Visibility on the water

Next week, I plan on paddling the Hudson River and Upper New York harbor. Want to get a close look at Opsail 2012 as the sailing ships process up the Hudson River.

One of my concerns was that I anticipate quite a few boats being there for the same reason I am. To that end, I decided I need to make myself as visible as possible.

Picked up a flag that attaches to the boat, but it requires drilling a hole. Didn’t want to do that! I came up with an idea that took me an hour to put together last night.

I was concerned that the bolt would scrtach my kayak, so I came up with the “flap” idea!

Nice pictures. Though I’m only just
starting to understand how it all goes together on the kayak. Lessee, the V recess rides on the deck, the flap keeps the bolt head from scratching the deck, and the bungees go out to either side to grip lines or attachments on the deck.

Not real clear to me…
…how it attaches to the boat. Also, wouldn’t it have been a simple matter to countersink the bolt head instead? Seems like that would provide a flatter, non-wobbly contact surface, but maybe I don’t understand what’s going on. Anyway, it’s good to see that you found a workable solution to the problem.

That’s the plan, so far. I need to do a dry fit to see if any additional restraints are needed.

Counter sink?
No, the minicell is not thick enough at that point.

More info
Will you be mostly stationary or moving around? I assume it will be daylight. What will you be wearing?

From my own experience of spotting kayaks on the water it seems clear that something eye catching on both sides of the paddle blade are very effective if you are paddling. Reflective tape, bright paint, etc. all work. Wear a reflective yellow-green vest over your life jacket. And if possible go in a group and stay together. Raft up if you are stationary. Have everyone wear the vests.

Do you own a light
with a suction base? Something like this one?

Seems like this may be a much simpler solution. Buy the base, get the light for free, so to speak.

I have a similar light
Don’t know if the OP has one. But anyway, they work very well in the dark and not at all in daytime.

Bright colors!!!
Probably the best and cheapest way to be visible is to buy and wear a neon-lime green or orange road construction vest (sized to fit over your PFD) and an orange hunting cap. This is no time or place to be concerned with fashion.

I may be there too!

Be safe,


You could go with something like this

Maybe end up on America’s Got Talent

This could make for a good flotilla idea

I Use a Really Loud Hat
when the traffic gets thick.

You might consider spray painting an old paddle neon orange.

I wish you had these new green blades
already Andy … : )

Paddle motion
Motion and light catch the eye. Reflective decals on a moving paddle generate “flashes” in daylight. If you’re not artistic with tape, motorcycle helmet decal sets work great.

I know you know this
A marine radio, used well, is your best piece of equipment in the busy harbor. Bright colors are great, but make your presence known in more way than one. Call in a securite as needed.

About that light base
>>they work very well in the dark and not at all in daytime

Sorry, what I meant to suggest is that, during the day, the OP use the base of the light to stick the flag in.

I didn’t know. I’m seldom in a busy harbor but I’ll keep this in mind.

A friend of mine and I
were concerned about visibility on the water, so a group of us went out paddling while he stayed on shore. He said that boat color didn’t seem to matter, since it was so close to the water. Brightly colored paddle blades were the most visible. Like these

But, I would think that a flag would work also, just make sure that it’s big enough to be seen from a distance. Anything brightly colored and up off the water.

Of course a Hobie Adventure Island with that big sail would be really visible!

Agree Lyn
Have one that I’ll be bringing along. As far as bright/visible clothing, I may wear one of my guadier hawaian shirts that I have, and put some white tape on my paddle blades.

I happened to be in Jersey City last night on the 21st floor of 10 Exchange place and got a good look of the river and the area in which I expect to be.

10 Exchange palce is directly across the river from 1 World trade center.


Please don’t
Start marking security calls, there is enough going on on the radio in ny harbor as it is. Sure paddling around the sailor vessels is fun, but opsail is generally a zoo. I would just not paddle it, get a ticket on a passenger vessel, and avoid being a headache to all the people out there earning a living on the harbor.

stick a kids…
flexible “bike flag” to the stern of the boat, with marine-orange flag on top. I have one with flag and a small “blink-tag” from a bike taped to the top as well. Looks quite silly, but with a blinker and a flag bouncing on top of a 4+ feet pole everyone knows I’m there.

Mounted it with small bracket on the rudder assembly.