N65 XO13 Kayak on Long Island Sound

Purchased this new from Dick’s Sporting Goods for $530 (got really lucky!)

Added an Aqua Bound hybrid paddle from Ebay

I am new to kayaking. Recently took my first long kayak excursions on the Nissiquoque River on Long Island NY that empty out into the Long Island sound. Its approximately 5 miles long in each direction. I been warned to be careful watching the low tides to be stranded in muddy bottom. I did some short trips first and its mostly if not all calm water for the whole ride on this river. I did two full round trips in about ~3.5 (11.6 miles in total) hours averaging 3.5-4mph according to my iphone riding with the water currents. Going against the currents in both directions, i was averaging ~2.8mph. Checked the weather always before going out knowing the wind speed (keeping it under 10mph) and tide levels.

I always have a thick life jacket on. I can’t swim. Have a bilge pump and thinking of getting a marine radio. Been going through various message forum posts etc about rec boat vs sea kayak etc. Is this kayak safe to be used in the Long Island Sound? It does have two bulkhead. And is this sport ok for someone that can’t swim but would love to venture out onto the open water around Long Island. I don’t want to be limited to riding around only on small lakes or on short trips. Interested in joining up with other folks for longer excursions. I have done multiple short 1 hour trips at the busy Port Jefferson harbor.

Solve the swimming thing if you want to gain any of the skills of more solid sea kayaking. It will be a drag on your ability to progress. Seen it happen.

YMCA has traditionally offered adult swimming classes at two levels. Can’t swim at all, second level is can dog paddle enough to avoid total panic.

My husband and l took out a nonswimmer one time, on a larger local lake. He decided to try a brace or some such, wearing his pfd, in about 3 feet of water he could have stood in. Damn near drowned because he panicked. That was when we imposed a no nonswimmer rule for paddling w us.

ok will do to see to try learning to swim again. I have taken a few adult swimming classes and owned a 7 ft deep IG pool for several years. I can float around and stay in the deep end for a few minutes but always struggle eventually. I don’t think I will panic when in the water but I still classify myself as a non-swimmer. Planning to test re-entry and flooding my boat maybe this weekend at shore in 4ft water to see how I do.

You also need to add a sprayskirt if you are going to paddle offshore. I agree you should not be venturing into open water on Long Island Sound unless you can swim. You don’t mention your size (height and weight). 13’ is a marginal length for sea kayaking unless you are a small to medium person. I don’t care to get out in coastal waters in anything less than 15’.

Point 65 markets this as a recreational boat for
“day touring”. LIS is the ocean. You would be OK in the sheltered bays with this if you are not too heavy and are properly dressed and equipped (and once you know you can swim to shore if you can’t regain your boat.).

I paddled around some of the areas along the Connecticut side of LIS 18 years ago using a similar boat (13’ 8" and 25" beam). From Norwalk in the west to the Thimble Islands east of Branford, there are sheltered inlets and near shore island groups to explore las well as interesting places like the delta of the Housatonic river. But I would NOT take a boat that size out farther than I know I could swim to shore.

Also be mindful of water temperatures. Water colder than 70F is not safe for submersion without protective clothing and LIS barely gets there in the summer and by Fall is in the 60s, heading for the 50’s and then 40’s by winter. You can quickly become exhausted and have trouble with muscle control if you capsize without a wetsuit or dry wear in deep water that is in the 50’s or 60’s, even the 70’s if you are tired or out of shape.

Also familiarize yourself with marine rules and regulations because you will be sharing the waters with larger and commercial boats. Best to get some formal instruction from an outfitter or join a group that offers that sort of thing and only go out with experienced people who know what they are doing and can teach you.

God bless! If you did much reading here you would know most experienced people here would tell you you’re way over your head. Pun intended.

You shouldn’t go out alone and you should stay in lakes and rivers. Small bays can be treacherous and conditions can change no matter what the weatherman says.

Water temps are dropping already as stated above. Getting in that boat in water that put you out in the first place will be impossible. Not being able to swim you’ll not get in the boat. You’ll be separated from it in short order because you’re not comfortable in the water.

You can get sucked out of rivers and sheltered bays easy to open water.

I was out a day or two ago in 22 mph wind and going against the current. Sea kayak 21" x 19’ big carbon fiber paddle 12+ years of paddling experience paddling fairly hard. I was paddling at a pace I could sustain for a good while. It was still more than any newbie could do. Map my run was calling out 2.1 mph as I have it set at close interval’s.

