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  #1  
Old 07-05-2007, 05:00 AM
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Default Kayaking Safely

Article from the Newburyport Times

Mighty Merrimack' shows no mercy
Dan Atkinson
NEWBURYPORT | When a 54-year-old beginner kayaker found herself overturned and drifting toward a dock in the Parker River earlier this month, it took the quick reaction of a 16-year-old to pull her out and save her from drowning.
Last June, when two experienced sea kayakers were overturned by a rip current in 52-degree water off Plum Island, rescuers said it was only their emergency equipment -- dry suits and a rescue beacon -- that saved them.
Because of incidences like those, when an overturned kayak was spotted drifting off of Plum Island last month, the Coast Guard spent hours searching for a victim to no avail. No one was ever reported missing.
But there is no denying there are more kayaks on local waterways than ever before. The Coast Guard sees it virtually every day this time of year.
"We see them go by the station," said Petty Officer Robert Westbrook. "As soon as they go by, we're watching them."
Each year, nearly 700 people die nationwide in boating accidents, according to the Coast Guard. Of those deaths, 75 percent were by drowning and 85 percent were as a result of not wearing a life jacket. In New England last year, 49 of the 54 boat-related drownings were due to the lack of a life jacket. And increasingly, those accidents are in paddle-powered boats like kayaks.
"People see boating fatalities and they only think of commercial boaters and fishing," Coast Guard Petty Officer Etta Smith said. "A big chunk of those fatalities and injuries are paddlers."
The Coast Guard puts out warnings because it sees firsthand the danger at the mouth of the Merrimack River and the open ocean beyond. It stresses preparedness to boaters, as does Plum Island Kayak owner Ken Taylor, who puts every potential kayaker through a screening process.
Taylor trusts that people will be honest and admit if they have never kayaked before.
"They can try and bluff their way through, but the Merrimack is not the place you want to learn how to kayak," Taylor said. "The Merrimack is unforgiving ... you know really quick if you're in over your head."
Newburyport harbormaster Ralph Steele said while kayaking is becoming popular, more people are jumping into the sport without proper preparation. A kayaker himself, Steele knows how difficult it is to right a kayak after flipping over, and said all new kayakers should train first.
"Anyone who goes out without training is asking for trouble," Steele said. "You're a fool, basically."
Kayakers are not required to take lessons, according to Coast Guard Petty Officer David Andreesen, but they are required to wear life jackets. Andreesen said lessons are the best way to prevent accidents, and to react properly if an accident does happen.
Tipping over is common, especially on a river, Taylor said. It's actually easier to recover from a spill on a lake or ocean, where there is no current to deal with. On a river, he said, the current will pull a tipped kayaker into an obstacle. That adds complications to what is already a deceptively difficult task -- rolling the kayak back over.
"Most people think it's so simple to ... roll a boat back," Taylor said. "But if you don't know, it's almost impossible."
Kayakers should also know the conditions of their route, including the tide, especially one as treacherous as the Merrimack, Taylor said. Because it's a tidal river, the Merrimack changes direction, speed and height frequently, and will be a completely different river depending on when a kayaker goes out. The mouth is most dangerous when the tide is changing from high to low or low to high.
Taylor only rents kayaks to experienced users, although he also organizes guided tours for beginners. When a first-timer goes out on the Merrimack during a lull in the tides, Taylor said, he can get the wrong idea.
"You take them out on a nice day and they think 'Wow, it's so easy,'" Taylor said. "I tell them don't get overconfident, that's the mighty Merrimack River."
But as long as people are prepared, Taylor said, they should be able to handle kayaking.
"With a little education and awareness of navigation and tides ... I think it's easy," he said.
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  #2  
Old 07-05-2007, 05:20 AM
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Default Re: Kayakers Safety First

Use the 6 P's of kayak safety - Planning, Partner, PFD, Preparation, Practice and Patience - can lessen these objective dangers

Many potential hazards can be encountered out on the water in a kayak. Cold water is perhaps the greatest of these.
  • Lightning is frightening In the United States, an average of 73 people are killed each year by lightning. That's more than the annual number of people killed by tornadoes or hurricanes
  • Personal Flotation Devices Whether called life jackets, life vests, life preservers, Mae Wests or Personal Floatation Devices ( PFDs), this equipment is one of the essential Ps of kayaking. PFDs provide individualized floatation assistance. The Coast Guard states 85% of all drowning deaths were preventable if the victim had worn a PFD
  • Visual Distress Signals Although not required to carry visual distress signals during the day, kayakers should carry some type of daytime distress signal
  • Wave Dynamics and Rogue Waves Wind waves, or the rippling of the ocean surface by the friction and driving force of the wind, is the most ever-present oceanic feature
  • Wind - Downbursts Caused by thunder-storms, localized strong winds as high as 130 miles per hour can hit with little or no warning
  • When is fog "fog" or can you differentiate between haze, mist and fog?
    a) A dry haze gives the atmosphere a bluish or yellowish appearance. It is made of very fine dust or salt particles which somewhat reduce visibility. A damp haze is made of tiny water droplets creating a veil thinner than fog.
    b) Mist is also made up of very small water droplets which create a gray veil over the landscape or the sea. Relative humidity for mist is often less than 95% and it is an intermediary step between haze and fog
    c) Fog is a visible accumulation of the tiny droplets created by condensation which reduces visibility to less than 1/2 nautical mile (1km).
Five important kayaking safety tips

