For those of you that have been kayaking for awhile, how long was it before you kayaked alone? Were you on a lake or did you go down a river? Okay ladies, do you go kayaking by yourself or do you always have someone with you?
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Posted by: angstrom on Apr-03-10 7:37 AM (EST)
We started by taking a couple of sea kayak classes in which we practiced self-rescue. We knew we wanted sea kayaks, but couldn't afford two at once. We bought one single kayak and took turns paddling(in appropriate conditions) until we decided on and could afford a second boat.
Posted by: zenrider on Apr-03-10 7:46 AM (EST)
Posted by: mjflores on Apr-03-10 8:58 AM (EST)
Is there a difference between paddling a yak by yourself, and going out in a canoe by yourself?
Although safest to paddle with a|
Posted by: ricknriver on Apr-03-10 9:32 AM (EST)
buddy, solo paddling can be a great escape and exploration. Please just be sure you can self-rescue or walk to shore, wear a well fitted life jacket, file a float plan, dress for the weather, wind, and water, carry a spare paddle & clothes, have water & snacks and a bit of first aid gear, some emergency signalling stuff (little compass, map, mirror, whistle, smoke/flare(s), and have good communications - cell phone in a waterproof pouch (be sure you have service). Most fit in a dry bag or two. Others may have more hints. Enjoy, R
Been paddling alone from the get go|
Posted by: kayamedic on Apr-03-10 9:40 AM (EST)
Kayakmedic -- trip reports?|
Posted by: gingernc on Apr-03-10 3:24 PM (EST)
Kayakmedic, I do like the sound of your postings about long trips. Do you write up your trips the way JackL does?
More to the story...|
Posted by: old_user on Apr-03-10 10:03 AM (EST)
Kathy neglected to mention that she can't swim. And that she doesn't have a self-rescue.
There is more to everyones story|
Posted by: kayamedic on Apr-03-10 10:13 AM (EST)
and I think the place to start with is instruction.
Posted by: bowrudder on Apr-04-10 7:45 AM (EST)
Posted by: mjflores on Apr-03-10 10:20 AM (EST)
I'm going to say this as nicely as possible. Kathy, please learn to swim!!! If you can learn to paddle a boat..you can learn to swim. There is no such thing as an avid paddler that hasn't tipped over at least once. Even if someone is there, and even if you have a pfd, when you tip you're in danger and plenty of people drown even with company around and while wearing a pfd every year. Please dont be one of them. All public pools and most gyms with a pool offer swimming lessons. Take the time to learn to swim, you'll be glad you did...and will probably feel empowered doing so. Put away your kayak until you can swim, none of us want to read about you drowning on here.
Posted by: guideboatguy on Apr-03-10 6:56 PM (EST)
I never learned to swim when I was a kid. I developed quite a fear of water, and in spite of taking swimming lessons a few times, never made real progress. I discovered an easy opportunity to learn to swim as a young adult, and by that point, I was sensible enough to give it my best shot in spite of my uneasiness around water. This was before I became such an avid paddler, but I did spend a lot of time in small boats, and figured learning to swim only made sense.
Posted by: suzanneh on Apr-03-10 10:20 AM (EST)
When I first started paddling, I would paddle alone anywhere I would swim alone.
Posted by: jimx200 on Apr-03-10 12:36 PM (EST)
80% of the time I solo kayak on our rivers and lakes in N. California. Not completely solo as my Border Collie is my paddle partner and rides in back on my Tarpon 160. Both of us wear a PDF! Might add that in the winter/spring months when water is cold, I almost always paddle with a friend(s) as cold water can be deadly. But for warm weather, nothing beats a 2-3 day paddle trip, dog on board, quiet, peaceful, snapping photos, camping under the stars...almost a religious experience when in the mountains and star gazing.
Never paddled with another|
Posted by: old_user on Apr-03-10 1:15 PM (EST)
All of my trips have been solo. No wait. One time my wife went with me, but she was in the inflatable tahiti and didn't enjoy it much.
paddling alone -- it's about judgment|
Posted by: gingernc on Apr-03-10 3:22 PM (EST)
I do most of my paddling alone on an inland lake in North Carolina -- though I wish I lived about 150 miles closer to the saltmarshes and blackwater streams that I love. My lake is pretty benign; your river may not be. But there might be other, safer places for you to paddle alone. (I started out on a small reservoir.)
