Night Paddling

I have a battery operated stern and bow light… I think it would be really cool out on a calm lake at night looking at the stars. Anyone have a night paddle story? (remember, family site…lol)

Why not do your night paddling on the
Discussion Forum, where it belongs? People here occasionally have real issues, boats to fix, techniques to perfect.

Anyway, night paddling just makes them whimper and sniffle when they need to be sleeping.

I was out on Tomales Bay (northern CA) last weekend. Launched in daylight, stopped on a beach to make dinner, and paddled back in darkness. Lots of bioluminescence in the water, which was great to see.

I’m not a forum cop, so I don’t care
where you post your question.

I love night paddling. I don’t have a ‘story’ but here is a picture:

Same here
enjoy a nice night time paddle on a full moon night.

One of the best ones was in the Florida Keys when a group of us headed out into Largo sound to do a combined -watch the sunset and then watch the moon rise.

We toasted the moon with margaritas as we sat a solved the problems of the world !

jack L

sometimes its the only time to paddle. Especially this year. Been quite windy in the North so we mostly night paddled a couple of weeks ago.

So as to assuage the cop on the beat…keep the bow light shielded from your eyes. Otherwise it will ruin your night vision. There is nothing worse than paddling to an island and having forty people shine lights to “help” you. You lose track of the rocks that are between you and the shore.

My bad. Dropped it in the wrong section. I will have to wait till I have a real issue.

Snowstorms too

Paddle leash:
The one time I like to use one. Yes, I carry a second paddle, but I don’t want to lose one, either. Light stick in the hull can often keep you in sight of each other without destroying your night vision.

moon illuminated beaver splash
is what stays in my mind from paddling in the moonlight on Ox Bow Bend in the Tetons. Fortunately nobody else around to worry about things like bow/stern lights (and no motors allowed). The other VERY cool thing was that the water was so still that the sky was perfectly reflected in the water – seemed like paddling in one seamless space of sky above and below – until a leaf would float by almost startling me back to a realization that I was floating on water just a few inches away. Note: no mind altering substances necesary.

northern lights

– Last Updated: Sep-14-10 12:00 PM EST –

Almost tipped my boat gazing up at them.

Another funny story: crossing under a bridge at night, I knew there would be fishermen so I turned on my headlight - and scared the crap out of the fisherman standing under the bridge!

Someone else here suggested getting out during the next meteor shower. I plan on doing so.

Sand Island
Camped at Sand Island in the Apostles a couple of years ago, and actually did go out for a night paddle - usually they’re only discussed…

We watched the last bit of light on the horizon up by the lighthouse, then paddled back in the dark with the Milky Way overhead. Pretty amazing.

Like it
though I don’t do it as often as perhaps I should.

In the interest of keeping it within the realm of “advice, suggestions, and general help”, I’d advise and suggest getting a headlamp with a red LED if you don’t already use one. Often you’ll want to just get a glimpse around you or locate something in the boat and might not want to be seeing afterimage dots for the next five minutes. That red LED is great for that. A white headlamp will illuminate nothing in the world more effectively than your own hands and arms as you paddle. Not so much there to look at really…

If you paddle at night with others, paddle with folks who are capable of occasionally being quiet. Avoid night paddling with political partisans and religious zealots. Also those who have been involved throughout the day in building repair projects.

I don’t care as much for night paddling if there are motorboats about. They often don’t see us as quickly as we might feel comfortable with in broad daylight. At night I’m even more uncomfortable with them about. Paddle defensively. If you must paddle at night with motorboats, stay where they’d have to run through tree stumps, shallow flats, or rock shoals to hit you. At least here in Wisconsin, I assume they’re drinking.

I’d advise that when you get to that calm spot, away from road noise, motor boats, houses, etc., lay back in your boat with your lights off. Note the moonlight on the water. Look straight up at the Milky Way. Watch the clouds pass over the moon. Listen for frogs, owls, insects. Feel the hull rock and the wavelets lap.

If on an easy river try navigating by sound. Listen for rocks. Its magical. One of the best parts of paddling.

I’m always tempted to use my PFD as a pillow. That’s probably unwise, though it hasn’t always stopped me. A swim at night is a possibility and it really is better to be awake at the helm in any event.

Leave a chem light burning at the landing if you’re in a hurry to get back in. Or if you’re in a more adventurous mood and on a lake, see how close to your original put-in you can come using only a compass and/or the pole star.

Very nice paddling experiences to be had that way. I hope this generally helps.

I was at Tomales earlier this summer for a evening/night paddle…absolutely beautiful and love to take new paddlers there. Put in at Hearts Desire, shot photos, had a tailgate wine/cheese (actually humus) party…one of those must paddle locations for certain.

You have a motor on your boat ?
If not you don’t and shouldn’t be showing a white bow light. A red and green bow light only would denote a boat under sail. Just a lantern to show when needed aka flashlight is what you need.

Much mis-information is handed out on these boards. Take a boating class. You might actually learn a thing or two.

There is no law agains a white bow light
Paddle craft can use one or more white lights placed anywhere on the boat, since all that is actually required by law is a white light which can be “displayed in time to prevent a collision”. Some folks here make the point that a proper red/greed bow light along with a white stern light makes it clear that you are indeed a boat, but others don’t get too worried about that since to a powerboat driver, there’s no practical difference between avoiding a paddle craft that is nearly stationary and avoiding an obstacle or anchored boat (which requires a white light, ONLY a white light) that actually is stationary. The bottom line is that having a white light on both the bow and stern of a paddle craft is NOT something you “shouldn’t do” according to law. Yep, lots of misinformation on these boards.

This was the best advice so far
"If you paddle at night with others, paddle with folks who are capable of occasionally being quiet." Truer words were never spoken.

red LED is a great suggestion

Did a full moon paddle last Oct. and
the bats swarmed us from every direction…we thought we were going take a swim trying to duck from them. Freaky…it was like an early Halloween joke.

Bioluminescent Mosquito Lagoon in FL
Cool, I was out on Mosquito Lagoon in FL last weekend checking out the bio-lum there. Posted a review here: