This segment concerns two user groups, SUP paddlers and e-foilers.
Of those I saw doing those activities yesterday, only one had a PFD with him (he wore it). In my state, boaters only need to keep one readily available, yet the SUP and e-foil people yesterday didn’t even have one on board, except for the guy mentioned above.
Frankly, I’m not a huge fan of requiring PFDs across the board, but I always wonder if the often-minimally-clothed people on these devices know how to swim. Some of the SUP people wore bathing suits, at a time when the water temp has been noticeably cooling. Most of them SIT while paddling, and many are toting a dog.
One guy was chilled enough he had his shirt’s hood on, yet there was no PFD on his body or on the board. And he had a dog on it.
Meanwhile, neither e-foiler had a PFD on board or on body, though they did wear wetsuits. I wonder if they could swim. Several weeks ago, one e-foiler had his battery die while out there and when he fell off, he got bloodied from hitting part of the device. I assume that one was able to swim to shore, at least.
If Darwinism is allowed to take its effect, fine. What I worry about most is the Powers That Be deciding that some idiots must mean ALL paddlers are idiots and therefore, should be either banned as a class or required to be accompanied by a friggin’ powerboat as “safety.”
There is no lifeguard, no ranger patrol, and obviously no enforcement of state boating laws. People must think “someone will rescue me” despite the obvious lack of monitoring.
IMO and I have been studying this same problem locally here in NWPA for a while and my opinion is the “Powers to be” are not much smarter than the folks on the water.
A couple weeks back I watched 501 rec-kayaks and old canoes launch into our river for a 6-8 hour float that goes on every year and is sponsored by the fire department the people called on to fish people in trouble out throughout the year and also 5-6 CG people doing “Safety Checks”. Things like having a whistle and a reflective patch on your paddle and of course an old worn out PFD stuffed up under the deck that appears to have never been worn. Almost every boat had a large cooler of adult beverages none of the powers to be questioned.
A few weeks before that we had our county fair and the people on the river council had a big display along with the fish and boat commission in another building and they had tons of information and nothing much pertaining to waterway safety. I talked to one woman about we canoe a great deal on the river and she said she wanted to but her paddle board had a large fin as she put it and worried about the shallow spots. So here she is representing the waterway and when asked she admitted she was never on it. She was well versed on the plants and animals in the water, but when I commented on people being out not dressed for immersion in the warm spring months she seemed like it was the first she thought about that. The fish and boat table I went by several times over the week of the fair and I never saw a person there but I helped myself to stuff they had there.
I’m beginning to believe the powers to be are not the solution to the problem at least here and don’t seem like they will be getting tough anytime soon.
One thing I was impressed with on the river float is the parents of younger kids had their kids wearing PFDs even though the parents were nowhere to be seen.
They never think they’ll need rescue.