Posted by: old_user on Apr-03-10 5:34 PM (EST)
started solo from the get, still do it majority of the time. I like lakes, all sizes.
Still pond on a moonlit night:: Heaven!|
Posted by: Waterbird on Apr-03-10 5:49 PM (EST)
I've been kayaking solo for many years---ponds, lakes, sheltered ocean harbors, flat rivers, day, night, March through December. I've been in conditions that made me nervous a few times, but have never had a mishap on the water (ok, just one: 20 feet from shore, caused by a dog). I love solo kayaking. Keys to safe solo kayaking:
Posted by: thebob.com on Apr-03-10 6:32 PM (EST)
Posted by: Waterbird on Apr-03-10 9:01 PM (EST)
Sorry, I didn't realize she couldn't swim when I replied.
Not "signifcant other"...|
Posted by: old_user on Apr-04-10 9:15 AM (EST)
But I am Kathy's "significant brother!" and primary paddling partner.
Posted by: Angell on Apr-04-10 11:54 PM (EST)
In response to your last, Jeff, Kathy and I have emailed back and forth a couple times - discussing the possibility of paddling together, but I have not followed up.
no paddling partner options?|
Posted by: old_user on Apr-05-10 12:07 PM (EST)
North Carolina is a paddler's paradise. There are meetup groups & yahoo groups which are paddling-centric. Adventure groups which include kayaking. Paddling clubs which can help her w. paddling skills as most offer skill sessions, esp. early in season.
Posted by: pblanc on Apr-03-10 6:34 PM (EST)
Posted by: kobzol on Apr-03-10 8:06 PM (EST)
since I know how to swim I have no idea what it feels otherwise but I'm thinking that if I wear a PFD I do not really need to know how to swim because I'm being held up by the pfd. After that realization it's just moving your hands and feet to move along isn't it?
On moving water you have to be able|
Posted by: kayamedic on Apr-03-10 8:31 PM (EST)
to effectively body ferry at least to an eddy before something bad comes up..so some swim technique is needed solo.
Posted by: thebob.com on Apr-03-10 9:38 PM (EST)
comfort in water|
Posted by: NateHanson on Apr-04-10 8:24 AM (EST)
Generally, I would guess that non swimmers are much less comfortable in the water in an emergency. Yes, staying afloat and moving your arms isn't that hard if you're in a pfd. But I'd guess that most non swimmers would be susceptible to panicking if they are unexpectedly in the water, especially if alone.
I'm not sure why|
Posted by: jonsprag1 on Apr-03-10 9:51 PM (EST)
Yes, but ...|
Posted by: LittleRed on Apr-03-10 10:31 PM (EST)
Judging by the names of the Original Poster and the poster who reported she can't swim or self rescue (both have SHOAF as last name), I'm going to go out on a limb and figure one reason this question was asked is to settle a difference of opinion.
Not sure what ladies has to do with it|
Posted by: Celia on Apr-04-10 1:04 AM (EST)
canoe self rescue|
Posted by: pblanc on Apr-04-10 10:26 AM (EST)
People should realize that for normal mortals, self rescue from a capsize in a canoe on a lake or river means swimming the boat to shore, or at least into a good eddy in mid river, from which the boat can be emptied and reentered.
Talking to me or in general?|
Posted by: Celia on Apr-04-10 10:53 AM (EST)
I have a drysuit - two actually since I decided to put new gaskets on the one that has patches on patches, so I could preserve the new one longer.
I was speaking in general|
Posted by: pblanc on Apr-04-10 12:25 PM (EST)
to the orininal spirit of the thread.
Posted by: trout on Apr-04-10 8:42 AM (EST)
..........from the start, I'm a shift worker, so I have to go when i can. I tried to get others interested but have struck out.
Posted by: redrocket on Apr-04-10 9:34 AM (EST)
My mom told me I was going by myself as little as ten. It was a slow moving river though and not far at all. Before you guys start blasting my parents, they had me paddling my own craft from a young age. I just bought two kayaks for my kids (5 and 6), it is going to be an interesting summer to say the least.
