Safety gear for using your kayak in the open ocean?
I scuba dive from my Ocean Kayak here in Hawai'i. The wife and I are
advanced divers but relatively new to diving off kayaks. Lots of folks talk
about how they dive off their kayaks here but nobody wants to actually show
you how it's done so we are learning the ropes on our own. We are slowly,
carefully, starting with shallow, near shore dives but working toward more
advanced, open ocean stuff. We find that we learn something new with each
dive. Safety is always the #1 concern. As we slowly learn and accrue
knowledge and our gear, what should be the order of priority? Here in
Hawai'i, it is very easy to be swept out into the open ocean. We carry a
gps, cell phones, and a vhf, along with extra water but obviously need more.
What is the group's opinion on various singling devices such as mirrors,
dyes, flares, strobes...? One person I spoke with went ballistic about a
first aid kit but it seems to be that if they don't find you, the band aids
won't be of any value.
P.S. Flame away McDuff. ;^)
I won't go ballistic about a first aid kit, but I would recommend at
least a basic one in EVERY situation. I carry one any time I'm going to
be away from "civilization" in any aspect, even a day hike in local
parks. You never know when you may have an accident with a dive knife
that isn't life threatening but could cause some other worse problem.
Besides, it's not a lot of weight when using a boat so not a real bother.
What you have listed that you already carry is a good start, but
requires power. I would say you always need at least one
signalling/location device that doesn't require batteries. Which one is
your personal choice but keep in mind the llimitations of each. Flares
are great at night...mirrors less so without a decent flashlight.
Mirrors are good in the daytime if they are large enough, but on the
water, there is a lot of glare so a small mirror will just blend in with
glare off of waves. Strobes are again, good at night but less helpful
in the day unless you have a colored lense or bulb on them. Dyed smoke
is good only if it can be seen, so that's a daytime device but a highly
visible one if there isn't a strong wind.
Just consider when you are likely to be out and purchase your gear
accordingly. If it were me, I'd take a strobe (which every sea going
boat should have in my opinion), a mirror (and flashlight) as well as a
flare. Split this up between the boats (assuming you're each in
singles) if you want, but remember that you can also be separated from