when sea kayaking, I use a tether from paddle to boat. If I hold onto the paddle, I have the ability to anchor the boat and keep it, if not completely under control, at least within reach to recover it quickly.
In areas where there is moving water and potential obstructions/strainers I don't use a tether. The benefit is that I can, at any time I can release the paddle and swim (though I've yet to be in a situation where this would be necessary).
And yes, wind, waves, and currents can make it very difficult to impossible to retrieve an errant boat. Even if fellow paddlers can recover the boat, towing it back to the swimmer is a tedious and rather risky proposition. It is better to have some way to ensure they don't become separated as they did in the video.
Touring Kayak Paddles
Shirts / Tops
Kayak & Canoe Outriggers
Kindle / iPad Cases
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