Paddling Alone

Go for it…with care
I paddled alone almost from the moment I got my first kayak. I overpack when I am solo…first aid kit, cell phone, jacket, extra water, snack, etc. that I wouldn’t take if I were in a group. I only solo in warm weather/water, I always wear my PFD, I always leash my paddle, I watch for everything and I stay in populated or shallow water just in case. I also know I have a strong wet exit/re-entry arsenal and can swim to shore from anywhere on the body of water since I used to be a competitive swimmer and I have swum more than a mile across a lake just for the heck of it.

Basically, I think that everyone is saying do it once you’ve comtemplated the potential negative outcomes and feel comfortable with them.

I keep trying to paddle alone, but
these nubile young wimmen follow me around without letup! I thought when I got old, mean-tempered, and ugly, it would cease!

if they are void of people
its because the roads are lousy. The Patriots Day storm did in some logging roads. They are fixed quick if there is active logging, not fixed if not.

Curiously enough the farther up North and wilder you go you MAY (no guarantee)get phone reception. I dont have any here in SW Maine on my lake.

Your danger later in the season may be breaking your car on the way in.

Beware close to shore. Those 20 hp boats can kick up big wakes if they are certain hull designs and depending on the shorefront topography can kick up reflecting waves.

Personally I would pick the lonely Maine lake as safer than mine on a yahoo powerboater weekend!

I don’t care WHAT these other people say, if you paddle alone you’re gonna DIE…

I’m Living proof…I’ve been DEAD for years!

(Or mebbe I just SMELL that way…)

Where do you paddle??? I will pay for that information. All I ever see is fat, old fishermen.

If I die or when I die…

– Last Updated: Jun-02-07 8:42 AM EST –

"If" is the premature death, avoid by not taking risks that are not thought out. A few folks will still get this wrong, don't worry, it will never happen to you!

"When" is part of the human condition that ultimately makes life worth living.

My approach... I paddle alone about 95% of the time. Mostly within half-a-mile of shore. Carry a vhf radio to listen in on other boat traffic for company, suggest evasive action to the good captains of power boats heading directly at me when I am in the right of a channel, and (yet to be used) summons help from CG and/or others if I were to be seperated from my boat. Appropriate clothing and self rescue skills augment so that I don't need to become front page news of the local rag, or a burden to the CG.

Seriously though, paddling alone can be very cathartic, Zen, convenient, or various other philosophical states of mind. Occasionally when you return to terra firma, a sense of relief and good luck may prevail leading to greater respect for the watery world we challenge each time we go paddling.

Your mileage may vary, hopefully on the plus side!


Thousands of miles alone
in the ocean…best times of my life

An amusing story…
…We were watching a show about a Tsangpo

river which included Tom McEwan.

Tom is a well known DC area ww paddler legend

and one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.

I took several lessons from him.

At the start of the show, I turned to my wife

and said, “Hon, there’s Tom McEwan.”

My wife a non-paddler recognized his name from

the checks that went to the lessons, “YOu know,”

said the woman who promised to love, honor and

write checks, “if you learned to roll, you

wouldn’t have to pay people to paddle with you.”

Go for it!
Most of my paddling is done alone. Like a lot of others if I waited to go with my friend I wouldn’t get out much. I’ve been out on the local lake in January when it’s deserted and fairly cold and just used common sense and try not to do anything to stupid and so far have survived. I figure if it’s my day to die there’s not much I can do about it. And look on the bright side, if you do drown the people who show up at the funeral will go around saying “Well at least he died doing something he liked!”. Paddle on.

I do it
I paddle alone 99% of the time and all ways keep safety in mind. I the person I paddle with sometimes works second shift and about the only we paddle together is on a Sunday that I don’t work.

If its to windy I will paddle a inland lake or river and stay pretty close to shore. If you like what you do then just do it with caution!


I’ve been doing it wrong?
My dad taught me how to canoe(I know it’s not the same as kayaking) and how to SCUBA dive. When I finally took lessons in diving, I was astounded to learn that diving alone wasn’t safe. Most of the near death experiances that I have had underwater were the result of somebody elses mistake.

The same went for canoeing. By the time that I started reading some books about canoeing, I realized that I was doing it wrong the whole time, and I shoudl have been dead. Yet, the only times that I have gotten into trouble in a canoe was when somebody else screwed up.

Now, I’m not saying that I am perfect, but I think that knowing that you don’t have somebody else to pull your butt of trouble makes you a bit more cautious. If you are comfortable with your self rescue skills and your ability to keep from getting into those situations in the first place, then go and have fun. But do let somebody know where you are going and when you expect to be home.

