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Author Topic: Goddard park video, with winter kayaking message  (Read 466 times)

Tony M.

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Goddard park video, with winter kayaking message
« on: January 15, 2018, 10:42:06 AM »

   Due to the recent kayaking tragedy off Conimicut Point, I felt compelled to say something about kayaking in the colder months. The first part of this video is devoted to that message.
                                                         www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFz4NDaQwVs

                                                                                        Tony
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FredF

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Re: Goddard park video, with winter kayaking message
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2018, 08:26:45 AM »

One thing that needs to be discussed is the risk of kayaking ALONE--especially in winter.

I took a few kayaking courses when I first began to paddle. One word of advice I heard each time was NEVER PADDLE ALONE. Another word of advice I received was that "ideally" one should try to paddle with at least two other people, in other words, with a minimum group of three. As we all know, this isn't always possible and sometimes you're lucky to find just one other person to paddle with. To be honest, I've also paddled solo, but always in warm weather, calm conditions, and whenever possible tried to paddled as close to shore as possible.

I don't know how experienced the man who went missing off Conimicut Point had or whether he was properly dressed for the conditions, but the conditions were definitely not suitable for paddling, especially in a 10' kayak. Yet another thought has occurred to me. Even if the man were an experienced kayaker and was in a different boat, and had a bombproof roll, what if he capsized in the ca. 32-degree water and the shock of the cold water induced the infamous "involuntary gasp," which has been known to kill cold-water kayakers? In that case, the man would have drowned almost immediately after capsizing.

What do the rest of you think?
« Last Edit: January 16, 2018, 10:22:47 AM by FredF »
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Tony M.

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Re: Goddard park video, with winter kayaking message
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2018, 08:52:22 PM »

Hi Fred,
   Thanks for your input. Water activities alone is something that I have been doing for many decades now. I much prefer to go with others, but others are usually not available, especially in the winter, and especially when you go kayaking twice a week as I do. Being a Red Cross Certified Water Safety Instructor, it is something that goes against a fundamental tenet, which is "never go alone". I first started going spearfishing alone. The only times I ever ran into trouble was when I took others along...and the others were not newbies...two were scuba instructors. I have come to believe that it depends upon your psychological makeup, your experience, skill, conditioning, and knowledge...it's definitely not for everyone. In the winter while paddling alone, I scale way back what I am doing to be on the safe side, and even in the summer, if alone, I'm not as daring as when there are other competent paddlers present. If I am taking out some newbies, I am even more careful than when I go alone. Over the years, you learn how to safely be alone on the water. One example: if it is rough and windy, I'll only paddle on a path where the wind, in a mishap, would push me to a landable shore. Many time I have been out in a gale in Jamestown, but I hug the shore, and only paddle a path where the wind blows onshore. I feel perfectly safe and at home out there; over the years I have developed a good instinct about my well-being on the sea or in the bay. We take risks every day...I feel a lot safer out there than in the roulette game that is sometimes Route 95 on a Friday or Saturday night.
                                                                              Tony
« Last Edit: January 16, 2018, 08:55:41 PM by Tony M. »
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FredF

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Re: Goddard park video, with winter kayaking message
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2018, 09:39:41 PM »

Hi Tony,

With all due respect, my comments were not aimed specifically at you, but in context with the recent tragedy off Conimicut.

What happens when a paddler capsizes suddenly in freezing water? I know of a couple of people who've practiced rolling in water around the freezing mark, but if a paddler has not practiced? Even with proper clothing and gear, the face is likely exposed. Will being under water and the shock of the cold water ultimately be fatal? Moreover, there is also a point where age affects how much a person's body can deal with such a shock. In some cases, it may be unpleasant, i.e, the burning sensation of freezing water on your skin; in other cases, it could result in the involuntary gasp under water or even trigger heart failure.

i'd like to hear what other experienced winter paddlers have to say.
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Tony M.

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Re: Goddard park video, with winter kayaking message
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2018, 11:08:15 AM »

  Yes, the effect of very cold water on the face can cause big problems, even death. In my experience, it is an individual thing, and I have personally never experienced any bad effects, even from repeated exposures while winter kayak surfing. A newbie should definitely test him/her self to see if they are susceptible to this effect, WITH SOMEONE PRESENT TO HELP if need be. Also, you make a good point about the effect of age, so as you do age, you should check to see if it will be a problem, not assuming that since you were good to go at 35, you'll be O.K. at 67. For myself, I go surfing in the winter often enough to keep a continuous monitor on my response. And yes, kayaking alone IS a bad idea, unless you have significant experience, knowledge, skills, and the common sense to greatly scale back the challenges you subject yourself to. As an example, I very rarely make a significantly long crossing alone in the winter. Outside of short crossings (Jamestown to Dutch Island, or Bristol to Hog Island), conditions have to be flat calm (and forecasted to remain that way) for me to cross from, say Jamestown to Hope or Prudence Islands.
   The little I do know about the Conimicut case: 1.I believe there was a gale warning for later in the day 2. Conimicut has bad currents 3. I caught a glimpse on the news of the kayak, and the brand name was not of a serious kayak manufacturer, and apparently there were no bulkheads or floatbags. 4. an experienced kayaker would not use such a boat, especially in the winter in those conditions, so he probably had other problems, such as inappropriate thermal protection, no VHF, etc.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2018, 11:15:39 AM by Tony M. »
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