Paddle Flasher Stickers

The New York State Department of Parks and Recreation is promoting “Safe n’ Sight” stickers as a way to improve visibility for kayakers. They’re mirrored silver stickers that you’re supposed to put on your blades to catch the sun and make yourself easier for motorboats to see.

They gave me a bunch of them for free at the state fair, but I’m not sold on them. They also gave me some “If Found” stickers, similar to the ones the Coast Guard used to give out. I was happy to get those.

What are your opinions on the flashers? Here’s an article that mentions them.

yup gotta

– Last Updated: Sep-06-16 9:09 PM EST –

set still in the bag.

Once in awhile I give them a look n think passing by on the way to booties.

The traffic areas paddled doahn warrant application caws the untrafficed areas deafinitely doahn warrant flashing lights.

Big Carlos between Punta Rassa n Sanibel Island or Haro Strait are a notch below needing extra ID. On BC there are boat ways and bay ways: boaters tend toward affluence thru effort ( aside from the gas farmers) n r serious amateur boaters. On Haro there are a variety of aggressive large hull boaters nonetheless salty types in light traffic. A shiny strip may attract these pilote.

Haro n environs boasts drunken boaters. What do you show a drunken boater early in the evening ?

Maybe I should affix the strips ?

But if paddling down the wilderness waterway tween Chokoloskee and Flamingo is best not visible for there are pirates.

AND OFF COURSE ....on the Lower Hudson, and I am not on the Lower Hudson ...then yes affix the strips stupid. prob Tom's River ect.

Rereading this BS, Delaware Bay would need strips.

I assume there's no telling what may come over the short 2 mile kayak horizon on a large open urban bay like Delaware.

The paddle flash
caused by a wet paddle in the sun has caught my eye at quite a distance. I wouldn’t have noticed the paddler otherwise.

I think the idea has merit.


See and be seen.
I wear very bright and colorful rashguards and either a yellow or coral PFD. I flunk Fashion 101, but don’t blend into the background.

Flash is good. I added silver reflective tape to my carbon Euro after a couple experiences this summer. My Lumpy Greenland held high and waved seems to get attention as its warded off jet skis coming at me a few times.

Absolutely yes

– Last Updated: Sep-07-16 8:23 AM EST –

Have them on both of my paddles and on each end of each boat. But the flash off the paddles is most effective because they will show movement, giving an oncoming boater a bit more to figure out than if they are more stationery. The good ones will flash both in sun and if a motorboat's lights hit it after dark.

Actually, the Great Hudson River Paddle requires that paddlers have reflective strips on their paddles, their PFD's and I think on the boats but don't quote me on the last. For visibility.

are the Hudsons paranoid ?

every bit helps
…and I don’t see a downside…

No, just sensible. I fear for my sanity this morning because for once I might have a clue what you are saying.

  1. This paddle has been going for a long time and the requirements are not new. If you can spend all your time looking up irrelevant links this should not be surprising.

  2. You are seriously wrong to suggest that reflective spots in an environment of mixed recreational motor craft and paddle boats is anything other than an excellent idea.

I use
As others have said, paddles are one of the more visible parts of a boat. Motion and height I think are part of it. I remember a foggy day at the mouth of the Columbia where a pair of friends where paddling over. The first thing we saw was the paddle movement. In this case, light didn’t come into play, but it does show the value of improving your paddles’ visibility.

Now, not all reflective materials is made the same. The stickers available at auto shops are unidirectional - the light is sent back directly back to the source. SOLAS (safety of life at sea) uses glass beads and causes the light to reflect out in all directions. This makes it seem superreflective - a]much better at reflecting than standard reflective stickers. Worth the extra money.

Actual Experience
I was strongly advised to put Solas tape (high reflectivity) on my paddles to become highly visible in Long Island sound by a well known instructor with an unimpeachible reputation.

However, off the coast of outer Cape Cod, on three separate instances, power boats approached me from a great distance at high speed, thinking that the flashing was signaling for help.

There was no danger, more inconvenience for the smoke pots, but I wonder if this idea needs more thought for the sake of those who are truly signaling for help.

Flashing light and red usually
is the signal for boat in trouble. Never had a issue with that kind of mistaken identity on the Hudson.

That said, Cape Cod is a vacation place and it may be that some motor boaters have decided to err on the side of caution after several unfortunate incidents involving kayakers that got in over their heads. I wouldn’t complain about the ones that stop in time when speeding to you.

That reminds me…
of a recent paddle where I saw a flashing red light that I hadn’t noticed on the way out. I slowly paddled towards it, and it wasn’t until I was quite close that I saw it was a red mylar balloon. There was a good 12" chop going on, just enough to let the balloon rise and fall above the wave crests.


– Last Updated: Sep-08-16 4:30 PM EST –

I have no issue with the power boats, and the fact that these craft traveled from fairly far off proves that the concept of making yourself visible with tape on paddles works. However as more and boaters and beach goers be come accustomed to the flashes of ordinary paddling, it is easy to foresee that the signaling mirror or signaling for help with your paddle is going to become ineffective.

My guess is that on the sound or on the Hudson, people are far less attentive and/or less knowledgeable about risks. Otherwise the tugs would not be blowing their horns so often.

Therefore, I refrain from using my taped paddles unless I am in a high traffic area. Since I keep two paddles aboard, it's not an issue. A suitable compromise might be something that can be attached or removed from the end of the shaft.

thought about reflective tape on boat
after kayak class, was thinking some reflective tape on top and bottom of boat might be an ok idea… if there’s a problem, and whether or not you’re with the boat… the reflective strips would show up at night if anyone hits it with a light.

if found is
good because kayaks and other paddle craft get lose and then the GC waste time fearing someone is missing instead of a phone call. I have them inside every boat I own. SOLAS tape is on my paddles and strips on my kayaks as I paddle a lot at night. It really shows up nicely. I always wear my kokatat hat which is orange with SOLAS strips sewed to it. NEVER take for granted power boats they see you even if they seem to bare off I have seen they come right back at me. All my clothing is brightly colored. And the old whistle on my chest off course.

I bought a roll of the outdoor reflective tape from amazon for this same purpose.

I have it on my paddle, in the deck front and back. I even put a little on the underside I stuck a couple of strips… Figure if I overturn on a river and hit my head it might help draw attention (highly unlikely to flip where I paddle).

2 years later the tape has stated put even on bottom of hull.

Multiple visibility options

– Last Updated: Sep-11-16 10:10 AM EST –

Different materials work best for different conditions.

Back when I used a Euro paddle, I Painted the blades fluorescent orange (good in daylight and fog), added large patches of prismatic reflective tape (for daylight use, from an auto parts store), and bands of 3M reflective tape around the ends of the shaft (for nighttime).

My Greenland sticks all have white tips, and that's the extent of it. I haven't noticed any higher incidence of close encounters with other boats, but as they say, your mileage may vary.

I contacted the place where the
inventor works asking about them.

So far, no response!

I have reflective material I found at
a local Meijer store. It was on clearance, made by the company that makes “Duck” tape, and had the ‘peel off’ backing. It is very reflective/silver, like shiny new chrome, with glittery colors when moved about. When it needs replacing, I clean the paddle surface, cut out what is needed, make sure the blade area for adhesion is dry, lay it on, and use a credit card to press it on to remove any bubbles. Some folks I paddle with even put it on the front face, but to me that’s overkill.

Simple, easy, and inexpensive to do.

don’t skimp
use SOLAS tape