Author Topic: Safety info that anyone getting in a kayak should read  (Read 5873 times)

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Offline Rc109a

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Safety info that anyone getting in a kayak should read
« on: September 24, 2015, 10:01:10 AM »
ALL
Here are some general safety precautions I have gathered over my years of performing search and rescues and recovery dives. 
Originally this was generated for the TKAA tournament, but it really applies to almost any situation in a kayak or even a boat.  Please take a moment to read it.  While most would say it does not apply to them or that they know what they are doing, it never hurts to refresh our memories from time to time.  Just keep this in mind, others depend on you being around a bit longer.  Don't cut your life short for a fish...
________________________________________________________________________________________________________
I know we are all playing around with the trash talk and stuff about locations, but please remember the weather this weekend is going to suck (put mildly).  Everyone should be taking all safety precautions if your still planning on going out.  For many this will be some of the worst weather you may have faced in a kayak.  Most are only going out due to the tournament and would not normally go out in this type of weather.  If youíre not a seasoned kayaker (like me) please make sure your taking every necessary precaution you can.  Feel free to add anything I may have missed.  This is not an inclusive list (and definitely not in any specific order):

1.  Have a float plan
Does anyone else besides who you may be fishing (or other fellow yaker) with know where your going?  Do they know what youíre driving or where your parking?  What car did you take?  What color clothing are you wearing?  Do you take special medications?  What time will you be done and are you going to call to let them know when you get in safe?  What does your yak look like (or for many which one did you take)?

2.  WEAR YOUR PFD!!!!!!!!
There have been 7 fatalities this year to date.  Guess what they all have in common?

3.  Do not go alone.
Some say misery loves company, but in this case you could be saving each otherís life.

4.  Safety Equipment.
Do you have any besides your PFD?  If so, do they work?  When was the last time you checked the dates on perishable items?  Don't depend on flares to save you.  In the wind most 12 gauge or meteor flares are very hard to see in the daytime (and not always the most reliable). Check your sound producing devices.  A few weeks ago my fishing partner tried to get my attention with a safety whistle (the Hobie ones given out) and I did not even hear him less than 1/4 mile away.  Get a good whistle and/or one that is powered by a compressed air.  What about a sharp knife?  Is it on your PFD?  You might need to cut yourself free from any leashes, lines, or that braid.

5.  VHF radio
Even though many would say this is a safety item (and they would be right) I wanted to make a few comments about it.  Have you ever used it?  Is it charged BEFORE every trip?  Just because it has a few bars does not mean that it will last several hours of you calling for help.  Do you know the channels and what to say?  How would you give out your position?  Remember that safety plan?   The the first responders could contact your friend who has the plan details (remember it contains lots of information that is vital for them to help localize their search patterns) and prevent you from wasting valuable battery power.  Keep on air conversations short and sweet. 

6.  Cell Phone
Not an alternate to a VHF (but a nice supplement).  Is it waterproof or in a waterproof bag?  Can you operate it in the bag?  Just remember if youíre in the water and take it out of that bag, it is no longer waterproof.  Does it have service?  Where do you store it? Is it on you or in your yak?  The cell phone can be tracked with GPS coordinates if youíre out for a period of time (not going into methods or other features).  Many of these features only work if it is on and has battery life.

7.  Wear your safety equipment.
Don't just have the knife or VHF in the yak, wear it.  Odds are if something happens the yak and you will immediately become separated.  It gets kind of hard reaching that VHF when it is either in the yak a few yards away or has been donated to Davy Jones.

8.  Dress for the weather.
The weather and water temps have been changing over the last few weeks.  Dress for it.  Easier to take excessive clothing off when not needed then not having it to put on when needed.

9.  Have a plan.
What are you going to do if XXX happens?  Do you know what to do?  Do you know your other yakers that your fishing with?  Anyone have any special conditions you may need to be aware of?  Think about it and plan it out.  Most of all play the "what if" game.

10.  Hydrate and eat.
Hydration even in the winter is very important.  Youíre going to burn more energy fighting the weather and you must keep it replenished.  We all know we will never quit the fight for our lives, but your body only has so much fuel in the tanks.  Keep it full and ready to keep you alive.  Bring extra for a friend who may not be as smart or may need more then they brought.  Eat before you leave, during , and afterwards (just like food shopping, you never shop on an empty stomach).  Avoid alcohol and soft drinks when possible.

11.  Cover up that skin.  In the summer (and in the winter) don't forget to cover up.  I know a lot of you are looking for that perfect tan.  That is fine, but try getting the tan in a more controlled environment then when your fishing.  Some will even tell you that they do not get tan until they burn.  That is false.  A burn is just that, damage to your skin.  Sitting in a kayak in the sun is like sitting in a parabolic mirror.  You are sitting down in a depression in the water and the suns rays are being focused on you.  Help avoid getting burned and skin cancer by wearing loose fitting clothing and cover up as much exposed skin as possible.  A large brimmed hat is also advisable along with a face mask or head buff.  Even though you may wear long or short sleeve shirts, don't forget the sunscreen.  It will help protect the areas that accidentally or intentionally get exposed.  last but not least, don't forget about your eyes.  Get a decent pair with a head strap and polarized lenses. While it is possible to get sun burn in the eyes, they help with exposure headaches.  The eyes will not be straining to make things out in glare (helping you see potential problems) and this will help avoid other eye conditions that are common with those who work on the water such as pterygium (tuh-RIJ-ee-uhm).  These recommendations will not only keep your skin protected, but will keep your body cooler and help prevent or slow down dehydration. 

