-- Last Updated: Feb-07-13 10:56 AM EST --
First, do you or the potential buddy know how to do rescues or braces properly? If neither of you does, even finding out how much won't work is a good way to get hurt. Hauling this boat up and over to empty out the water in an on-water assisted rescue is a very good way to hurt the rescuer's shoulder or have a bungie snap and the boat slides back into the swimmer's head. Braces done wrong are not nice to joints either.
If you want to find out how this stuff should work, find some pool sessions if you can near you. Then figure out what can transfer.
As below, people have added perimeter lines to a boat like this. Your choice there - whether to work up this boat or get some seat time and figure out if you want to look around for another.
As to the wave thing - people focus too much on height by itself. If you are caught in a sudden weather change on open water one foot may be more than you can handle and you capsize, on a calmer day with less wind long three foot rollers in an ocean bay could be no problem at all.
The biggest factor in avoiding capsize is the paddler. If you think that 1 to 2 foot waves are big, you are more likely to stiffen up which of itself can take a boat over. I know a guy who finally managed to capsize his Pungo, all by himself on a calm day, just two weeks after we paddled with him and I told him he was going to capsize himself because he was so stiff. I still don't think he understands what I meant unfortunately.
That said, a boat's hull is designed for a given purpose, and boats like the Conduit are NOT designed for dimensional water. This is something with which the maker agrees - from Perception's site: "A great boat for touring lazy rivers or doing some exploration on smaller lakes."
Note that in both of the above-mentioned cases, the shore is not going to be too far away for a decent swimmer to reach.
I get the sense that you got a boat which has capabilities less than your goals. Go get some basic skills, then consider moving up thru used boats.
And you seem to be looking for a hard and fast answers here - not likely to happen. My husband and I spent a few summers taking Swifties out into the middle of a small bay at dusk to look at things like an eagle's nest - that trip was absolutely dumb but we got away with it. However, we were never dumb enough to try crossing a channel to go a half mile out to a different island, other renters from this set of cabins did try and capsized. A few years ago a young man on his honeymoon in Bar Harbor went out in a Swiftie, and very likely never got more than a football field away from shore. They found his body a couple of days later.
The difference between the tragic accident and getting away with it on the water is how close you are to shore, the temperature of the water and the blink of an eye where something gets away from you. And a hell of a lot of luck - we have at least one moment where a simple change in the wind direction would have turned a messy but recoverable situation into a newspaper story. Anyone who paddles long enough has one of these, or more. So being able to recover from a problem is huge.