Posted by: captainsmollett on Apr-04-10 10:35 AM (EST)
I have no friends so I go alone.
started paddling alone|
Posted by: LeeG on Apr-04-10 11:30 AM (EST)
Learn to Swim - Teach your kids to swim|
Posted by: seadart on Apr-04-10 11:31 AM (EST)
Not being able to swim.|
Posted by: zenrider on Apr-04-10 11:34 AM (EST)
I don't see how that makes a huge difference in deciding if you paddle alone. You would always wear a life jacket alone or single. If you go with a friend and don't wear a jacket, your friend gets to watch you drown. If you go alone and don't wear a jacket and drown, they get to read about you in the paper. Not a lot of great choices there.
Not trying to sound sarcastic...|
Posted by: old_user on Apr-04-10 3:02 PM (EST)
but I was wondering exactly how do people manage to drown even with a PFD on? I've heard people in this forum state that in the winter, wearing just a PFD just makes it easier for people to find your body (death due to hypothermia), but what exactly are the factors that would cause one to drown in spite of having a lifejacket? The only thing I could think of was a really strong undercurrent... anything else?
Posted by: pikabike on Apr-04-10 3:10 PM (EST)
I thought I read that Type III PFDs (most common type) are not designed to keep a person face-up in the water, merely to float their body.
^ you are right|
Posted by: old_user on Apr-05-10 11:25 AM (EST)
Type III (& for that matter Type V) PFDs do *not* keep the swimmer's face out of water. That requires consciousness & positive effort on the part of the swimmer.
How to drown in a pfd.............|
Posted by: thebob.com on Apr-04-10 3:33 PM (EST)
Posted by: old_user on Apr-04-10 4:08 PM (EST)
That's quite a list of ways to drown in spite of wearing a PFD... too many people (myself included, at times!) put too much faith in a PFD, and skimp on attention to safety details... thanks for sobering us up with that info.
Floating does not equal propulsion|
Posted by: pikabike on Apr-05-10 12:10 PM (EST)
A PFD only keeps your body at the surface of the water. It will not get you where you need to go. For that, you must swim.
Good examples, but ...|
Posted by: LittleRed on Apr-04-10 10:32 PM (EST)
Thanks for all the examples of how to die even while wearing a PFD. Now I'll never get on the water again. Just kidding (but good thing my Mom doesn't read this). Your examples do provide plenty of food for thought. But I also want to point out that in many of the examples you gave, a swimmer with a PFD could/would be susceptible to drowning, too.
Poster asked for examples...........|
Posted by: thebob.com on Apr-05-10 12:01 AM (EST)
Another way to drown in a PFD...|
Posted by: angstrom on Apr-05-10 10:38 AM (EST)
In "Essentials of Sea Survival"(great book!), there are references to people floating upright in type 1 PFDs who slowly drowned by inhaling spray and splash in extended high-wind conditions.
Really excellent post, Bob.|
Posted by: Angell on Apr-05-10 12:53 AM (EST)
Posts like yours contribute to saving lives. Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge!
Posted by: NateHanson on Apr-04-10 6:41 PM (EST)
The remarks about PFDs making your body easier to find in winter probably refers to the fact that in very cold water, people without appropriate immersion wear generally lose their ability to swim or get themselves back in a boat in minutes. So wearing a PFD will just float your useless body longer if you weren't dressed for the swim. It won't save you from the killer - cold water.
In rough water|
Posted by: seadart on Apr-04-10 7:08 PM (EST)
It is very common to drown in whitewater being pinned in your boat or upside down being flushed against a strainer, bridge abutment etc. You can be recirculated in a hydraulic or keeper hole and never be able to get air that is free of water and spray to breath.
Agree with Sea Dart|
Posted by: PJC on Apr-04-10 1:03 PM (EST)
and others here who have posted about swimming. I'm often surprised these days to find how many non-swimmers are paddling in spite of how much emphasis is placed on paddling safety now. It just "does not compute" very well.
Started off alone early on|
Posted by: pikabike on Apr-04-10 1:59 PM (EST)
Posted by: thomasd on Apr-04-10 9:08 PM (EST)
Kathy, I was paddling solo soon after buying a kayak. It was on one solo fishing trip the tide and wind turned on me and on reaching shore, I vowed to get professional lessons.
