Author Topic: Safety info that anyone getting in a kayak should read  (Read 6362 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...

1.  Have a float plan
Does anyone else besides who you may be fishing (or other fellow yaker) with know where you’re going?  Do they know what you’re driving or where you’re 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)?

    A.  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 you’re 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.

2.  WEAR YOUR PFD!!!!!!!!
There have been 8 fatalities this year to date (2018/2017).  Guess what they all have in common?

3.  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.

Safety Equipment Required:
A.  Proper fitting PFD
B.  Sound producing device
C.  Night time:
   a. A handheld flashlight or torch
   b. Flares if on coastal waters as per definition:  The following points will be used as the “cutoff points” for enforcement of the visual distress signal regulations on the coastal waters in Virginia. These points can be found on the appropriate nautical chart.

-Entrance to Hampton Roads up to where the waterway is reduced to 2 nautical miles which is a line drawn between Old Point Comfort and Fort Wool.
-York River up to where the waterway is reduced to 2 nautical miles which is a line drawn between Sandy Point and Tue Point, which is in the vicinity of Tue Marshes Light.
-Mobjack Bay up to, but not including, the Severn, Ware, North and East rivers.
-Entrance to the Piankatank River where the waterway is reduced to 2 nautical miles which is a line drawn from Cherry Point at Gwynns Island across the river to the opposite shore, which is in the vicinity of Piankatank River Lighted Buoy 6.
-Rappahannock River up to where the waterway is reduced to 2 nautical miles, which is a line drawn from Parrott Island to Cherry Point, which is just before you get to the first highway bridge.
-Those parts of the Pocomoke and Tangier Sounds which fall within Virginia.
-Where the uncharted inlets of the Atlantic Ocean are reduced to 2 nautical miles in width.


    A.  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. 

    B.  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 you’re 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 you’re 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.

    C.  Lighting.
Make sure you understand Coast Guard and Virginia rules regarding lighting of unpowered vessels.  Do not decorate your vessel up with fancy running lights (red/green/all around white) unless you are prepared to act like a motorized vessel.  Keep your lighting in according to regulations.  If anything, make yourself look odd or out of place.  You want a motorized vessel to look at you and slow down, not try to compete for the right of way.

RULE 25: SAILING VESSELS UNDERWAY AND VESSELS UNDER OARS
(a)     A sailing vessel underway shall exhibit:
sidelights;
a sternlight.
(b)     In a sailing vessel of less than 20 meters in length the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Rule may be combined in one lantern carried at or near the top of the mast where it can best be seen.
(c)     A sailing vessel underway may, in addition to the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Rule, exhibit at or near the top of the mast, where they can best be seen, two all-round lights in a vertical line, the upper being red and the lower Green, but these lights shall not be exhibited in conjunction with the combined lantern permitted by paragraph (b) of this Rule.
(d)      A sailing vessel of less than 7 meters in length shall, if practicable, exhibit the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) or (b) of this Rule, but if she does not, she shall have ready at hand an electric torch or lighted lantern showing a white light which shall be exhibited in sufficient time to prevent collision.
A vessel under oars may exhibit the lights prescribed in this rule for sailing vessels, but if she does not, she shall have ready at hand an electric torch or lighted lantern showing a white light which shall be exhibited in sufficient time to prevent collision.
(e)     A vessel proceeding under sail when also being propelled by machinery shall exhibit forward where it can best be seen a conical shape, apex downwards.  A vessel of less than 12 meters in length is not required to exhibit this shape, but may do so.


4.  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.

5.  Know your environment.
Before you decide to get underway have you checked the weather?  Are you familiar with the various types of clouds and how they help you understand various weather patterns?  Did you check the tides before you let?  You can use these to help your trip by working with them and not against them.  This also goes with the current.  Many think that the current and the tides are the same, but they are not. 

29.1-744.3. Slacken speed and control wakes near structures.
It shall be unlawful to operate any motorboat, except personal watercraft, at a speed greater than the slowest possible speed required to maintain steerage and headway when within 50 feet or less of docks, piers, boathouses, boat ramps, or a person in the water, unless such person in the water (i) is being towed by the motorboat or (ii) is accompanying the motorboat, provided that such motorboat is propelled by an inboard motor.


6.  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.

7.  Hydrate and eat.
Hydration even in the winter is very important.  You’re 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.

8.  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. 

9.  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.

10.  Know your kayak
Do you fully understand your kayak?  Do you know what it is capable of?  Not just talking about what kind of weather it can handle, but its capacity and stability? Try your kayak out in different situations.  Many will respond in ways you did not expect.  Get out and in a safe environment and try to overturn it.  Then see how easy it is to get it back upright and reboarded.  If you’re not comfortable doing this, then reconsider your options and be very picky about the weather and other environmental options.  Also look at the type.  Is it a sit on top or sit inside.  While I do not advocate one or another, they are very different and require a different type of skill set in order to recover from emergencies.  Yes, every capsized kayak is an emergency until the kayaker is safely onboard and out of harm’s way.

11.  Do not go alone.
Some say misery loves company, but in this case you could be saving each other’s life.

2017 INCIDENT/FATALITIES
Canoes  3/2
Kayaks  4/3
All      75/13
2016 INCIDENT/FATALITIES
Canoes  4/5
Kayaks  3/3
All      42/21
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

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: February 28, 2018, 06:22:51 PM 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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