-- Last Updated: Apr-03-10 7:03 PM EST --
A beginner, just getting into kayaking (from her profile), has no self rescue skills, and can't swim(according to a significant other?).
Asking strangers if they solo; because (in all liklihood), she is interested in soloing, and is seeking support, OR " the answer she wants to hear".
I'm betting significant other doesn't think she should be soloing.
Many of the strangers tell her what "they do", but don't really address the central issue.
The lady can't swim!
Obvious(I've heard all of them) rationalization; "Lots of people who paddle can't swim; they are ok if they wear their pfd".
My "personal opinion": Learn to swim before considering soloing, and paddle with a partner until you can swim; even if you always wear a pfd.
Preferably a partner who knows CPR.
On a wide, moving water river, or in the middle of a lake, you are not going to "float" to shore.
You will also not "float" out of harm's way if you are on a moving water river & you capsize "upstream" of a strainer.
You will not float to shore if you capsize, and injure yourself in deep water.
If the water is cold; how long do you have before you start experiencing hypothermia? How long will it take you to "float" to shore.
If your dump bag is in your boat when you capsize, will you need it's contents? Can you get to it if the boat is drifting downstream, or will the boat wait on you to float to it?
How long will it take you to "float" to your boat, retreive your dump bag & then "float" to shore?
If someone who is paddling with you capsizes & injures themselves in deep water, will your lack of swimming skills be a positive or negative factor?
You happen upon a "stranger" who is in the middle of a lake or a river, and needs your assistance.
Will your help them?
Will your lack of swimming skills be a positive or negative factor?
Substitute stranger for a loved one.
I could be wrong..........
Ex Lifeguard Instructor
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Ex Canoeing Instructor
Ex Advanced Swiftwater Rescue Instructor
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