Gender can be an issue|
Posted by: LittleRed on Apr-04-10 10:42 PM (EST)
As a woman, I appreciate all of you who said gender isn't an issue when it comes to deciding whether to paddle alone. And I agree, when it comes to being safe boating, the issue is skill, not gender. However, being safe from crime can be a gender issue when alone, depending on where you are. For example, be aware of whether your take out location is also a party spot. Do you want to get to the end of your paddle alone and have a bunch of drunken yahoos there? At least if they're partying at the put-in, you could just change locations. But, at the end of the day, your options are limited. Alone, in a group, male or female, you should be aware of the potential for crime. But a single female may be taking a bigger risk.
Agree with that part|
Posted by: Celia on Apr-04-10 11:01 PM (EST)
I think I started this. I was talking about the whether being on the water is safe based on information from the paddler here and in an earlier thread where she seemed to say that at this point in time she had not worked on rescues. Maybe the not swimming thing was in there too - in any case it isn't new information that basic water survival skills may need some work.
The great equalizer|
Posted by: pikabike on Apr-05-10 12:16 PM (EST)
The crime aspect applies whether it's kayaking or anything else.
As one who solos often...|
Posted by: steve_in_idaho on Apr-05-10 1:11 PM (EST)
Posted by: thebob.com on Apr-05-10 6:20 PM (EST)
Very well stated opinions..........
fearless over 40|
Posted by: old_user on Apr-05-10 9:59 PM (EST)
i almost always go on my own. if the water is cold, i wear a wetsuit; i tell my family that if i show up dead on the river without a life jacket to look at my son in law who is probably trying to get my life insurance. i guess my point is, solo is fine, solo stupid is dead. i don't go beyond my skill level - yet i've seen some of the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises on the lake, by myself, that i'd have missed had i insisted upon company. be fearless, but don't be stupid. that is the trick from this solo woman kayaker.
if you solo|
Posted by: kayamedic on Apr-05-10 10:04 PM (EST)
Not sure it's worth it for the OP|
Posted by: NateHanson on Apr-06-10 2:19 PM (EST)
My impression is that the OP wants to do short day paddles on her own, for a few hours. A PLB or Spot isn't going to help her significantly, IMO, anymore than a float plan would. If she needs help, she'll need it either immediately (stuck in a strainer, bonked on the head, etc), or within a day (lost boat, stranded above rapids, broken limb, etc). Nothing's going to bring help immediately, and a float plan for a 4 hour trip will bring help an hour or two after your stated return time.
Posted by: kayamedic on Apr-06-10 4:31 PM (EST)
the best rescue device is your own head.
started out alone and did so for|
Posted by: thirstyturtle on Apr-06-10 2:48 PM (EST)
6 years...now i have gotten into sea kayaking i have found some gals that are as obsessed as i, we do skills and fun stuff to...but i still like to go alone. i now have the best of both worlds.amen!
Posted by: SmilinBeard on Apr-06-10 6:32 PM (EST)
First time I kayaked I was alone. It was at the boat club where my sailboat was so there were people around. I'd paddled canoe for years before that and soloed a lot. I didn't really go far the first time because the wind was kicking up and I was afraid of shipping water. Soon thereafter I got a skirt.