99% of the time, I paddle alone
…on the lake as well as on the ocean. On windless days as well as windy days…

I wish I could find a partner that paddles at similar speed with similar training goals, similar boat, and similar schedule, but it is not easy to find, so I paddle on and alone! however, I am ever willing to share a paddle with someone else.

i too paddle alone
I too paddle alone most of the time, flat water only. The lakes i paddle on arent too horrible big. I am a beginner as well, and just have tried to absorb as much as i could from my folks and if not dress for the conditions, i bring the gear with me. I paddle alone because it is hard to find someone to go with that isnt slow as can be, and in a recent instance, tow them back for miles in the pouring rain cause they arent strong enough. LoL, good luck

Gee whiz…
…seems as though with all of us ‘lone paddlers’ out there that we would be bumping into each other all the time!! :wink:


Does the Blackwater have bulkheads?
You stated that’s what you’ll be paddling. If it lacks bulkheads, put some float bags in. That way, IF you capsize, it won’t flood. A flooded kayak might be too much for one person to either empty or swim ashore.

What others have said, I agree with: calm weather, warm water, close to shoreline, avoid crazy powerboat meccas, wear your PFD, etc. Please, if you don’t know how to swim–learn how to do so before going alone. The PFD only floats you; it does not propel you. (My husband refuses to do anything about this, but maybe I can convince someone else…)

I paddle alone frequently, and it’s almost always by choice to do so. I consider this one of the wonderful things about sports such as paddling: it can be done either alone or with others, giving tremendous freedom. Enjoy it!

I wouldn’t …
know what to do if I had someone else to paddle with. I’ve only gone alone since I bought my boat about 6 weeks ago. Even went out and did self rescue practice solo…which was a blast.

I powerboat alone more often than not.

I prefer fishing out of my yak and canoe solo, by far. You’ll cover more water and catch more fish.

I’ve not run into many paddlers on my side of Dallas (south) and frequent a lake called Joe Pool, if anybody is reading this and wants to go get wet.

i did once
and will again I’m sure. Very much a beginner, I rented a kayak last summer and did 10 miles on the Delaware River, which had some “class 1 half” rapids. That part of river was narrow enough to get to the banks easily though, and it was warm, and populated. And of course, I wore a pfd. I wasn’t worried until I hit a shallow spot and the kayak ground to a near halt slanted sideways on a partially submerged rock, and almost capsized. That scared me a bit, cause falling out of a kayak sideways with water rushing over your head didn’t seem like an ideal scenario. But the boat straightened itself out, and I made it safely to the end of the run feeling strong and with a big smile on my face.

paddling alone
some of the best paddles I’ve had have been solo ones—make sure you are well equipped, take some classes and practice self rescue including but not limited to rolling and be very conservative and cautious in your judgement—about when, where and in what weather you will go out in.

I prefer to paddle…

– Last Updated: Jun-04-07 8:58 PM EST –

alone. It's the only way I can truley get rid of the outside world...and take good wildlife pics. There are times when I don't want company. Don't want to talk....or HAVE to talk. I do mumble to myself and wildlife, though.:)

I paddle with others too. It's about 50/50.

YOU should feel confident, know self rescue skills and carry the right gear before you do. Please wear the PFD at ALL times, regardless of the wicked paths that others may try and lead you down.

It depends
How good are your paddling skills? Is your gear up to snuff? Do you wear your PFD? Do you take uncalculated risks? Do you paddle in cold water/inclement weather? How’s your self rescue? Do you tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back (leave a “float plan”)? Do you carry a dry bag with extra clothes, a cell phone, extra water, a first aid kit, etc? What would you do in an emergency?

All things to think about. One of the first things I learned when I was a new kayaker was “Never float alone, and never float unknown (waters).” More to think about.

Obviously, you need to be prepared as best as you can, both physically and mentally, to paddle alone. I know several people who paddle solo, who are fit, fine, and happy. I paddle solo occasionally. However, I KNOW I prefer company.

You have to decide what kind of risks you are taking, and if you are prepared properly for what you are doing.

When I couldn’t find enough paddlers to go out with when I started out, I started my own Yahoogroup, and quickly met many like-minded folks.

Do a search and check to see if there may also be paddling groups in your area under Yahoogroups. For example, I know of WPPSA (Western PA), Penn_Kayaking (PA), SEOP (SE Ohio), and Flathead Paddlers (Montana) – and all, like my group, are Yahoogroup paddling groups.

I even made up little cards with my email address and Yahoogroup website on it, and have handed them out to paddlers I meet on the water. Occasionally I’ve met someone who was a bit astounded to be handed a card, but most seemed fine with it, and I’ve met lots of nice paddlers this way. And yeah, I know it makes some people think I’m crazy, but that’s ok too. :slight_smile: