...Class 3: Whitewater, medium waves, maybe a 3–5 ft drop, but not much considerable danger. May require significant maneuvering. (Skill Level: Experienced paddling skills).
Running a river is not analogous to sea kayaking on one of the Great Lakes. On a river you have shore boundries that will constrain your course to a finite band defined by the topography of the shoreline. You don't have to contend with breaking waves, rip currents, or winds blowing you off shore.
White water kayaks are distinct from sea kayaks for some of those those reasons.
There have been days when Erie is nearly perfectly flat but an off-shore wind can kick up and pretty soon you are going to start to wonder if you can make that 100 yards back to shore. If not you'll be spending the next day trying to explain to the Ontario Border Patrol what you're doing in Leamington without a passport.
Even asking the question if a Sea Eagle kayak would be the ticket suggests to me that it might be better to not hit the Erie waters.
Going out on Erie, one always has to assume the worst and one to three footers on Erie can be a problem for even experience kayakers. I've been out on two to four foot days and had less trouble (or fun) than on some of the 1 to 3 ft days where the water had lots of chop. The last time I was out on Erie the waves weren't particularly big but the chop was knocking me all around. I doubt that I could have handled an inflatable on that day.
In my opinion an inflatable is not appropriate for Erie, especially with a kid along for a ride... but hey, the OP has gotta make that call for himself. I'll be sure to have my towline with me:)
PFD's (Life Jackets)
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