On being seen..."reflection" for sea kayaking and running.
I must, first of all, tell you that I am taking a small, but calculated, risk writing this posting. You see, my contribution to our Annual Report is already overdue and I have been told in no uncertain terms that I'd better get it in, or else! Now, I took the "or else" (there was a twinkle in her eye) to mean that if I didn't get my report in pronto, something might be submitted on my behalf! Yikes, so yes, I will get my report(s) in very soon. I promise! Besides, I feel that those to whom I am responsible will forgive me for spending this time to blog on an essential item with regards to personal safety in the great outdoors!
So, I wanted to share a thought about "reflection" which is certainly an essential part of the kayaker's and the runner's "kit".
When we first moved to Vancouver Island, we were struck by the number of folks who walked or ran at night - and almost everyone wore reflection. A GREAT idea, especially since many of our Island roads are unlit and very dark after the sun goes down! Many wore the "construction" style vest, pictured on right - extremely effective and when you see it, you instinctively lighten up on the gas peddle. We carry one in the vehicle at all times. Never heard of anyone getting a ticket for impersonating a highway worker and great in the event of a road side emergency - you know you will be seen! The two pull-over reflective vests to the left are what we wear for road running, much of which, at this time of the year, is done in the pre-dawn darkness. Again, you know that you will be seen by oncoming traffic. Having said that, a headlamp or flashing bicycle-style LED lamp adds another layer of safety. An "altercation" with a vehicle is a no-win proposition, so just seems to make a lot of sense.
For paddling, my Kokatat paddling jacket, combined with the PFD provides lots of night-time visibility. We also applied reflective tape to the sides of the kayaks and along the rudder. As you can see, you're pretty visible. Even if you don't regularly paddle at night, "stuff" can happen, right? You might get delayed and even if you had never planned to be out after dark, it's nice to know that if someone ever needs to look for you, between the reflective tape and some emergency lighting, you will make their job a lot easier.
Being "seen" really is a matter of safety for paddlers, runners and night-time walkers. All right, so now I'd better get back to that Annual Report as I've just now been notified that I will most assuredly win the "prize" for being last! Can't wait to see what that will be!
Stay safe out there,
Top image: Entering Stuart Channel between Saltspring Island and Vancouver Island at sunset with the lights of Crofton to the port side.
SPECIAL NOTE:Yes, the middle picture, is indeed a partial image of a rare "HMKTV" - a High Mobility Kayak Transport Vehicle. Although often confused with a military version Hummer, by virtue of its extraordinary off-road capabilities, it is significantly smaller and infinitely more fuel efficient. This particular vehicle was only recently "de-classified" under code name "Geo" and authorized to be used in a civilian role. It can be seen transporting specialized marine craft around south Vancouver Island. A future posting will elaborate on some of its transport characteristics and capabilities. :-)