The "Killing Season" Has Commenced

Several years ago I had to tow in (in my sailboat) a small powerboat that had run out of gas. Conditions were benign, so no one was in danger, but it was close to sunset and would have been a long night for those 5 people out on an open boat.

They had:
-no VHF radio (I strongly suggested that they get one)
-an anchor but didn’t think to use it (tidal current was strong and would have moved them several miles overnight)
-no SeaTow/BoatUS membership (also strongly suggested; I have been towed in twice by BoatUS and the yearly membership fee is worth every penny)
-absolutely no idea how to properly cleat a line, which I then had to do for them so that I could take them under tow.

Again, conditions were calm, warm air/water, inside Tampa Bay. But certainly could have been much different. I was really shocked at how unprepared they were.

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Yeah, let’s take the kids out in the middle of the ocean in May. Not a good idea. I don’t even want to be out on the ocean, and I know I am in better shape than this lady likely is.

The one phrase I hate is, “I bet kayaking is fun!” That’s why my standard reply is alwalys “No!”

A couple of videos I saw at the Small Craft Advisor.

Too bad more people aren’t taught how to swim and water safety.
Watching these two videos really drives home how your body reacts to sudden immersion in 50F (10C) water. 15C= 59F.

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Just a comment on the Maine coast, treated with forethought there are lots of relatively safe and lovely paddles in salty stuff due to the irregular shoreline. As long as you are dressed for water temps in the high 50’s right thru July. The irregularity produces a lot of coves that are protected from major wave action as the tide rises and falls and, with an eye to the forecast, can be paddled to stay out of the worst wind. Lots of the bigger rivers too as long as you stay away from the mix areas at the mouth or shallow bits when the tide is running hardest.

Where most get into trouble in Maine is the urge to go to the island that looks like heck, it is just right over there. So what can go wrong???

Of course lots. So just don’t do that, and you can find some lovely and quite well protected paddles.

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The Maine coast is pretty rugged. Not my first choice to be out in a small boat. Sea kayaking to me at least looks pretty extreme.

I am a strong swimmer, race triathlons and swim the mile in 25min or so… last bad boating swim, flipped at the top of Zoom Flume on the Arkansas and swam a mere 1/4 mile of class III or so. By the end I could not get myself and the boat to shore. Fortunately there was a friend with a throwrope nearby. It was a bit of a shocker, always thought I could swim myself out of trouble… um no.