Few years ago guy and his son got pulled out to the LIS from the very river you’re in. Young father who has now left his son forever. Few more accidents recently also with fatalities on LI.

Most people here with experience wouldn’t even go out with a non-swimmer in any bay. Thick life jacket doesn’t work miracles. Sorry to rain on your parade. Spend this off season learning how to swim. The season is really over for rec kayakers unprotected in two weeks. The season really is June 1st to Sept 21 in my opinion historically.

If you must go out stay in the upper ends of LI rivers, lakes, and go with a group or a person with experience. Two ounces of water in your lungs you can drown.

That bilge pump may be a bugger to get out in an emergency. (if that is where and how you secure it)

As to the boat and you and offshore - PaddleDog has it. He paddles the area and knows what will or won’t work.

But the boat you have is fine for getting started and staying in safe areas. It is just that what constitutes a safe area may be more sheltered than you realize right now not having gained experience paddling those waters yet. That is just getting to know an area for paddling, and when you start talking about going offshore it can take some time to learn it. I am a much safer paddler in most of Muscongus Bay in Maine than I would be in Casco because I have paddled there for so long, I know a lot more ways to get out of harm’s way if needed than I would elsewhere.

Not at all guaranteed. Finding oneself upside down wearing a kayak can be a shock. Panic and asperating water does happen. For your first tries at wet exits you really should have someone standing by who can roll you & the kayak up if needed. Don’t start using a sprayskirt until you are very comfortable with skirtless wet exits and then start over from scratch with the skirt.

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No LIS is not the ocean. I lived there for 17 years on the CT shore and the wave patterns on LIS are very different from the ocean. I actually started kayaking on LIS in a Aquaterra Keowee which is under ten feet. Ihad a spray skirt for it which was not surprising not that effective due to the large cockpit. I paddled from the East RIver to the Thimbles three times a week and back. Short boats are very good for building stamina. LIS used to have lobster and no longer does as the water is not cold anymore. My family still lives there and the water temp is close to 45 in the winter and 75 in the summer. There is little commercial shipping on LIS close to shore where you should kayak ( assuming you will not be exploring the New Haven harbor) but there are tons of careless unseeing rec powerboaters. And fishermen in motor cruisers.

The hazards on LIS are mainly sudden storms and not watching the effects of wind and tide. More than one person has had the USCG looking for them because they took off across the Sound thinking they could make it back. A wind from the North with an incoming tide can make the view from the north very deceiving. If the tide changes to outgoing you cannot get back. One dude was in a sea kayak. He left Old Saybrook I believe and wound up in Greenport. He failed to notify anyone he was ok and family called the CG. The missing person alert was on the news and the paddler saw the news from his motel room. Needless to say the CG was not amused.

Also beware the Race. It doesn’t matter what boat you are in, it is a problem with 4 knot current.

Oh and me and my rec boat stayed just a little offshore maybe 300 yards. Getting too close to shore with the many seawalls can be dangerous with reflecting waves and clapotis. I always wanted to paddle to Faulkners Island and I did but somethng told me back in those 1980s that my little boat was not the tool. I got a Prijon Sea Yak in 1989 or so and paddled out to Faulkners many times with company.
You will be fine with your boat as long as you don’t start out crossing LIS alone right from the get go. ( I did that once, We had four people three kayaks-one a big tandem . And a windless day in August where rolling to cool off was a need)

You will notice that the currents on LIS are not negligible being it is an estuary and not the ocean. I often consulted current tables; even though the tidal range is only 6 feet or so.

I don’t think I will panic when in the water but I still classify myself as a non-swimmer.

On the water you can’t suppose you have to know your limits and stay well shy of them.

Nice hull you can do a lot with vs a SOT and other rec kayaks. Swimming lessons and you’ll enjoy it so much more not being apprehensive. You need not be Olympic swimmer. You do need to be comfortable able to take few waves over your head and make forward motion.

Was in the Sound with a few others by Norwalk Islands. Storm blew in heavy winds and rain. I was in my 22’ Libra XT. My partner was in the front. We landed at the park for a while. Back out and it was still kicking butt. Partner not big on edging so when I went to edge to turn she fought it. I had to paddle all my might to turn even with a big rudder. She’s screaming are we going to be alright. I yelled “F’in paddle don’t worry waters warm. We have two cells, two VHF radios and three other boats.” Sky was black over Long Island and there were funnel clouds later confirmed on the news. The Sound is big I raced offshore boats there. You can get steep faced fast period breaking waves there. You can easily get 6’+ at times. Swells are no big deal you float over them curling breaking waves can flip or pound you.

