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Occasionally rivers, but shuttles payable by one get expensive. Thats where groups are handy.
For that reason too I have had to be creative when arranging fly ins as the charges go both ways.
Been paddling alone(I dont know what floating is other than an inner tube) from Florida to Northern Ontario. Often do not see anyone for two weeks.
A beginner, just getting into kayaking (from her profile), has no self rescue skills, and can't swim(according to a significant other?).
Asking strangers if they solo; because (in all liklihood), she is interested in soloing, and is seeking support, OR " the answer she wants to hear".
I'm betting significant other doesn't think she should be soloing.
Many of the strangers tell her what "they do", but don't really address the central issue.
The lady can't swim!
Obvious(I've heard all of them) rationalization; "Lots of people who paddle can't swim; they are ok if they wear their pfd".
My "personal opinion": Learn to swim before considering soloing, and paddle with a partner until you can swim; even if you always wear a pfd.
Preferably a partner who knows CPR.
On a wide, moving water river, or in the middle of a lake, you are not going to "float" to shore.
You will also not "float" out of harm's way if you are on a moving water river & you capsize "upstream" of a strainer.
You will not float to shore if you capsize, and injure yourself in deep water.
If the water is cold; how long do you have before you start experiencing hypothermia? How long will it take you to "float" to shore.
If your dump bag is in your boat when you capsize, will you need it's contents? Can you get to it if the boat is drifting downstream, or will the boat wait on you to float to it?
How long will it take you to "float" to your boat, retreive your dump bag & then "float" to shore?
If someone who is paddling with you capsizes & injures themselves in deep water, will your lack of swimming skills be a positive or negative factor?
You happen upon a "stranger" who is in the middle of a lake or a river, and needs your assistance.
Will your help them?
Will your lack of swimming skills be a positive or negative factor?
Substitute stranger for a loved one.
I could be wrong..........
Ex Lifeguard Instructor
Ex Water Safey Instructor
Ex Canoeing Instructor
Ex Advanced Swiftwater Rescue Instructor
flatwater and whitewater, canoes and kayaks.
On whitewater, on rivers up to Class III, easy Class IV. Sometimes I was alone in the sense that I had no paddling companions, but was on a popular river with other boaters and/or rafters who may or may not have been able and willing to offer assistance in case of a mishap.
Other times I was truely alone, the only person paddling the creek or river. I had many, many swims and self rescues but never lost a boat, and haven't been killed yet.
I usually took a bicycle for a shuttle if I didn't expect to be able to hitch a ride.
Dumbest was paddling moderately steep creeks in spring flood by my lonesome. Not generally recommended.
You have on your pfd, but you can't swim.
You are kayaking on the ocean; you encounter a rip current.
Your kayak capsizes; you have no self rescue skills. You get separated from your kayak & your kayak paddle.
Even with no swimming ability, you are OK; you have on your pfd..........
You'll just float & dog paddle to shore; you don't need any swimming ability.
Your kayak & your paddle will also just float to shore.
It's all good..........
I don't think so........
P.S. I am not opposed to solo paddling.
Have done some myself; even some whitewater solo.I was not a beginning paddler; I wore a rescue pfd with extra flotation, I had excellent swimming skills, I had self rescue skills, and very extensive training. Even with those skills, a pfd & over 35 years of paddling experience; I was/am not drown proof.
you are asking the question---I paddled alone when I wanted to go out but didn't have anybody to paddle with---I already had plenty of canoing and white water kayak experience at that point. and I had a roll and self rescue. I also could swim.
Are you asking if you should paddle alone?--Is Jeffschoaf right--that you don't know how to swim and have never done any self rescue practice? If your question is should you paddle alone I guess my answer is so long as you don't go in water over your waist and the temp of the water is over 70, then you should be ok.
A few random comments - first off I don't get what the ladies part has to do with anything. Paddling alone is a matter of assessing your paddling, the conditions and your rescue/recovery skills correctly. That's not gender related.
If gong down a river means white water, we usually see groups going down together. My husband and I have never done WW with less than four.
I usually paddle with my husband or a local crowd. But I picked up a canoe last fall, and much/most of my time trying to get the strokes down was then and will probably remain alone.
But - to echo what others above have said - I am a quite competent if not pretty swimmer, especially with a PFD on. And one of the things I will be working on as soon as the water tops 50 degrees on will be figuring out how to equip the canoe and train myself to be able to self-rescue in it.
Even with the above, there are trips I have refrained from taking because the situation was one where it really required a certain number of paddlers to be safe should something unexpected occur, and we didn't have that minimum. This has happened on the ocean, and even with the people who are there all having solid rescue skills and being dressed for immersion and all that good stuff, the count just didn't meet a safe minimum.
These were trips where the minimum count was four.
This is a bit off the topic but a few weeks ago two young folks, both ~19 and freshmen at a local college were on a date at Torrey Pines beach, they were playing around with a boogie board in the shallow water. Neither one of them knew how to swim. I had been out surfing very near there a few hours before and gave up because the waves were so small, but as the tide started going out, and a onshore wind came up from the NW, one or both, got knocked off their feet and started to be pulled in a strong rip, the guy fought and yelled for help and threw his boogie board to his girlfriend but she did not recover it and was underwater. THe lifegaurds were leaving for the day but someone flagged them down and they dove in, their street clothes and swam out in the rip and found the girl. She was underwater and not breathing. She is now still in intensive care in a hospital. She was the star tennis player at the college. The guy was swept out and under the waves and his body has not been recovered. His family and friends are of course devasted, and lots of folks have been trying to help find the body here.
This happened in a spot where the waves can be very violent and dangerous but the day this happened it was almost placid.
I still paddle alone most days. If I waited till someone compatible and eager to paddle was available, I'd paddle maybe once a week. That's not enough.
Gender has nothing to do with the decision. The water and weather don't pick on women more than they do men.
I agree with the advice to learn to swim first. It's not a matter of whether you will actually swim, so much as it is a fear factor. I've noticed that people who cannot swim are afraid of wet exits even if they've done them already. Having grown up in a region where everybody learned to swim, I was extremely surprised to find out how many here do not know how.
Play it safe by staying close to shore, being ultraconservative with weather conditions, and not overdoing the mileage. You could join a club and hope they know what they're doing, but sometimes "safety in numbers" is false security. There is no such thing as absolutely safe anyway.
I normally paddle lakes and reservoirs, and for a short part of the year I paddle in a WW park. Obviously, there is higher risk of something "happening" at the latter, but I don't go during the high-flow season and shoreline is always very close in this narrow creek. I never do float trips; why would you do a float trip alone anyway since you need 2 people and 2 vehicles?
Yes, you can drown in a pfd.
You are more likely to drown while wearing a pfd, "IF" you are a "non" swimmer.
If you "were" able to swim, you might be able to avoid some of the nasty spots you don't want to go with, or without a pfd.
Examples: Being swept into a strainer; downed trees in the river, or hanging over & into the river. Most of these can be avoided, even if you are in the water; if you have some swimming skills, and are able to swim aggressively to a safe area.
Being swept into an area of the river where there is a hydraulic. Some places in the area where I live have low water bridges; some of them have hydraulics on the downstream side. Some of them have large culverts running underneath the low water bridge; those culverts are "often" jammed at some point with fencing, tree limbs, fence posts, trash cans, fishing line & other obstructions.
Not a fun spot to get swept into due to the lack of ability to aggressively swim to a safe area, before you get swept into the hydraulic, or the culvert.
Foot entrapment can sometimes lead to a drowning whether you have a pfd or not. Often the current will be too fast for you to keep your head above water when your body is swept downstream(your foot stays entrapped), even wearing a pfd.
One of the first things a lot of beginners/non swimmers do when they capsize in fast moving water is to stand up; this is an ideal situation for a foot entrapment. Will your non swimming friends be able to get to where you are, and stabilize you long enough to get whatever is entrapped free?
Some rivers, have boulders that have undercuts, and potholes. A pfd is no gurantee of safe passage or easy exit if you get swept under an undercut boulder, or into a pothole in a boulder garden. With swimming skills, you may be to avoid these hazards by swimming aggressively to an area of safey before you encounter those hazards.
Most pfd that paddlers wear are "not" designed to keep your face out of the water if you get knocked out, or stunned.
Pfds are no gurantee that you will not be affected by hypothermia, and possibly drown. Swimming skills and a pfd might have gotten you out of the water & to shore "before" hypothermia occurred.
You are a swimmer, and are wearing a pfd. You capsize your canoe/kayak. A foot gets entangled in some gear, rope, whatever. The pfd will not guarantee that you will not be tacoed between the boat & a rock, tree, or root wad. A pfd will not guarantee you will not be swept over a water fall while attached to the kayak/canoe. Many waterfalls have hydraulics & strainers at the bottom.Think swimming skills might be handy if you can get loose from your boat? Is your pfd wearing, "non" swimming paddling partner going to swim out to where you are & assist you in getting free before you drown?
A pfd is no gurantee that you will not be drowned by someone you attempt to assist, if they are extremely panicky & aggressively trying to keep their head above water(perhaps because they "don't" have on a pfd, or can't swim). If you have a pfd on, and have some swimming skills you might be able to stay away out of their reach, and assist them "after" they calm down. Or you might be able to do a reaching assist in deep water; keeping a respectable distance from the panicked non swimmer. You should be wearing a pfd to do this; and if you are going into deep water you should be a swimmer too.
I have seen a large Labrador Retreiver nearly drown a young child wearing a pfd, in 4 feet of water. The child could not get the dog off of her & the dog was holding her underwater by putting it's front paws on her shoulders. A parent had to pull the dog off the child.
That's just a few examples of how you can drown with a pfd on.......but have no swimming skills.
Swimming skills assist you by allowing you to get to shore & out of harm's way, "before" you get into some of the scenario's described above.
You won't drown because you always paddle on slow moving rivers, close to shore, the weather is great, and you always wear your pfd?
More drownings occur in that type of scenario/venue than occur on whitewater. That's because most beginners, most non pfd wearing paddlers, most non swimming paddlers go paddling/floating........on what they think are the "safe" rivers.
Again, those are "just a few" examples.