On that note, Wear your PFD! last weekend my wife and I flipped the canoe for the first time in 7+ years of paddling spanning hundreds of outings, luckily both wearing PFD’s! (although I capsize often due to a combined love of skinny boats and big waves). Ironically the conditions had noting to do with the capsize, it was all ‘user error’ so dont let calm condition lull you into a sense of false security.
We had a canoe full of crap at the end of a lazy day on the lake. She grabbed the dog, I rounded up the crap floating away and started pushing the canoe towards shore. The wind was 10-15mph at about 45* to shore and we were ~200 yards out. I tried pushing the boat directly into shore and even angled it to act like a sail pushing in, but the wind pushed me straight with it no matter what I did. Eventually I just accepted it and more or less just held on to the boat as the wind blew it in.
Anyways after a ‘not too bad’ 10 minute swim we emptied things out and continued home, but it was cooler than forecast and (shame on me) I did not bring my usual drybag of warm clothes (because it was supposed to be mostly sunny, not fully cloudy!). being early evening it was ~64* so it was a plenty chilly paddle home, but only had a mile or so to go. By the time I got in the car I was beginning to shiver and would not have wanted to be out any longer. When I am out surfskiing alone I over dress for immersion as I expect to be wet and ‘the bigger the better’ when it comes to waves, so want extra safety margin. I was under prepared because my mindset was not “you need to survive for a while if you get separated from your boat a mile off shore”. It was “leisurely summer afternoon at the lake”, which was bad and left me vulnerable. Nothing too ignorant in the grand scheme, but it easily could have been the beginning of a cascade of failures that led to something more serious. I wont make that mistake again.
My takeaways were -
-PFD is god
-Even on a ‘warm’ day, bring a drybag of clothes because the forecast is not always correct, even 6 hours in advance >(
-There is no way you can possibly push or pull a boat against the wind or current, or even at much of an angle. I knew this already, but have not tired it in a while. It was a good reminder
-Plan to be wet at the most inopportune moment of the paddle. Luck will always have it this way
-Attach stuff to your boat. It floats away quickly and is a pain to wrangle in the water, especially if you really dont want to loose expensive paddles and gear.