Best plan of action????

You are in open water in your N D Explorer with all the safety gear and cockpit cover. Florida warm water and no current. You get stuck with a summer squall coming at you and you can’t reach shore (injured paddler in tow or something). Wind speed will be in excess of 50 mph for 15 minutes or so and it’s going to hit you like a brick wall. What would be the best things to do as you have 15 minutes to get in position to ride it out and end up with boat,paddle and a heart beat after it’s over??? You are not Nigel but you are no Edith Bunker either.


well now…
injured paddler in tow?

raft up with injured paddler and hold on. 50 knots is do-able. I might put the boats bow to stern, drop the skeg on the injured paddler’s boat so their boat would leecock turning the raft so I was upwind. might.

15 minutes? I’d make sure my camera was out and ready.


Raft up – but how?
That is, how would you keep the boats together? Would you use tow line or some other line? If so, how would you rig it?

I’d worry about holding the raft together purely by hand, especially with only one set of hands/body, assuming the injured paddler cannot help. But tying the boats together with lines also has risks.

Also, how much wave action can you expect? We may be assuming a lot, but quite a bit of Florida water is so shallow, at least in my limited experience, that the waves might not be quite the hazard we are assuming.

Cut him loose and surf!

Making assumptions
not knowing how bad the winds will be or how long they will last:

Realize you can’t beat Mother Nature. Just try and break even.

Mentally prepare the paddler in tow for the unexpected while paddlin’ on. Don’t stop paddlin’ or talkin’. Your confidence, control, and voice will be the most important factors and these will keep you focused.

Should the unexpected happen… deal with it in the same manner.

Paddlin’ on


Not Strong enough
Steve - if not strong enough ,then what??? Storms like this are common over here every summer day. What would a less skilled paddler do to save his ass. This isn’t Oregon drizzle,but very strong cold thunder storms!!

Dale - Stuck under Tropical Storm Fay and bored.

Safe option ???
Would getting out of the boat, stow paddle in cockpit , install cockpit cover, hang onto boat tow line and act as a sea anchor be an option???


Sea anchor/drogue might…

– Last Updated: Aug-20-08 4:41 PM EST –

... come in handy too - reducing the rag doll component, keeping you pointed up wind and more easily staying upright and in the kayak(s) AND from drifting as far.

If it was stupid hairy and you were over and out - and stuck there - then you'd become a sea anchor yourself as long as you could maintain a hold on the kayak(s) until it passes. The regular sea anchor could help ride it out like this too (warm water, so no biggie as long as you're not breathing sea water).

Of course, I don't carry one - but most of the time a squall wound just smash me into docks and seawalls if I couldn't get off the water or into a wind break (like a big ass condo complex or something) fast enough ;)


– Last Updated: Aug-21-08 7:30 AM EST –

"If" you think you are going to end up in the water it is always best to do it on your terms.

Arriving at the beach under these conditions will be the most dangerous part and may require you to part with the boats and swim ashore.

Paddlin' on

Maybe ouch?

– Last Updated: Aug-20-08 5:19 PM EST –

I have been out nearer shore on a day that the winds a little offshore were measured at high 40's w/gusts to low 50's (mph, not knots), just once. It was a very unusual day for that time of year. The wind had to be fairly substantial where we were, tho' no one measured it.

We ended up playing around in the cove after an attempt to go further out towards the point that I pulled the plug on. I was getting concerned about making it back again safely after we had blown all our energy just trying to get out. I learned that it is a bear to roll up against that kind of wind and probably an NFL linebacker could do a static brace as long as they picked the correct side.

Personally, I think 50 mph is not a reason to get out of the boat or risk separation. It could be quite dangerous to end up on the wrong side of a 60 lb boat too if a wave dumped you over. Granted paddling anywhere in particular is not something I can do in those winds, but if you maintain a low profile and just prepare to roll a lot you should be able to hang in there for 15 minutes as a solo boater.

The idea of a drogue to hold you pointed into the wind is a great idea, and you said you had 15 minutes to prepare? What do you carry in your day hatch that you could turn to that purpose, and do you carry line? I know it's a canoe thing, but I often have a line with plastic clips on each end in my rigging to use as a sorta painter when landing. I can think of odds and ends ideas like dumping out the contents of anything in a drybag, like my medical kit and sometimes my lunch is in one and filling them up with water, and using a thermos if I have the one with a handle on it, then running the painter thru the clips and the thermos handle to be a poor imitation of an anchor. I also wonder if you could get creative with whatever jacket you carry as a cag - tie it up somehow.

How you manage a compromised paddler as well, heck only knows. Best you can I guess.

Thanks Richard
I practiced in the storm yesterday in a safe zone just in case I get caught in unsafe zone someday. I can see myself in conditions like this often in Florida. I haven’t surfed downwind in high winds yet though.


Don’t Worry…
The Explorer reputedly will just “take care of you…” :slight_smile:


I would not get outta my boat. Too many bad outcome options.

Rafted up one strong paddle can hold 2 boats together in 50 knots. just lay over the other boat and hold on. If both paddlers lay over each others boat it all the better.

I HAVE rafted up in 50+ knots. It’s really not a big deal, even in our PNW drizzle.

Right now it’s sheeting rain and blowing 25-30 knots. pretty unusual for AUG!


za zing
I’ve long suspected flatpick was

just an arm-chair paddler, a poser

Keep it all together.
Getting out of the boat presents a huge set of risks. My rule is to never get out of the boat if it can at all be avoided. In a squall like this, you’ve got to keep all your stuff together. If you stow your paddle and get out of the boat… you risk your boat and/or paddle getting loose and blowing away from you.(or any other necessary gear like paddle float, pump, etc.)

Keep it all together and stay in the boat, 15 minutes of excitement, and then you are on your way again. If you get separated from your paddle or boat, well then you’re going to be in a bind for the next few hours.

Also, if I had time and thought that I might end up out of the boat. I would prepare by tethering myself to my boat. I would also tether any other essentials to the boat… paddles, paddle float, pump, etc.

Apocalypse Now
When things get tough, I always think of the Martin Sheen quote from ‘Apocalypse Now’: “Never get out of the boat. Absolutely &%$#& right.”

Safe practice is good
but you have to press your limits and get into those “Oh shit” moments to really learn what a crisis situation is like.

A crisis is dealing with something when you don’t have control.

Be safe

Paddlin’ on


Florida Weather
No offence Steve- served in the Coast Guard on the Chetco and Rogue Rivers. Florida summer weather is created by hot land, Atlantic and Gulf sea breezes. Everyday the purple monster storm can sneak up on you. 15 minutes and the gates of hell unload on you-high wind, lightning strikes, hail,horizonal rain, and tight wind chop.15-30 minutes later, it’s just rain and lightning. An average paddler will have panic set in,pulse rate 200, cramped arms and back, loss of hope. Then bad things happen.


How big is the water going to get ??
… the first thing on my mind would be to cinch up the life vest . Next , secure all that needs securing . Next would be to bridge up the two boats with the paddles and ropes , focusing on the nessesity to “not” roll over sideways …

A VHF mayday could be in order here due to the injured other .

Dale - What’s your point? Are you saying that staying in the boat is not a good option for the average paddler?