Novice to circumnaviage Prudence Island

Of all the incredable “advice” and help, one thing that grabbed me was the suggestion to try Prudence Island in Narragansett Bay, RI. first.

Great idea. Though, I still think that the Manahattan circumnavigation is an awsome idea, that I would still love to do.

So, now I know to concider tides, currents and traffic.

Any suggestions for Prudence Island?

I wont be doing it by myself.


Best Launch is from Colt State Park in Bristol.

You have 2 crossings to do, both about 1.5 - 2 miles, give or take, each that cross a busy channel that also has high-speed traffic (Like 30 knots). Know where the buoys are, and cross at them in a tight group when the channel is clear. A securite call on a VHF is a nice courtesy if someone has a VHF in your group.

Best way to do the paddle is to head across and go south first. Plan on a day with low tide being around 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM if you launch at 9:30 - 10:00 AM. This will give you a boost all the way up the west side of the island. There are plenty of places to land - plan on landing at least twice to stretch and hydrate.

Once around the top of the island, once again find the channel, and cross at the markers, and head back to Colt Park. It’s about 18-20 miles depending on how close you paddle to the shore. The only hazard area is the main channel that you cross at the beginning and end of the paddle.

A nautical chart is a bare minimum to have, and a compass is a very good idea, too, for low visibility conditions. I assume from your hiking background that using these should be already in your resume. GPS is nice, too. I use mine to track time, speed, and distance, and also for paddling in fog.

And most definitely look back after yo launch, and study where the launch is visually - it can be hard to see from a distance at times.

If you’re going with an experienced group, this is a fun paddle that will introduce you to longer trips and their demands on your abilities.


On water rescues?
The reason to go with someone else, especially if you don’t have anything close to a roll, is to have someone who can assist in an on-water rescue should you capsize. Suffice to say the kind of trips you are considering have a high risk of capsize.

So having company doesn’t get you that value if they (and you for that matter) can’t do or assist in an on-water reentry. You are probably athletic enough to be coached thru an assisted rescue yourself, but that places a higher nurden on your company.

So I’ve lost track if I did know - are you going out with someone who has these skills, and in good supply, or another newbie like yourself?

off on a tangent, but
why isn’t a cowboy scramble/self-rescue suggested more often for those who can’t roll? I find it much easier & quicker to do than messing with a paddle float. my teen son mastered it on the 2nd try, and he’s not the most athletic type.

I will be joined by master kayakers. further, we are going out on some calm water to learn some basics.

I have kayaked in the past. Even done some fishing from a kayak. But, I never took that time to learn to do anything serious. In fact, it seems to me that the kayaks I have used would be hard to roll.

Anyway, we are going to go out on the lake and learn some basics.

Im still really looking forward to the Manahttan adventure. But, RI is a fun trip for us. Good friends are in Point Judith. So it is a good excuse to go visit for a lobster bash!!

Longest Recent Paddle
What’s the longest paddle trip that you have done recently?

Longest paddle trip
we do a 40 mile canoe trip every spring in the Adirondacks. But it is more of a guys in the woods camping trip. We take a week to go in and out.

something caused you to come out
of your kayak. Chances are that “something” was not a one time incident, whether it was a wave, wind gust, or inattentiveness.

While you are paddling you are fairly relaxed, your center of gravity is about as low as it will get while kayaking, and (in theory) you are reasonably ready to prevent a capsize. In other words, you are relatively stable.


an event happens that destabilizes you and causes you to capsize. Then you need to get back into your kayak while your center of gravity is relatively high, you are tense, and your paddle/body is not in an ideal position to brace. Chances are the capsizing event will happen again, and again, and again.

The paddle float provides quite a bit of stability, which offsets the actions that are destabilizing you.

Options (accessible landings)?

OK - gotta ask
What’s a master kayaker?

Not being rude, it’s just conjuring up an array of interesting images.

We also had a recent experience that causes me to wonder. We just ran some basic self-rescue stuff with a guy who talked about the 'really good" paddlers he sometimes can hook up with. By the time we finished going thru what we did, truly basic stuff, there had been way too many "Oh Wow"s for us to be sure about these other really good paddlers. We aren’t good enough to do anything that should rate such surprise.

I was picturing a Tsunami Ranger

I thought the question was the longest distance in a single day?

Prudence Island = Isolated, Open Water
Having run a kayaking business in Bristol, I know Prudence Island pretty well. Two problems: The island is mostly uninhabited except at the far southern end, and it’s isolated. The open water crossings required to get to the island are long and cross major shipping channels. So if you get into trouble, you have very limited evac options. One option might be to take the ferry to & from the island. But I stopped doing the open water crossing in the summer because the powerboat traffic is absolutely insane.

What about Jamestown? It’s about the same size, much more inhabited, you can launch from the island, and there are a lot more evac options. Rounding Beavertail on the south end can be challenging in rough conditions, so choose a day when it’s calm & flat. Wayne can speak volumes about Jamestown, having just circumnavigated it this past weekend :slight_smile:

Good luck,


That’s what I meant to ask. Somebody mentioned this route was 18-20 miles. That could be quite a long day especially when dealing with open water and tides.

Yes, an equivalent distance, easier navigation, and easier bailout options, but you have Beavertail Point to deal with, and I wouldn’t bring a novice around that unless it was dead flat. Just my preference as a leader, companion, etc.

Now if they were to portage across Mackerel Cove, then I’d agree it would be the better option for a first time out. It is a great paddle either way.

But since the OP was originally talking about doing Manhattan, I thought Prudence would incorporate some of the factors that they would find in NY that Jamestown wouldn’t give them - limited options, traffic, crossings, and still be a fairly benign paddle when not in the channel.

Of course, I’ve been thinking of doing Prudence by myself before I’m out of commission for a couple of months, so that may have been a factor in my recommendation as well :wink:

While I admire your desire to circumnavigate things, I am going to go out on a limb and give a bit of advice:

If you can’t plan the trip on paper, you are not a good candidate to execute the trip. There is a bundle of education that needs to take place prior to your doing a trip of this kind.

Take small steps first - try a 10 mile trip along the water’s edge. Then a 12, then a 14… until you are able to safely paddle the whole distance of the circumnavigation that you are looking to do. Allow for at min. the ability to regularly paddle a 20 mile trip in order to do a 18 mile circumnavigation w/o bailouts.

Try navigation on the water first where the failure to find what you are looking for doesn’t result in your missing the island.

Practice rescue skills prior to trying for the 20 mile trip.

Learn about tides and currents so that you can plan the trips you are dreaming about. That will allow you to be in a better position to safely execute them. It will also allow you to make educated decisions if/when something happens while on the water that will require you to change your plans.