Day Time Visability

I was out this weekend and was almost ran over by a powerboat during the day. They did not see me until the last minute, swerved, and missed me by about 8 feet.

My Tarpon 160 SOT is yellow as is most of my gear. I wear white shirt and pants.

Anything else I can do to increase daytime visibility? Someone mentioned putting reflective tape on the ends of my paddle shaft and the boat. Checked West Marine and it is very expensive. Does it help much during the day? Any other ideas?

Didn’t see you?
Didn’t see you til the last moment??? They weren’t looking. More than a few powerboaters are not paying attention to where their boats are going. Some big boats on big water are using gps navigation and their “Captains” are paying less attention than ever to the water around them. Be ready to get out of their way; hopefully you can. Reflective tape and anything else like your yellow boat, a bright PFD or blaze orange hat should help, but only if someone’s looking.

Maybe he did
There are a few sphincters out there who get a chuckle out of deliberately “buzzing” small boats.

if the powerboater didn’t see ya with a yellow boat what else can ya do? Too many boaters don’t understand they need to be looking around consantly. Were they pulling a skier? Be careful out there, unfortunately your right of way as a smaller non motorized craft is more of a suggestion than a right.

Bottom O’ The Food Chain

– Last Updated: Jul-05-04 12:52 PM EST –

Even though we have every right to be on the same water ways as the big boys its worth remembering that we will always lose in an intanglement with a power boat.

I go out of my way to stay out of busy boating lanes. IIf I do have to cross the lanes I go as straight and swiftly as possible and make sure that others see me. A waved paddled makes a great indicator.

People often think that a bright colored boat equals better visiblity. In reality even a small ammount of chop will make a kayak dissappear to other boaters. In 1' waves you will usually see a kayakers paddle first, then their torso, but you can often tell if they are smiling or nor before you'll see the boat color.

Another great solution is to paddle in shallower areas or No Wake Zones.

Thankfully I now guide on a very rocky river system that prevents most power boats from being on the water. Every time a client gets frustrated by hitting a rock I tell them to say my favoriye river prayer "Thank the gods that a Jet Ski can't be here"

They yelled at me.
I think they were drunk because of the way they sounded when they started yelling at me when they went by. It seems some of the power boaters think the lake is only for drunk power boaters.

They did not hit me so everything is all right. I just want to try to prevent a hit if I can. I do stay close to shore but have to cross. I was trying to stay close to bigger slow moving power boats and they saw these but not me. Reminds me of when I had a motorcycle and some other drivers just did not see me because they were looking for cars.

I know stobes are only for emergencies but I consider myself on the lake an emergent situation. I doubt if it is enforced here anyway. Can strobes be seen during the day?

Someone said the best is reflective tape at the ends of the paddle because they go high in the air and are moving. Do these work during the day?

How about a Securite (?sp) announcement on channel 16 before a crossing?

daytime paddle blades are #`1

– Last Updated: Jul-05-04 1:40 PM EST –

big bright orange tape on you blade ends. bright yellow is also good. white would be the second best for lakes looking at a paddler fron a distance this is by for the most visible thing.

PFD color is #2 mine is yellow! You mentioned shirt color. If you were wearing a foam pfd there is not much shirt showing. Think yellow, bright yellow (or bright orange) or face additional risk. Some folks opt for lower visibility colors; that't their business, but don't do it without thinking.

You were there. if you think they wer drunk, they were probably drunk (every american's right to drive a motorized vehicle drunk during the fourth of July hoiday weekend) and, if they really did not see you frightened and guilty after they did.

Boat color might be a larger factor fron a big, big boat or a helicipter but the boat is so low to the water.

A jetskiier got 30 days for buzzing a kayaker twice in really cold water (40 degrees), once during reentry after the first pass caused capsize. If the paddler had not been dressed for immersion the second pass could have killed him.

Blind or Buzzing
Everyone else is dead on. Visibility only goes so far. The other boaters have to be looking.

Nothing you can do will help if they’re not paying attention - or if they like trying to hit you with max wake - but you do what you can anyway.

Right of way, rules of the road, and other guidelines and regulations are useful for commercial operators and lawyers - not paddlers. Don’t rely on anyone following them but you.

I ALWAYS assume they are not (though the vast majority are)- and paddle accordingly (as if I’m invisible). So far I’ve had no problems (but like you said - they didn’t hit you - or flip you in a high traffic spot - so even a close encounter is usually no problem).

For me, I almost prefer when they don’t see me. Much easier to judge speeds and distances when they’re not maneuvering all over the place trying to get around me as they tend to badly misjudge my speed (which tends to keep them on a collision course). Usually better if they just hold course.

I’m in heavy traffic areas a lot - but at least there are marked channels, etc. I feel for you inland lake/large river boaters with the free for all operation that can go on there.

