Kayaking Technique Forum

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What's important to emphasize?

The thread on rolling and practicing got me thinking about the industry as a whole. The fact that most sea kayakers can't roll doesn't bother me a bit. I believe that most kayak buyers are recreational folks who purchase a stable touring boat and enjoy several outings a year with friends, a club, etc. in relatively protected water. Provided folks are well versed in rescue skills and wear good immersion protection, and are smart about their environment / limits, I think that's great. I will also say again that many of those very few who do learn to roll really do not have a roll at all. Unless they spend time surfing or river boating and practice rolling until it is instinctive, they will pull the skirt! I find it very hard to get folks to practice regularly.
So I think it's great that there are resources around for those wishing to pursue advanced skills, but the biggest problem I see by far is the rental system. Two days ago while at the barber a local pilot told me that they rescued an older gentleman crossing Rosario Strait at ebb. The guy was wearing cotton, was in a rental boat, and was exhausted. They pulled him aboard their boat. If we look at the fatalities that we know of it seems that many are the result of novices borrowing or renting kayaks. So I'd like to see more training applied toward rentals and mandatory immersion clothing, safet gear etc. Some of the rental people I see leaving my local marina are asking for trouble. So whether one has a roll or not is almost mute to me, as in my mind that's not even close to the root cause of sea kayaking fatalities.

Instructors/guides on the other hand should be technically very skilled wherever they get those skills. These are just my current thoughts.