Kayaks that are good in the bay

Hi. Basically a beginner kayaker, a little experience paddling on a creek. Any advice of how to know if a sit in kayak will work well in the bay? I’m looking at a Pelican Mustang X100, 10 ft long. Thanks!

Bay of Fundy? San Francisco Bay? Tampa Bay? This forum has members all across the US and other world wide places. You didn’t say where you were.

I don’t know the first two but Tampa Bay has enough sheltered near shore areas that the recreational kayak you mention would be acceptable on a good weather day near shore.

But a seakayak with a trained skilled paddler would be better.

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“Kayaks that are good in the bay” means different things to different people.

“in the bay” says to me you plan to be away from a close shoreline where you can easily swim to shore if need be. Is that correct?

Kayaks intended to be paddled in open water areas tend to be 15-17 ft long. with two or three airtight compartments for safety and a skeg (my preference) or rudder for maneuvering in windy conditions and/or waves.

The 10 ft kayak you are considering is a recreation kayak intended for quiet waters with a shoreline nearby in event you flip. I would never consider taking it further from shore than I am willing to swim when a capsize happens.

Here are a couple good videos from the “Learn” section of paddling dot com:

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A little more detail about where you paddle or would like to paddle would be helpful. As Overstreet mentioned, “the bay” is vague and can mean anything from a protected embayment to huge bodies of water with wind, boat traffic and strong currents.

In a nutshell, there are roughly two “flavors” of sit-inside kayaks. Short ones with no flotation or maybe flotation in the stern are OK for paddling in calm, protected conditions (I would add in warm water also) no further from shore than you can swim, since if you flip, that’s what you’ll have to do to empty the kayak - get close enough to shore to stand up and empty the kayak.

Longer sit-ins, those with two bulkheads, are capable of handling more challenging conditions, provided the paddler has the correct gear and skills. These kayaks range from 12-19+ feet. If storing or transporting a kayak of this length is not viable, then I would recommend sticking with a sit on top.

Here is a chart taken from this Sea Kayaking guide book on what craft are appropriate for what conditions.

Your kayak is a recreational class kayak and does not have enough flotation to do deep water rescues, so you should really stick to the Level 1 conditions for safety. If the area of the bay you plan to paddle matches this, you are good to go.


Thank you. Much smaller bay than those. lol. Barnegat Bay in New Jersey.

Thanks so much. It’s the Barnegat Bay in NJ. Always have shoreline in view but couldn’t necessarily swim to it where it’s widest.

Thank you. Can you see my responses to other people?

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Thanks…great resource!

Yes, we can see responses in the public forum.

Additionally, you should look for an ACA L1 - Intro to Kayaking class being offered in your area. It will up your paddling game tremendously and give more realist meaning for you to much that all of us have written. Safe paddling!

I would recommend a sea kayak for Barnegat and for general use in the area as the harbors and the tidal rivers are great for paddling but you want a kayak that can handle some sizable boat wakes and wind should it just kick up on you while you are out. They seem huge at first, but once you set them in the water and push off, they get very small :-). A sea kayak with a spray skirt and some skills development and you will be all set.

JSSKA if they still exist were a great group to paddle with and learn from.