Contrary to the usually color advice, I notice I am given more room and treaded more like another boat now since I switched from a bright plastic boat to a lt grey over white one (also from white paddle blades to black - so two major decreased in visibility). I’m similar colors to the other boats and get treated like them - not a pool toy. Sort of relates to a comment Peter_K had in the the MA area anti-kayak attitude thread. My gear looks pretty serious now with a long narrow sea kayak, orange PDF, black paddles. Obviously not first timer or rental gear - so people assume I know what I’m doing. I did not get the same reaction in my Iguana green SOT. In that they seemed either amused by me or irritated like I was in their way (never was).

reflective tape will help
I have neon green and bright yellow paddles which really help but little will overcome a boater not paying attention, you say the reflective tape is expensive but how expensive would be a trip to the hospital? a 3by 3 square on each side would help tremendously. I commercially fish ,so I powerboat almost every day.but there is a time and a place for everything;common sense ,slowing down in traffic areas is necessary always. perhaps a lisc to drive a powerboat should be mandantory

Maybe you should keep a small air
horn at the ready and blast away if you see them headed for you? Still leaves you with the chance of blind siding but its one more way to try and protect yourself.

the eco horn is very nice

– Last Updated: Jul-05-04 4:52 PM EST –

does not corrode can be recharged at sea if conditions are not so bad gives 30 or so blasts per charge. Pygmy also has a really nice breath powered horn, large but you can still cary in in a pocket. After b nystrom's recent demo of flat whistles, fox forties, storm whistles and this horn, I'm buying a couple. (one for the wife)).

Easier to paddle out of the way…
…than it is to stay put and mess with a horn!!!

Safer too. If they’re coming that close - I want BOTH HANDS ON THE PADDLE!

Expecting the other boat to be 100% responsible for changing course, assuming they’ll even hear your horn (wind’s in their ears and even if not they can’t hear to well ahead) - is to me, a very odd thing to choose to do. You are responible for your safety, no one else. Why be passive when you can be proactive?

Unless you are incapacitated, manuverabilty is your best defense. You normally only need hold, back paddle, or sprint a VERY short distance (your own boat length) to avoid a collision.

If you have time to put down the paddle to get and use the horn - you have plenty to move that far. If not, horn won’t help anyway. Your going to have to bail or spin around parallel and try to have their wake push you to the side. Anything but getting pushed under them.

most power boaters won’t hear a horn anyway. Heck I had trouble getting em to hear our 180 db. siren. If crash is unavoidable I suggest trying to dive if you can , a prop blade will slice you open. Of course diving w/ a Pfd is almost impossible .

as a former SC paddler
most inland power boaters have no concept of the rules of the road. DNR, and other authorities, typically do not monitor VHF. Nor would your typical boater. I have taken my VHF and heard only static on all SC lakes that I have paddled.

It is your responsibility to be conspicuous and paddle predictably and in accordance with the regulations. Even then, be fully willing and able to quickly relinquish your rightful position to those less in the know.

I also strive to establish and maintain respect from all other boaters by being organized at the put-in and take out, wait my turn, and do it all quickly. Take a local safe boating course and meet some responsible power boaters and learn what your rights and responsibilities are.

I didn’t know it was loaded
"…you can be proactive."

You could carry a flare gun and it could always go off accidentally in their direction.

Hey neo-sc…
You have got to learn the rules and regulations of the NC/SC lakes for the weekends.

On the weekends the lakes belong to the bubbas, and everyone of them that has a boat is out there, and they are all drinking.

Rule no. 1 is you are fair game if you are in the middle of the lake.

They have added an addendum that they have to leave you alone if you are within fifty feet of the shore or are in a secluded cove.

Addendum no. 1.1 is if they want to swim in that secluded cove, they have the right to buzz you.

My rule is keep the hell off the lakes on the weekend. If you can’t get out during the week than stay fairly close to the shore where it is more dangerous for them to be flying, and paddle in and around all the smaller coves and bays.

Their main goal in life is speed and drinking, and they could care less about you, which means you have to take care of yourself.

Thank God there are still places like the Boundary Waters, the 10,000 Island area of Fla, and a lot of other secluded places where you can escape from the idiots of the world.

You might check around for places where power boats are banned. Some do exist.

My favorite is Price Lake on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is a very small lake, but they only allow paddle craft on it.



Being seen…
The first two seasons I paddled I thought power boaters -especially those folks in the 16’-18’ powerboats were out to get me…I mean…here I was with a red kayak and a yellow pfd and cap and white blades on the paddle…how could they NOT see me?!

Third year out I was out with some friends on Lake Ontario (calm day…almost flat surface)on their 24’ fishing boat. Bright sun late afternoon and…we damn near ran four kayakers over. In certain lighting conditions we kayakers either appear as floating logs or don’t appear at all.

I’ve stood on the breakwall and looked out on the inner harbor here in Buffalo and could barely make out a kayaker as he headed straight toword me. The guy was less than a football field in distance away before I could descern it was a kayaker …and yes, he was paddling.

I’m not defending powerboaters or owners of waterlice…I’m simply saying:Having been on both sides of the issue, I truly think we paddlers have to operate under the mentality that “they can’t see us” and stay alert at all times.

During the last WaterTribe Evergldas Challenge I carried a red flag (together with a white light for night paddling) on a fishing rode mounted on the back deck of my Sea Wind. Of course, I was trying to avoid boat channels, but it was not always possible when paddling ICW. You can see my setup on pictures and video from EC-2004:

Could you give more info on the whistle/horn comparison? Blowing them in the store never seemed like a good idea…

Storm whistle can

– Last Updated: Jul-06-04 11:28 AM EST –

barely be heard over mild surf. In my opinion it is the minimal audible signal device for advanced paddlers. (and no, the fact that I have one does not make me one)

Horn fron pygmy is much louder. Like way louder, like an entirely different category.

Eco horn is louder still but in the same category as the pygmy horn, and takes only one or two fingers to use. If you wanted to, you could keep the bottle in the cockpit and the trigger above deck, routing the hose between coaming and skirt. I am not sure that the hose would not compress due to skirt pressure though, never done it. If it does compress I'm sure work arounds are possible.

flat whistles do not even get it in conditions.