with the motor running also with the blades hitting legs a few times.

    My other friend followed close by in case he let go and then told me about the 50 50 50 rule means he didn't have much time left. 50 degrees water for 50 minutes you have a 50% chance of living. When we beached he couldnt feel anything and he thought he tore his triceps from the hypothermia and his muscles contracting...

    How cold was he? So cold he couldn't get his clothes off or use his hand's so we stripped him down and then I took off my clothes for him...

    This isn't a story so I can be congratulated because I did nothing different from what anyone else would have done. This is about being safe, prepared and always ready for the worst. Always have a radio, always fish with a partner, and always wear your pfd because he would have been dead.

    Also tell your wives or girlfriends to go buy you a dry suit Lol... Stay safe,a life can be lost at anytime in any situation if you aren't prepared. Thank god I had a motor."

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    Wow sounds crazy. He is certainly lucky to be alive. Def should have been wearing a wetsuit. Glad he is OK

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    I read that and a thread on it, was amazed that the coast guard was never contacted during the ordeal.
    Way to many risks being taken by kayakers. An amazing amount, their luck will run out.
    White Water Monty 2.00 (WWM)
    Future Long Islander (ASAP)

  13. #13
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    Launching out front in fog is a definite DON'T!!! Just asking to be run over by a boat IMO.

    With the price of radar coming down many boaters are buying them. The problem is kayaks don't show up well on radar. Add to this that some boaters are now running too fast in the fog due to the false sense of confidence in the radar.

    An article I found from 2008:

    A few seasons ago, one the large sea kayaking clubs in New England organized a series of radar tests with the Coast Guard's search and rescue station at Newburyport, Massachusetts.

    It was a miserably wet day with torrential rains. The results of the radar testing on sea kayaks were equally miserable: the radar watchstanders reported they were unable to distinguish nearby kayakers from the chaff and clutter of day-to-day interference, waves and rain on their screens.


    It was a sobering visit, especially for sea kayaking enthusiasts who frequent the fogbound waters of downeast Maine. Maine's remote waters often buss with the dodging, circling and busy at work lobstermen whose radar alarms are sometimes all that prevent them from colliding with others.

    The same types of tests were later run again on a more formal systematic basis by the Coast Guard, local Maine lobstermen, and researchers from the Maine Sea Grant at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine.

    Their report, available as a pdf, takes time to wade through, given the report's thoroughness. In a nutshell, on open water and in fog, don't count on being detected in a sea kayak by radar no matter how much tin foil you fold up inside your hat or how fancy the reflector you attach to your aft deck.


    One option, despite sometimes misinformed discussions dismissive of VHF radios, is to make a vhf calls on VHF channel 16 if you are in your sea kayak fog, at night or in limited visibility due to big swell, heavy whitecaps, darkness, heavy rain.


    Of the recent tests in Maine, one adaptation of tin foil and a hat sort of worked: a tinfoil-covered sunhat. The rig gave to the radar readers a better response rate than any of the available commercial radar reflectors made for kayaks, and was certainly much less cumbersome and unwieldy, and less likely to interfered with rolling a kayak or rescuing a kayaker than an aft deck radar reflector.

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    ^^^^ Tin foil -Amazing that it would work. Very basic and home remedy style. Thanks for sharing.

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    Heads up coast guard warning about cold water.
    http://www.moremonmouthmusings.net/2...water-is-cold/

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