12.  KNOW YOUR LIMITATIONS!
This is supposed to be fun, so let have fun.  If you see the weather if going to be 40 knot winds, do you have the skills to do the 1st island or the mouth of Rudee Inlet?  The MMMBT or HRBT?  There are a thousand other spots that will be good fishing, but you will not be able to fish them.  No sense getting hurt or killed over a picture of a fish or bragging rights.  Look at the charts and know how to read them.  Use the elements to help you. Watch the tides and currents and find ways to make good use of them.

I am not trying to be the nagging nanny regarding safety, but this year I have pulled out too many people from the water.  The last thing I want is one of my friends to be the next body I recover...  Stay Safe Please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Helpful safety links:
http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/boating/wog/equipment-regulations.asp
http://floatplancentral.cgaux.org/download/USCGFloatPlan.pdf
http://www.thefloatplanapp.com/
« Last Edit: July 02, 2017, 09:38:21 AM by Rc109a »
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Offline AndyMedic

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Re: Safety this weekend
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2015, 06:57:17 PM »
right on
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Offline baydaze

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Re: Safety this weekend
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2015, 07:31:24 PM »
This should  be required reading for every participant this weekend!
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Offline mikecav

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Re: Safety this weekend
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2015, 09:10:07 AM »
This should  be required reading for every participant this weekend!


Agreed.  Great post.  Can we go over this at the Captains Meeting tonight?  Would be good for everyone to hear.
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Offline fshn_brb

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Re: Safety this weekend
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2015, 09:54:21 AM »
Ron, this post is amazing. Mind if we mave it later to the general forum and make it a sticky?
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Offline Rc109a

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Re: Safety this weekend
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2015, 08:09:38 AM »
Ron, this post is amazing. Mind if we mave it later to the general forum and make it a sticky?
No problems.  I made some grammatical corrections and made it a little easier to read.
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Offline mebe007

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Re: Safety this weekend
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2015, 08:24:13 AM »
Ron good speech last night. You guys had to make a difficult decision but ultimately it was the right one
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Offline Rc109a

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Re: Safety info that anyone getting in a kayak should read
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2015, 04:46:15 PM »
Someone asked me to break this down by the numbers.  While I know many would say these numbers are low, lets keep in mind that Kayak fishing is still in its infancy.  I included canoes as well to show you that we are all vulnerable.  To date there is no real numbers for paddle boards, but I do believe that there will be after this year.  

I would like to show you just in one year how our numbers compare.  Look at 2014.  You will see that year I included all fatalities that are classified under boating accidents.  This year to date there have been 7 fatalities.  No word on how many fall into the paddle sport community:
2014  INCIDENTS/FATALITIES
Canoes  7/5
Kayaks  2/1
All      61/16
2013  INCIDENTS/FATALITIES
Canoes  1/0
Kayaks  0/0
2012  INCIDENTS/FATALITIES
Canoes  0/0
Kayaks  0/1
2011  INCIDENTS/FATALITIES
Canoes  ?/5
Kayaks  ?/0

In 2011 they did not track paddle sports in the incident field that is why you see question marks.
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Offline RobChoi

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Re: Safety info that anyone getting in a kayak should read
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2015, 05:01:15 PM »
Those are alarming numbers. 

Thanks for sharing that.

Offline mebe007

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Re: Safety info that anyone getting in a kayak should read
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2015, 05:40:06 PM »
So it goes to show the more people on the water, the higher the probability of incident. Education and using that knowledge is key in this sport.  Pay attention people, let's not let natural selection win on this one.

Again, good job getting this info out there.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2015, 05:43:34 PM by mebe007 »
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Offline Snorkle

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Re: Safety info that anyone getting in a kayak should read
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2015, 08:42:15 PM »
Anybody know a good link, maybe to a PDF, for what the official USCG rules and requirements are for kayaks? I have been scouring the net, and can't find anything that isn't either unofficial, or written in Greek.

Offline fshn_brb

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Offline Spinners

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Re: Safety info that anyone getting in a kayak should read
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2015, 04:31:17 AM »

Offline Rc109a

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Re: Safety info that anyone getting in a kayak should read
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2015, 10:20:08 PM »
I know people have asked me what smart phone float plans I recommend or use.  There is one in the apps store that was developed by the US Coast Guard.  It has a lot of good features and links.  In it has a program that lets you develop a float plan and email it to three email addresses.  I am sure there is one for android as well.  I highly recommend you check it out.  Who knows, it could save your life!
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Offline Rc109a

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Re: Safety info that anyone getting in a kayak should read
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2016, 01:58:40 PM »
Made an update to the first post.  I know how some don't like reading long posts, so I cut the changes out and put it here:


11.  Cover up that skin. In the summer (and in the winter) don't forget to cover up.  I know a lot of you are looking for that perfect tan.  That is fine, but try getting the tan in a more controlled environment then when your fishing.  Some will even tell you that they do not get tan until they burn.  That is false.  A burn is just that, damage to your skin.  Sitting in a kayak in the sun is like sitting in a parabolic mirror.  You are sitting down in a depression in the water and the suns rays are being focused on you.  Help avoid getting burned and skin cancer by wearing loose fitting clothing and cover up as much exposed skin as possible.  A large brimmed hat is also advisable along with a face mask or head buff.  Even though you may wear long or short sleeve shirts, don't forget the sunscreen.  It will help protect the areas that accidentally or intentionally get exposed.  last but not least, don't forget about your eyes.  Get a decent pair with a head strap and polarized lenses. While it is possible to get sun burn in the eyes, they help with exposure headaches.  The eyes will not be straining to make things out in glare (helping you see potential problems) and this will help avoid other eye conditions that are common with those who work on the water such as pterygium (tuh-RIJ-ee-uhm).  These recommendations will not only keep your skin protected, but will keep your body cooler and help prevent or slow down dehydration.  
« Last Edit: March 25, 2016, 02:00:40 PM by Rc109a »
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