Reduced visibility padling

Creeping fog and the onset of darkness reduces visibility on the water and threatens the cohesion of a sea kayak group. Preparations should be made for the nearest suitable landing point.

The definition of fog is a visibility less than 1,000m (2,280ft) and, whilst this may be suitable for aviation, it is no use to the sea kayaker. Visibility reduced to 500m (1,650ft) at sea is probably a more useful definition.

Night paddling

There are inherent difficulties with paddling at night and often, with the onset of darkness, the most sensible course of action is to confirm the groups exact position, decide where is best to land and to make camp. If such a change in plans might delay the group’s agreed ETA contact with shore should be made informing them so.

Kayaking at night should be avoided unless a) trying to break a macho long distance record, in which case one can assume the kayaker has much experience and knows the issues involved or b) it is a clear moonlit night and the weather outlook is impossibly good.

Procedure

A kayaker with such reduced visibility imminent should double check position, move away from areas with shipping traffic, secure loose kit, attach a paddle leash, turn on lights or activate snap light sticks and, if in a group, start numbering off. Snap lights or glow sticks are a useful piece of kit in these conditions – each member can be given a different colour for ease of recognition.

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