Two missing in small sail boat

I don’t undertstand why anyone would need to venture far from shore unless they are in a race or are heading to a close island. If trouble occurs just paddle or swim to shore. There’s nothing out in the open seas to see.

They can’t go where they want but they don’t know it till it’s to late.

tide and wind. There have been kayakers fooled by a north wind launching from Connecticut… On an outgoing tide… They don’t realize what is happening till they look back and then see the whitecaps and with outgoing tide can’t get back.
Of course I don’t know the particulars in this case. We used to have a 14 foot sailboat and launched from 20 miles east of New Haven… Sometimes our little pusher motor was barely adequate even in calm seas.

Its a local challenge to paddle from Old Saybrook to Orient Beach and back in a day. Pick carefully… We ( a party of four ) burnt pretty well on a dead calm August day.

@DrowningDave said:
I don’t undertstand why anyone would need to venture far from shore unless they are in a race or are heading to a close island. If trouble occurs just paddle or swim to shore. There’s nothing out in the open seas to see.

I often launch from the coast (Atlantic - from Nassau Sound or Jax Beach or the like), and paddle 10 to 20 miles due east, then back. (I call these me OTS paddles (out to sea) )

Now, can anyone give me a good reason why I do this?

(I can provide at least one good reason, but I’ll leave it open for now)

@DrowningDave First, there is no indication that these two individuals had a goal of heading far out. I don’t now where you got that from, it is not in the story. Second they found a sailboat with no information on where it had been other than a likely starting point. People can get into a lot of trouble in the Sound, more than most realize. There is an island out in the middle as well as a chain of them closer to CT. But nothing in this story indicates they were trying to get to either.

And it feels liberating and freeing, to me anyway, to paddle out well from shore and see the vista of islands and long land points in Maine. Or anywhere else there is salt water. It is a tendency I have to restrain paddling solo because I know better, but I still grab the conditions to get decently out when I can. “Nothing but open seas”? That is the point.

Even for some islands. Take a look at the paddle to Eastern Egg in Muscongus Bay in Maine.

Serious birders have to get out there if they can. There is a whole cadre of pelagic birds that can only be seen at least a half mile off the mainland.

I never said the article claimed they went out to sea. I was raised in the coast and know of many deaths from people who venture far out. I’m not talking about large vessels or fishing boats but pwc that has no business going far away from shore. I’m not saying it should be illegal, I’m saying it’s not wise. Storms pop up out of knowhere over water and that adds another danger. Remaining within a common sense distance from shore will help lesson the tragic deaths of those who paddle.

“I don’t undertstand why anyone would need to venture far from shore”

Either you did not read your own post, or you used what may be a tragedy to promote a personal opinion about what paddlers should do. Not going to get much traction with either.

I suspect they were not sailors. It’s easy to go down wind. Close-hauled takes some skill.

I used to take a Rhodes 19 several miles off shore fishing. Usually didn’t need to get more than 5 to 10 miles out.

There is some wave-runners that run offshore Jax to fish the reefs. Those have GPS fish finders and gear we didn’t have back when.

This might help explain the concerns. (see table 30)

@DrowningDave said:

Thanks for the link! I didn’t see and may have missed fatalities tabulated by distance from shore. Lots of information on boating accidents though.

yes, great statistics
some things to note:

Table 11 :black_small_square: WEATHER AND WATER CONDITIONS 2016 Accidents
Lakes, Ponds, Reservoirs, Dams, Gravel Pits — 2017
Ocean/Gulf — 371
Great Lakes — 112
Calm (waves less than 6") — 2528
Rough (waves 2’to 6’) — 425
Very Rough (waves larger than 6’) — 83


  • paddle Great Lakes or ocean, it’s safer
  • keep off lakes, ponds, reservoirs, …
  • paddle rough waters (2’-6’), don’t paddle calm

no, not really
I’d like to see this broken down by watercraft

Another (real) takeaway:
Table 19
Casualties by type & vessel

  • all accident types: 182
    of these:
    • capsizing: 92
    • deaths: 89
      (in other tables - drowning is a big factor in deaths)

Now, the deaths & capsizing don’t necessarily go together, but, I’ll bet highly correlated.
takeaway: know how to self rescue (roll preferred, however any self rescue method that is reliable would do)

Another interesting one: Table 25:
between 2004 and 2016 the percent of canoe/kayak deaths went from 14% to 22%,
same period: open motorboat went from 52% to 46%
hmm, what kind of ‘kayak’ sales have boomed in the last several years

The ACA has broken them down by watercraft:

@raisins. Yup, the vast majority of these stories l see, including a recent one on Lake George, are people in rec kayaks. Rather than full out sea kayaks. Pointing to the likelihood that core causes are in paddler preparation less than location. Someone who is very vulnerable if they end up in the water can find a way to get into trouble without having a lot of water.

Of the people I see paddling rec kayaks on Lake Superior, which is the majority of kayakers now, approximately zero wear spray decks. I’m not even sure if they bring them, Not that it would matter anyway. I’m surprised a lot more dont die here.

Do they make spray skirts for rec sit-inside kayaks?

They do for some anyway. I’m not too familiar with them because I’ve never paddled a rec kayak

The ones I see don’t have a lip defined enough to hold one on and the openings are large enough to insert a Winnebago.

There are spray skirts available for most, not all, rec kayaks. Usually nylon only, the cost of a custom neo deck for that size cockpit is prohibitive. Hence they tend to be prone to implosion. It is not a certainty that most would help much in situations which often capsize inexperienced paddlers, like boat wakes or pop up storms.

@DrowningDave said:
Do they make spray skirts for rec sit-inside kayaks?

Yes…depending on cockpit size.

Or more No, they make spray skirts for kayaks. Yes, you can put a skirt on a rec kayak. No, not all rec kayaks.