|Joan, "behind" a wave - but seen.|
It's not about fashion, the whole idea is to be seen - by one another, but most especially, by other vessels, large and small, fast and slow. Fashion may well be all about being seen, but for paddlers, it's about enhancing safety. Since kayakers are "captains" of some the smallest, lightest, and most vulnerable "ships" on the ocean, we want to make very sure that we're "stand outs" on the water. Not talking paddling style here - we're talking visibility!
Although there aren't large numbers of folks kayaking during the winter months, it's always a little surprising to come upon a paddler wearing colours or paddling a boat that "blends" with the sea and sky. Not to appear judgemental here with regards to personal choices but let's face it, "blending" with the marine environment is like driving in the dark - with lights extinguished. It's risky. It's a bit like flying at night with the radar and the anti-collision lights turned off.
As do many, we pack a bunch of "visibility" items that include: detachable Scotty incandescent SEA-Lights, a Princeton Tec emergency Aqua Strobe, headlamps, extra flashlight, "pencil" flares, and lots of reflective tape on boats, paddles, and outerwear. Even the deck rigging has helpful reflection. None of these items are expensive - and they're worth every penny. We may not plan to be on the water after dark but in the event that it happens (after all, "stuff" can happen, right?), it's just good planning and preparation.
|In beam of headlamp.|
One certain way for padders to enhance safety on the water? "Show" our colours. Additional thoughts on this? Other suggested "visibility kit" items?
Top image: A balmy winter day on the Salish Sea, just off Gabriola Island.
Second image: Added this one to show how effective reflective tape is under beam of single headlamp. (Crossing Saltspring Island to Maple Bay)