Distress Noodle

Hi. I often kayak in a marsh. A friend (who is a diver) suggested I get an inflatable distress noodle like divers use. It apparently floats upright and makes locating a distressed diver (paddler in a marsh) much easier to find. I would like to get one but cannot find any information on them. (My friend lives in Australia so no help here.) Thanks!

Search amazon.com
Called a scuba tube, turns up a few choices.

SCUBA shop
Readily available at local SCUBA shop, along with amazon info above.

That said, not sure many kayakers carry these, but instead carry things like flares, VHF radios, etc. If you are still with your kayak when you need to be found, the kayak would be seen way before the a 6’ x 6" tube would. And if you aren’t but still have your paddle, holding your paddle vertically would give much that same visibility as the tube would. Get a paddle made of brighter colors and it can do double duty. Throwing your paddle float (assuming bright color) on the blade would give even more visibility.

Thank you.
Thanks so much for the help.

Thank you.
Hi Peter. Thanks so much for the great advice. I think you’re absolutely right; my boat is very bright green and my paddle is bright yellow. I’m very grateful.

Who would see it?
In shallow marsh you or the boat would likely be as visible as any kind of floatie thing. It is a neat idea for big expanses of open water, and not so dissimilar to stuff like dye that sea kayakers might carry. But in a marsh, not so sure you wouldn’t get more out of a good waterproof case for our cell phone. Or flares if no service.

Depends on what you’re used to
For me, “marsh” means the waterway is surrounded by dry grass 6 to 8 feet tall in a twisty maze of channels possibly 3 feet wide.

If expecting rescue from on the water I can see the benefit of having a vertical signal marker and would not dream of lighting a flair.

Safety Sausage
Also google “safety sausage”…


Second Question:
If someone sees it, who will know what it means? If I were some distance away and saw a such a marker sticking up out of the water, I’d think, “I wonder what that thing is” and continue on my way. I think most boaters would do the same. The method works for divers because there’s a support boat right there when the marker pops up, and the folks on board know what it means.

Are you expecting that you might get lost or injured and need to call for help on your phone? Then I could see the use, but most of the things that can happen to you when paddling quiet water can easily be your own responsibility to fix (though maybe you have some health issue we don’t know about).

Do you carry a cell phone?
If so, get the USCG mobile app and enable location services.


Available for iOS and Android. You can file a float plan, give precise information about your boat (including providing a photo to the Coasties). Location services are in play only when app is being used and pinpoints your precise location, which will be transmitted to the USCG should you need emergency help.

your nearest pool supply store

wouldn’t people just think you’re diving