  • Be prepared: Check the weather forecast and make sure your kayak is stocked with essentials such as flares, whistles, flashlights, a compass and a pump.
  • Have a float plan: Tell someone where you are going, what you are doing and when you plan to return.
  • Wear a life jacket: State law requires kayakers and canoeists to wear life jackets from Sept. 15 through May 15, but safety officials highly recommend always wearing one.
  • Stay with the boat: If you capsize, your kayak will provide flotation and a large, brightly colored object that rescuers can easily spot. Also, swimming only accelerates hypothermia.
  • Don't drink and boat: Alcohol laws are the same for boats as cars.
  • For more safety information, visit www.safeboatingcouncil.org.

Source: U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
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  #3  
Old 07-12-2007, 06:09 PM
soundfisher soundfisher is offline
 
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Default Re: Kayaking Safely

Here a checklist I put together...

Kayak Safety Checklist

The kayak is quickly revolutionizing the sport of fishing, but prior to tackling this new and exciting endeavor, it is very important to understand the role of safety to always ensure your times on the water are ones of enjoyment and not of disarray and fear.

One aspect of kayak fishing that attracted me to the sport was the community´s serious commitment to safety detail. Regardless of the kayak fishing website or publication, safety, as it should be, is considered of utmost importance and is preached with regularity by the sport´s ambassadors.

Prior to your first paddle on the water, it is very important to understand and adhere to the safety recommendations provided below. I recommend you spend the money on the necessary products to ensure you are prepared for any unfortunate mishap, which for most, is inevitable.

I have broken down kayak fishing safety into two major categories: 1) "Must haves", and 2) "Nice to haves." This may not be the "official" list for all, but I believe most will agree this is a great place to start.

"THE MUST HAVES"

PFD (Personal Floatation Device) - This is the most important and most necessary piece of safety equipment for kayakers. For those concerned with the "discomfort" of wearing a PFD while paddling and fishing, there are many makes and models designed specifically for you. I strongly recommend you spend the extra cash and purchase a quality PFD that will provide the necessary comfort and protection. If you decide to go the cheap route, you will most likely regret your decision as less expensive models are generally quite uncomfortable and cumbersome.

Bilge Pump (for Sit-Inside-Kayaks only) - As is the case with any boat, Sit-Inside-Kayaks spring leaks, and despite the cozy protection of the cockpit, will also take on water, especially in rough seas. In times when water begins to build inside the hull, a bilge pump may be the difference between losing your boat and potentially your life and reaching safety.

Bow Line - You´ve been stricken by a nasty flu bug or injured, losing your ability to paddle. A bow line will be required for towing purposes.

Clothing/Waterproof Storage Bags - Always dress for the water temperature and NOT the air temperature. Always be prepared for immersion. During the cool/cold seasons, dry suits and other forms of waterproof apparel are a must. In cases of immersion, always have access to clothes stored in a "dry bag." Hypothermia settles in rather quickly and access to dry clothing is not only a "nice to have," but also a necessity. For further details regarding hypothermia, please visit this article written by Nils Christensen.

Dry bags are multi-purpose as they protect your cell phone, batteries, keys, wallet, bug spray and sun glasses from harsh conditions.

Compass - Nothing is more frightening than realizing you´ve drifted off course or when fog quickly encompasses your fishing grounds. Immediately, your sense of direction will become distorted and your ability to orient to the shore will be lost. Both of these situations have occurred to me on more than one occasion, and in both circumstances, my compass has led me to safety. If possible, install a deck-mounted compass and a pocket compass to aid in navigation during these difficult times.

First Aid Kit - How many times have you hooked yourself? How many of you have injured yourself to the point medical assistance was required? If you´re a mile offshore and something happens, there is nobody there to help you. Many stores carry first aid kits specifically for boaters and kayakers and can be purchased for around $20. It´s worth the investment.

Lighting - Like many serious anglers, a majority of your fishing time will be conducted under dark skies. Stern lights are a "must have" in these conditions. Not only will your lights alert nearby boaters of your existence, but they also help your fishing partners identify your whereabouts. This is simply a no-brainer and fishing at night without lights is a huge no-no. All kayak anglers wishing to fish at night should also own a headlamp. These fairly inexpensive products allow you to "rig up" and release your catch with ease, and also provide another light source for surveying the area around you. Many headlamps provide a flashing warning light that can serve as a secondary emergency light source. I always carry a pair of headlamps in case one malfunctions or I run out of batteries. If you only own one headlamp, glow sticks can be used as a backup. Flares are also recommended to aid in any search and rescue missions.

