-- Last Updated: Nov-26-08 8:01 PM EST --
I always enjoy Ken's articles. I would suggest that you consider adding a road flare in a ziplock bag to your survival/rescue kit. Not as a signal device, but as a fire starter. They will consistently start a fire of the most saturated wood. I have used them many times to start fires for other unprepared paddlers.
I would also recommend that you always carry a throw rope and that you practice using and repacking it. Remember that throwing on dry land is quite different from throwing from your boat where you will have to throw sidearm. Learning to quickly repack the rope is essential. I feed the rope over my shoulder if I need to repack in a hurry. One last tip: always throw your rope upstream of your victim. It will float right to them. If your throw misses downstream, the rope will float away from your victim. They may attempt to swim to the rope, but usually the current will not let them close the gap. Hope these tips help.