when sea kayaking, but I tether the paddle to the boat, not to me. As long as I have the paddle, I have the boat under control.
Oceans aren't like rivers, they don't move under you. Rather, what happens is that the air can move your boat away from you quite rapidly. High winds after a wet exit can separate you from a boat very quickly, perhaps quickly enough that the boat will be out of reach before your head is above water. This is not something you wish to happen when you are far from shore. I have often been 2-3 miles offshore and that is a long swim home :). Since there is no risk of entanglement in such conditions, the tether is fine.
On moving water, however, which isn't often, I truly dislike the idea of having anything that is either loose or which adds to the profile of the boat (I even stow the pump, fishing rod, food, and water inside the hull). I've seen how badly rope, line, boats, paddles, etc. can become entangled in moving water to have a healthy appreciation for the white water folks aversion to using tethers.
Free Standing Boat Racks
Kayak Deck Gear Bags
Touring Kayak Paddles
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