-- Last Updated: Feb-23-13 12:55 PM EST --
If you just want a gimmicky looking knife to decorate your PFD, that's one thing. A lot of us have done that.
I've had knives with me as a serious paddler for 35 years, often on my PFD, and I don't recall one instance where I ever needed it for an emergency or rescue. Rescues and emergencies that need quick, life-saving action are most likely to arise in WW paddling. I have participated in scores of WW rescues, but none required any sort of instantaneous action with a knife. A few did involve eventual action with a knife, to cut Z-drag lines for example, but in all those cases any sharp pocket or belt knife would have served the purpose. In those days I mostly carried a fixed blade diving knife on my PFD, which finally rusted from complete disuse.
Recognizing that my PFD knives were mainly ornaments, I changed my philosophy. I decided to carry knives while paddling--on my PFD or belt or wherever--that would be the kind of knife that was more useful and functional for on-land and camping chores, where I often did use knives. So, I started carrying knives that could function both as a so-called rescue knife and a general purpose camping and EDC knife. Actually, I usually carry two such multi-use knives when paddling.
What kind of rescue or emergency situations do you think you will be in as a kayaker in Florida? What advantage does a fixed blade give you? How useful is a 2" or 2.25" blade, such as the ones you are contemplating in your OP? If it's the emergency cutting of ropes or straps, which is what a lot of people have in mind, I wouldn't want to work with a 2" blade. I want one quick, long stroke.
If you want a fixed blade, there is a whole raft of diving knives that have good blade sizes and quality steels that could be more useful out of the boat than many of the gimmicky and so-called rescue knives.
The advantages of the folder, to me, are that it is much more multifunctional in city, home and urban life than a fixed blade, and that you can get a much longer working blade in a shorter space. Space is important in a very restricted area such as a PFD. And with practice you can open a quality folder instantaneously--especially the Benchmade axis locks, which require virtually no practice--if you ever do encounter the very, very unlikely emergency situation in a kayak where you need a blade available in two seconds.
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