Kayak Speed

On average, a beginner kayaker in moderate condition can paddle a 14 foot recreational kayak against current flowing _____ MPH/knots and not get swept out to sea and die.

On average, that paddler is toast.

Is this a question?
From my experience as a beginner, I could paddle the Tsunami 145 at an easy 4 mph for hours, at 4.5 for may be 1 hour without many breaks, and can burst to about 6 for short distances (not sure - hard to keep track precisely).

With less effort, a I seem to be doing about 25% better with my new P&H Outlander on cruising. And once I fix the darn seat (too small for me, really and not bad otherwise), I should be able to do this in hopefully at least the same comfort as in the Tsunami -:wink:

Speed vs Time
Many beginners can paddle quite fast for short distances but can they maintain that pace for and hour or more? Just because a person is physically fit does not always mean that they will have much paddling endurance. Where I live in North Florida coastal currents are 3+ knots when the tide is rolling in or out. I have many folks who want to visit Cumberland Island, Ga. Where we launch at Fernandina, Fl (Fort Clinch)it is less than a mile accross the St.Marys River. The tide charts say that it is only about a 3 knot current through there but the channel bouys are bent over throwing 4 foot rooster tails. Add a light breeze and 1-2 swells and you are pushing the safe limit for beginners. When we ferry across most beginners are worn out by the time we get to CI. I normally plan these trips so that the tide is coming in for the return trip so that if the beginner gets tired from paddling they won’t be going out to sea if they have trouble making the return trip.


Maybe skip the outgoing tide
It seems like it’d be a better idea to test paddling limits against an incoming tide while learning, as someone mentioned below.

I am guessing that this question is related to another above, and that you are trying to gauge where you should and shouldn’t go while you are basically learning in the Dirigo. Is that it? This may be easier to answer than the knots of current.

No meaningful number can be provided
Ocean currents are just no that predictable, and vary greatly in different spots just 10 yards apart. Your ocean paddling can seem easy for awhile, then you find your boat bing dragged backwards, or pushed from side to side so much that you can make little or no progress. Tides, rips, strange currents, the ocean floor, the shoreline, and the way winds cross different land features combine to create endless possibilities. The answer to the question is that if you think that it is an answerable question, then you should not ever be paddling on the ocean without someone much more experienced than yourself, who has the skills to rescue you if need be.

Yes, that is EXACTLY what I am trying to determin.

I second the answer 2
Beginner paddler, rec boat.

Ocean currents? Who says they will be 2?

I would bet most begginers could keep up 2 for a sustained effort. That means the current better be 1 or you aren’t going anywhere.

Really depends on some important factors
Boat control being the biggest, followed by weather, stroke and attitude and possibly not in that order. I think 2mph current should be ok. I would guess that the begginer could paddle appx. 3.1 mph for two miles and thus get to a point within that distance in 2 mph current. That begginer should not be alone and the partner should be wearing a tow line IMO. Bill

When I first started to paddle, and being in reasonably average shape and 43, I could maintain about 3 for quite a while. I suspect that if I were trying not to get swept out to sea, a person could maintain that for quite a while.

Beginners in rec boats…
… really have no business paddling ocean inlets (I did, and am basing my opinion on that and what I’ve seen since).

Simplest math I can offer.

2 is tough, 3 is a bi- - ch,
and four forget it and go with the flow!