It isn't entirely clear
Posted by: andrewbolton on Feb-02-14 8:05 PM (EST)
whether the lack of a PFD is truly causal to their demise or whether is more indicative of a greater problem, namely inexperience.
As consequential with regard to inexperience are insufficient skills and lack of knowledge. Furthermore, those deficiencies would lead to poor decision making and a lack of situational awareness that substantially increases risk.
The paddler that ventures into the sea without sufficient understanding of the weather, tides, cold, and "sea states" probably both lacks the skills to deal with the situation and lacks a PFD (as well as other requisite gear).
A quick google...
There's a few that were wearing...
But most did not.
(It is arguable this could have been much more gory if the paddler was still floating after the swans continued to maul the lifeless body.)
It's hard to say where the statistics come from, but it is pretty clear.
So what to do? Perhaps more education would be beneficial. None of my boats came with links to "getting started" videos.
Although most new paddlers buying rec boats to paddle around the bay aren't likely to sit through "Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown" or read Franco Ferrero, a basic instructional on currents, wind, consequences of capsize, cold, basic gear, etc... could go a long way toward prevention.
Recreational Kayak Paddle
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