Kayaking Technique Forum

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Re: Regional Distinctions.
In Response To: Eat, Pay, Get Out ()

: Reasonable people can disagree about things. In this case, we see things
: differently.

In the Great Lakes where you're paddling, shipping channels may be relatively straightforward and easy to avoid...except for examples like the one you stated.

Where Tim lives, there are a plethora of shipping lanes, running in various directions, and a paddling crossing of any distance will require the crossing of a shipping lane.

The Puget Sound also has a Vessel Traffic Service that you can contanct on your VHF to help coordinate your crossing. If you do it within the already rigid framework of rules and regulations, they'll help you do it safely. The powers that be don't want to see you get splatted any more than you do. But, you must do it their way.

: Next, are some common sense precautions like turning on your VHF and
: switching to the channel for ship pilots so you can monitor commercial
: voice traffic. Next is line of sight... can you actually see any ships
: approaching? Is your vision unobstructed? Is there fog that obscures
: vision? If so, don't go. Wait until the fog lifts. Are wind and sea
: conditions good? If not, don't cross... wait until they are better. If on
: the ocean, are the tides right? If not, wait until they are. Do you have
: the proper safety equipment in case something bad happens? If not, don't
: cross. Are you rested and fresh so you can paddle hard across the lane? If
: not, don't cross.

I don't see how what you're saying disagrees with anything Tim has said. He has been advocating safe crossings all along.

: Finally, there is the matter of your course. The object should be cross the
: lane as quickly as possible so you spend as little time as possible. Your
: course should be at a right angle across the narrowest part of the
: shipping lane, if that is at all possible.

Not "if that is at all possible". You must cross the shipping lanes at a 90* angle. It's in the Colregs.

: My point is that when you go into a shipping lane you are going in harm's
: way. Nothing can change that. The paddler must be especially cautious and
: on the alert. A single lapse of attention can have the most dire
: consequences. In crowded lanes, avoidance is superior to crossing
: regardless of experience, training, or ability. If you MUST cross, then do
: so cautiously, wisely, and with the proper respect for the danger.

: If you succeed at crossing, don't imagine for one minute that a crowded
: shipping lane is any less dangerous the next time. Don't expand your
: repetoire of destinations based upon being an accomplished, expert
: shipping lane crosser. Don't say that shipping lanes are not an obstacle
: because I know how to cross them. If you think this way, you are playing
: Kayak Frogger and may well get splatted.

They are still an obstacle, and they are still dangerous, but we can cross them, and they are not altogether insurmountable.