It is law to use lighting on all marine craft between sunset and sunrise.

Mirror - Can be used for reflectivity to garner the attention of passerby´s.

Paddle Leash - You´re just about to re-rig your favorite rod and reach back into the live well to grab your favorite lure. You return to your seated position and realize the paddle, which was resting over your legs, has slipped into the water and is drifting away from you. What do you do? Well, if your leash is attached securely to the paddle, all you have to do is reach down and grab it. Not only do you avoid the potentially dangerous situation of drifting away from shore, but it also allows you to retrieve your paddle and continue fishing. Possessing a spare paddle is another great, and in my opinion, necessary option. Leashes are made for both paddles and fishing rods. Note: It is highly recommended that an anchor is also present on your boat at all times. In a situation when you are stranded or lost, the anchor will allow you to hold ground and prevent your kayak from drifting off aimlessly into the night.

Pliers/Knife - Pliers are not only necessary for cutting line and de-hooking fish, but they are also a "must have" if a hook suddenly becomes enlarged in your hand or finger. To remove the hook, you may be required to use pliers to cut the hook. A knife may be necessary to cut tangled fishing lines, drift socks, or anchor lines.

Self-Rescue Technique - Before deciding to venture out on your own, practice re-entering your kayak. You may look foolish during this exercise, but it could save your life. To see complete instructions of a "wet entry," go to: www.kayaklakemead.com/wet-entry.html

Water/Gatorade - One aspect of kayak safety that is sorely overlooked is the threat of dehydration and the ensuing effects it has on the body. Always carry enough water to allow for one drink every 15 minutes. Don´t be fooled when the air is cold as you are just as susceptible to dehydration during these conditions.

Weather and Conditions - Nothing spoils fishing more than bad weather. Prior to leaving for the fishing grounds, check the latest weather, tide, and winds conditions. All of these variables can play a major role in determining safe and unsafe conditions.

Whistle/Horn - Always carry a noise making apparatus to ensure that if capsized or lost a nearby vessel or fellow angler on shore can hear your calls for help. This is a very cheap, but very necessary piece of equipment. The Coast Guard, in most states, requires all kayak anglers to be in possession of a noise making apparatus. Please check with your state´s local Coast Guard office for more details.

"NICE TO HAVES"

GPS (Global Positioning System) - Nothing is more helpful during trying times than the information provided by a GPS unit. Most GPS´s will provide your exact location, drift speed, and a digital compass, which entails much of the information needed to return yourself to safety. In times when you are stranded, you can radio your whereabouts to the Coast Guard, resulting, in most cases, in a quick recovery. The GPS will help you find your way when lost and provides the angler with the reassurance of a safe return to shore. Warning: Do not solely rely on your GPS unit. Malfunctions often occur. Carry an old-fashioned compass as backup to prevent complete disorientation on the water.

Bug Spray - There are times during the day and night when anglers are under siege and unable to escape hordes of flying, attacking insects - many of which bite. Carrying bug spray will alleviate (some, not all) your angst during these times.

VHF Radio - Although I place this in the "nice to have" category, I would never leave home without it. Submersible VHF radios (kayak anglers generally use the handheld models) allow you to call for assistance from nearby boaters or the Coast Guard. NOAA weather updates are also available via VHF, which serves incredibly useful during the humid, summer months. As many of you know, weather can change quickly on the water, and it is reassuring to know storm warnings will be issued in a timely manner.

Lip Gripper - There´s nothing more nerve-racking than attempting to remove a hook out of the mouth of a toothy critter. In my region (northeast), trying to retrieve a plug or hook from a bluefish´s mouth is not only frustrating, but can be very dangerous. The lip gripper allows the angler to handle fish much more easily while allowing one to focus on the task at hand.

I will be the first to admit, when I decided to invest in the sport of kayak fishing, I didn´t understand all the dangers one could encounter on the water, and thus, I didn´t understand all the hoopla surrounding safety and the precautions taken while kayaking. It is important that you take heed of the advice above, as this will provide you and your family with the reassurance of an enjoyable fishing trip, and more importantly, a safe return home.

Tight lines to you all.
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  #4  
Old 03-03-2009, 08:57 PM
davey jones davey jones is offline
 
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Default Re: Kayaking Safely

Careful first timers I don't want to see you in my locker
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Old 03-03-2009, 10:54 PM
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Default Re: Kayaking Safely

what would ya do to him if he was in yur locker?



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  #6  
Old 09-04-2011, 01:16 PM
K Williams K Williams is offline
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Question Re: Kayak Classes in LI?

Are there any kayak safely classes in Long Island?
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