The Right Kayak

I’m just getting started. I found on Craig’s List a 12 ft Liquid Logic Sting Ray and hope for some feedback on this boat. I plan to kayak bays and inlets on the Maine coast in addition to lakes and the CT River and such. I’d appreciate opinions on this boat for the Maine close coastal waters. Thanks

Not a good choice

– Last Updated: May-28-15 3:34 PM EST –

That's a recreational style kayak and though better than most in this category it lacks the requisite safety features and design for coastal waters. It does not have a bow bulkhead so it would need to be fitted with an inflatable flotation bag, also does not have perimeter deck lines or a rudder. At 29" across and with a fairly flat hull it will not track well or be fast and will be unstable in rough water and wind. The gaping 20" x 50" cockpit will not give a good fit for the paddler to control the boat nor will it support a spray skirt, which is a necessity in Maine waters.

The Stingray 12 was designed for ponds and slow flow small rivers. It isn't a touring or sea kayak. Better to pass this one up if you intend any coastal paddling. There will be better choices.

Also, you should seek professional instruction in technique and safety and in recommendations for outfitting and cold protective clothing before venturing into the ocean.

Depending on your size and budget, here are some local examples of the kind of boat you should be considering. In fact there are tons of decent used sea kayaks in your neck of the woods.

This summer will be my 25th year going to a place on the shore of the midcoast region of Maine, and at least the 18th year of going on the water there in kayaks. I am a bit fuzzy on the pre-sea kayak and skills years, but it is at least 3. It was myself and my husband until last year, so there will be a mix of plural and singular.

We went to full out sea kayaks and training and gear that cost a heck of a lot more than $20 per item BECAUSE of being on the coast of Maine. There are islands tempting you all along that coast - but even the nearest ones are poor choices of destination in a rec kayak. We tried it. We survived but we were stupid and lucky. The water is cold, it is real coastal weather with squalls that can catch you on the water very fast, and that is when the fog bank has not come in and the visibility goes from half a mile to 30 feet in under 20 minutes. We’ve clocked it.

So if you are going to paddle in Maine - forget the rec boats because you won’t go past the first season without realizing you spent precious bucks on the wrong boat. Go straight to a higher end touring boat, with full perimeter rigging and two sealed bulkheads. You can find this used, and that will keep you safer until you sort out your longer term interests.