I don’t “ALWAYS” wear my PFD and I sometimes paddle alone.
I know these are the definitive “musts” of paddling. However, “definitives” don’t account for the almost endless variables and situations that include “paddling”.
Yesterday was a perfect example of when paddling, I didn’t wear a PFD. My wife and I took a canoe to a local lake for some paddling and swimming. It was hot, and the water was warm, and we knew that swimming was part of the plan. We spent 3 hours at the lake, and split the time almost in half between in the boat and in the water. A PFD was not called for nor necessary.
Now to the paddling alone. I love being out in nature and enjoy the solitude it affords me. I have done numerous trips canoeing, biking and hiking solo. While I’m not totally against traveling with others, the enjoyment I find solo is different and simply not possible with a group. The self-sufficiency, independence and solitude makes going solo IMO worth the “risk”.
One final note, I never cross the Definitive lines at the same time. I always wear my PFD when paddling alone.
Not trying to stir controversy (there will be some for sure), just conversation. Perhaps some will consider that some situations, desires and individual capabilities allow for some “coloring outside the lines”.