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best way to be seen?

whats the best way to be seen in a kayak dureing the datime?


  • Bikini - NM
  • depends
    It does depend a bit about the conditions you are in, but in general to wear bright colors and have bright color blades on your paddle. But the color does vary based on your conditions - white stands out in some cases, but disappears in white caps. Even red can disappear in certain conditions.

    Reflective tape (especially on a paddle) may also help, as it could create a flash. But not all reflective tapes are the same. The best stuff is SOLAS, which is impregnated with glass so causes light to reflect in all directions, but it is expensive. The stuff you get at car shops just reflects like a mirror.
  • Colors and a flashy paddle
    -- Last Updated: Jun-11-14 9:02 PM EST --

    Colors, bright and contrasting with the water or any other objects that a boat would drive over.

    Paddle - put SOLAS tape on each shaft near the blade. If there is any sun it'll catch the light and flash as you paddle.

    Boat - more SOLAS tape, a bit on each end along the side.

  • Also be heard
    If there are motor boats around. Boat horn.
  • Citrus colors.
    Orange, Lemon, and Lime...In that order.

    Dark colors are sexy. Camo is macho.
    Both can more easily get you killed.

    As mentioned above, white disappears in white caps.

    And if it's gray on a gray day, better be an aircraft carrier!
  • Movement
    Our eyes pick up movement best, then color contrast. The thing you can make the most visible movement with is your paddle. So, like others have said, get some color on your paddle blades and wave them up high if you need to get someone's attention.
  • Options
    ty everyone
    great advice this lake has so many deaths .that it is scary .i want to be scene easly http://www.11alive.com/story/news/local/2014/06/08/drowning-on-lake-lanier/10209993/
  • well
    Be in a touron (tourist moran such as you must be)spot and be el nude.
  • reflective tape
    Most reflective tape, including SOLAS tape, is retroreflectvive -- designed to reflect light back to the source. It is very effective if the observer is aligned with the light source, such as wearing a headlamp or driving a car with the headlights on. It is not very effective if the observer and the light source are separated.

    In the daytime, retroreflective tapes only work well if the sun is behind the observer.

    I've had better luck in the daytime with "sparkly" holographic tape, sometimes sold for automotive trim or decorating hula hoops.

    No reflective tape will be effective on a cloudy day.

    Lots of tape options here:

    I painted my paddle blades bright yellow before adding tape.
  • Ditto on the tape
    I've tried to point that out before. The material is intended to show up brightly to a person who's looking toward the object from behind his own set of headlights. Any kind of indirect lighting leaves the stuff looking dull - not obvious at all. Also, in those rare situations where the sun is behind the viewer at sunrise or sunset, it really shines. Otherwise, every truck trailer and railroad-crossing gate you see has lots of SOLAS tape, and even on sunny days there's no shine at all, no matter what your viewing orientation is. It will be equally "effective" at making your boat or paddles more visible.
  • Type of paint??
    What type of paint sticks best to Carbon Fiber?? I have a new paddling coming soon which is carbon Fiber and was wondering if certain types of paint stick better to carbon fiber? Something in a spray can would be best.
  • For short passes through high traffic,..
    ... I put a yellow construction vest over my PFD. I hardly ever resort to that method, but there are times when crossing the main channel of the Mississippi that it seems wise. Waiting for a break in traffic is still necessary of course, but it's still a scary channel to cross on a summer weekend.
  • jerk
    -- Last Updated: Jun-12-14 12:19 PM EST --

    You must have missed his profile. Or you just don't care how you come across. DB.

  • Options
    paddle blades
    Whenever I need to find a group of paddlers that I am hooking up with and they are at a distance, the one thing I can see is the flashing of white paddle blades. When, closer, yes, colored apparel and PFDs start to show up. But at a distance, I can see white blades flashing. Some use reflective tape on paddle blades too. A lot of paddlers are into carbon fiber black blades but the white ones show up at quite a distance especially in use.
  • Be seen
    We have these hats for use in high traffic areas or on grassy rivers that have Airboats.

  • visibility photos
    Some sobering but great examples of what you would look like to a search plane.


    As far as from the water, in chop, your boat is not visible so doesn't make much difference. A dayglow yellow or safety orange ball cap and PFD works well. In dim light, the hi-viz dayglow yellow really works well. A friend of mine spray painted his blades bright colors. I have Solas tape on my paddles. They give a good flash with every stroke.
  • Options
    great advice everyone
    thank you
  • Some valid ideas, but
    a caveat.

    I've seen too many drunk yahoos in small powerboats spend most of their time looking at the two legged things on skis off the back of their boats and don't watch what they are doing. This isn't most, but it only takes one to ruin your day. For some, the only way to get their attention (and then you have to rely upon their reduced ability to reason and react) might be to fire a howitzer across their bows.

    I've seen powerboat and jetski owners intentionally harass paddlers on both salt and fresh water. I saw one paddler find refuge behind a headland where some inter-tidal rocks were hidden under 3-4 inches of water in the calm sea. When the jetski hull passed over these rocks made that individual reconsider his action. I do not know if there was damage. In one instance, after 15 or 20 minutes, the CG arrested a pair of idiots behaving this way in Monterey, so there is that. I once had a whale watching boat returning from the vasty deeps blast something unintelligible over his sound system. I had no idea if he was speaking to me or not, but I assume he was. He then proceeded to make several high speed runs and generate some very nice bow waves. I assume he was trying to induce me to surf for the pleasure of his passengers, but I wasn't about to turn my back on the deranged fool.

    If in waters where powerboats are an issue, visibility is only part of the issue. Once seen, you become either something to avoid/ignore or something more akin to a catnip mouse on the living room floor.

    Just a caveat, as I said.

  • Agree
    I keep a loud, day-glo orange ball cap in my day hatch for high traffic times. I think the most important and sensible thing I do is start my paddle very early in the morning. I'm usually finished by the time the drinkers start getting drunk. Off the water by 1:30 or 2:00 PM is good, I think.

    Yeah, I was harassed once by a young guy in a speedboat trying to impress his girlfriend. I think he was embarrassed when his attempt to capsize me, or at least scare me some, failed miserably.
  • Those deaths have nothing to do with
    Being seen in a kayak. If you are concerned with not being run over don't paddle where high speed boat traffic occurs. If you are paddling amongst high speed boat traffic, ie playing in traffic, get a florescent orange or yellow/green safety vest. Paddle blade movement is not sufficient.

    Your judgement is the most important factor, equipment doesn't compensate for false assumptions.
  • I was able
    to spot waldo in the red boat. The other boats were pretty indistinguishable from the whitecaps and I thought they might be boats.

    Surely, paddling a white boat in choppy water is the best possible solution for sneaking up on the Tirpiz and planting limpet mines during broad daylight, but fairly lousy in a rescue situation.

    The visibility color test was performed during WW II, which is how they came up with "yum yum yellow" for the Mae West PFD's of the era. There is still dispute in the scientific community if the color actually attracts sharks.

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