Posted by: KathyShoaf on Apr-06-10 10:36 PM (EST)
First and foremost....WOW. Thanks for all the responses. Now to address some things. First Jeff Shoaf is my brother and so far the one I paddle with (when I can get him to go). We took a couple of beginners lessons. One on a lake and the other on the Dan River. Now he brought up the issue of me not swimming. Last year when we started kayaking I told him I wouldn't do it without a PFD. So we both always wear our PFD's. For those of you that don't know, we went to Roatan off the coast of the Honduras's in March. This was to be a kayaking, snorkeling, shooting pictures trip. We both took our PFD's since we felt we'd be more comfortable in our own. Ended up Jeff couldn't snorkel, he couldn't keep his face in the water. I could snorkel and did so a couple of times. I always had my PFD on. I can float and swim on my back. I wouldn't want to do either for a long distance. I took swimming lessons years ago when I was in my 20's. I have carpal tunnel in both hands all the way up my arms and it can affect my neck. Because of this my arms aren't as strong as they use to be. As far as self rescue, I flipped out and while trying to get back in my SOT flipped out a couple more times. Why, because Jeff, my brother, was trying to tell me how to do it instead of being still and letting me get my wits back. I was laughing at myself and the water was knee deep or just a little above my knees. I bought my SOT which is 14 ft long and yes it is heavy. But its also very stable, tracks well and is manuverable. I always have my cell phone in a dry bag, plus water, snacks and a sandwich and yes, I always have a first aid kit consisting of hand warmers, bandaids, a heat sheet to wrap up in or use as a tent,a couple of different things to start a fire if needed, things like that. I also have a couple of carabingers and some kind of rope. None of this means that I can't drown. I've been trained as a first responder at my job. I'm not usually the one that panics when something goes wrong. I stay calm until everything is over, give it an hour or 2 and then maybe I fall apart. Why am I telling you all of this? Its simple all of you were kind enough to answer. Yes, I have thought about kayaking on my own. I work a rotating schedule. Out of six weeks I'm really only off a total of two complete weekends. I've been doing this job for 15 years and its always been hard to find anybody to do anything with. I'm 50 years old and still get lectures from my parents about the places I go alone....the mountains, riding around out in the country side, etc. I've also taken some plane trips by myself. Rarely have I had any problems. Once again, I'm not saying I won't/ can't have problems. I'm known as being a very dependable, responsible person. Jeff is a super smart computer nerd. I don't want to jinx either of us but I think he thought he was going to have a lot easier time learning to kayak than me. He does all this research bought DVD's and yet I'm the one that has to catch his kayak when he flips out all the time. He acts like I'm not aware of my surroundings and I don't pay attention. WELL I AM AWARE AND I DO PAY ATTENTION. The reason I flipped out that time was because I was coming through a small rapid, was going to turn around to make sure he got through it. I turned a little too soon and flipped out. I am out and about all the time. I've learned to follow my instincts about a lot of things. I'm grateful Jeff cares for me and I've said it before I think the world of him. We live in NC, its been in the mid to high 80's and I want to go kayaking. I like going down the Dan River. Its a small river but its like any river in that it can hide things. The river is about a 15 to 20 minute trip from mine or Jeff's house. I went there last Thursday to check the water temperature and it was cool. If I go kayaking I was planning on wearing my wetsuit and of course my PFD. I was going to get the guys at the Dan River Company to transport me & my yak back to my car when I got through. I'm not going to say I won't ever go by myself. But I'm able to do things in the middle of the week because of my work schedule and it beats the heck out of fighting the weekend crowds. I also plan on letting more than one person know what I'll be doing and where I'll be doing it.
It was pretty clear from the get go|
Posted by: kayamedic on Apr-06-10 10:45 PM (EST)
that you two had some sort of personal relationship and really cared for each other's well being.
Gender diff's maybe|
Posted by: Celia on Apr-07-10 12:00 AM (EST)
Posted by: thomasd on Apr-07-10 7:29 AM (EST)
K: there's a symposium coming up on Jordan Lake, perhaps an opportunity? Not sure how far it is for you or if you'd be interested, but a bunch of great folks and a time to share and teach.
Re: Kayaking alone|
Posted by: old_user on Apr-07-10 8:17 AM (EST)
Just a few responses...
Suggest you lose the family focus|
Posted by: Celia on Apr-07-10 11:37 AM (EST)
Posted by: pikabike on Apr-07-10 1:02 PM (EST)
I was about to say "Get a room, you two!" Evidently, being middle-aged doesn't cure siblings from bickering with each other ;-)
Long before I should have.|
Posted by: old_user on Apr-07-10 8:24 AM (EST)
I started out paddling alone and then a club began.
Posted by: angstrom on Apr-07-10 1:45 PM (EST)
East Coast Canoe & Kayak Festival
Regardless of the bickering...|
Posted by: old_user on Apr-07-10 2:21 PM (EST)
and he said she said. It sounds like you both are at least competent. Kathy has been in the water a few times and seem confident that she won't get into trouble.
you go girl|
Posted by: Ravenlocks on Apr-07-10 7:30 PM (EST)
Heck yeah. Have been paddling solo for 99% of the time since I got into paddling approx 9yrs ago. It is very peaceful; besides you can do/go where you want & not have to be bothered w/others wants/needs. Get out there & enjoy! With time your confidence will build & it will be second nature to you.