To me it was a great day and exciting. Prepare for the rest of your life paddling great sport learn to swim and be pessimistic. Enjoy.


Semantics. Seacoast is seacoast is ocean. My guide/mentor on the two weeks there was a Fairfield based career kayak fishing guide, offshore sailing master instructor for years and licensed boat captain (who ferried clients’ yachts from Chicago to Florida via the Great Lakes, Ste. Lawrence and Atlantic coast). I’m only repeating what he explained to me about LIS and what cautions should be taken while he was introducing me to coastal kayaking there.

sorry I disagree and spent 17 years paddling LIS year round as I actually lived there. We helped found ConnYak and that club paddled many ocean venues as well as LIS in those years. The Gulf of Maine and the Cape Ann area and Long Island Sound are vastly different.
I am not engaging you in one upsmanship. Our club did a lot of training introducing sea kayaking to members and encouraging them to develop skills to safely play on the open ocean.

“I am new to kayaking”

Welcome. I’m new to this forum and there’s lots of good advice above. I’d add two more pieces of advice that have kept me alive: Go Slow into a new activity and Take Lessons.

Don’t be in a rush with a new boat to go into unfamiliar circumstances, whether it’s water, weather or people. Take your time to get the proper gear and get really acquainted with your boat. You don’t want to be figuring out the quickest way to turn it when a boat is bearing down on you in the Sound or the weather turns crappy. Take lessons. There’s always something to learn or improve on even if you have experience. Lessons will help with confidence, too.

I am not a strong swimmer. When I started kayaking I was literally petrified of capsizing because I thought I had to be able to swim some random number of miles. I took a lesson and told the coach of my fear. First thing he had me do was tip my boat way over to the side to prove to myself that a kayak is actually pretty stable. Then I dunked the side of my head, then my torso, then flipped upside down. 30 minutes of baby steps to prove to myself that I wouldn’t drown if I kept my wits and followed instructions. The most important lesson I ever took. You don’t have to be an olympic swimmer but you have to be able to save your own butt if you get spit out of the boat, and you have to know how not to lose the boat! You want/need that lesson in a controlled environment, not in the middle of the Sound. You should also learn to swim better; the fact that you mentioned it twice indicates that it’s a concern for you.

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Thanks everyone. I’m definitely approaching the sport in baby steps. I think I have read all the kayak drowning / accidents within the NYS/Long Island area and reports elsewhere in the last 20 years to understand the hidden dangers of the sport. I will not be going into LI Sound anytime then! I suspect I may never go deep into LIS because learning swimming has not been natural to me but going to try again. I was only thinking of kayaking within 100-200 yards from the LIS shore line. No plan for now to go across the LIS to CT but that would be a nice long term dream to work towards. For now I will stick to all the popular rental tourists area in protected water.

200 yards offshore with the right wind and current can be a problem. Don’t get complacent. Some say I’m only going next to the shore then they can’t get back or are pulled along the shore. Be safe enjoy!

Re to ocean or not -
Most people figure ocean means salt water, and this post is coming from someone with no background to discern difference in water movement between one body of salty stuff and another. Let alone handle anything tricky regardless of what the place they are paddling is called.
I suspect just figuring out where he can safely take this boat is plenty complicated for him.

I’m with Kayamedic, (and probably know him by accident)
I spend a lot of time on the Sound, keep my sailboat in Stratford.
The Sound is it’s own animal, wind direction and tides cause all kinds of fun things to happen. They say if you can sail in the sound you can sail anywhere.
I have done the “Swim across the sound” as a kayak escort/safety and conditions ranged from flat to swells to chop with mixed current.

I have been kayaking/sailing 45 and some years now, and the only place I can ever say I was scared the storm was going to break the boat was on the sound.

I strongly suspect you do not know kayamedic…

The discussions about the Sound being its own critter indicate it has uniquely difficult patterns of storm events, funky wave patterns and tidal effects. All of which are conditions that indicate a newer kayaker should not be well offshore there. Which is the same thing that people who call it the ocean are saying.

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