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coast guard and kayaks

Guest _rick

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It appears this safety symposium was taught by Dick H (osprey sea kayak) who is also an auxiliarist. My guess is that the ACA quick start was the template. Vessel examiners also have checklists for what required equipment is necessary in each state and inspect them similar to a power or sail boat. Paddle craft and "non boaters" such as fisherman, hunters etc that use boats as incidentals are targets for the safety awareness programs.

Sadly, there is not many paddlers in the auxiliary or auxiliarists that are paddlers to truly get the word out. NSPN is fortunate to have a handful that are both. I have heard rumours that there may be a safety event on the north shore if a suitable venue was found.

Rick S and Paula R provided a rescue and self rescue demonstration for the active watch at Surfstation Merrimack River earlier this year. It was also observed with great interest by 2 past commodores and the division 3 auxiliary staff. Not much in the way of publicity however it was an eye opener for everyone.


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Four or five years ago in May, a couple dozen NSPNers and a few others attended a kayaker-CG event at the Merrimack station. It was a nasty day with hard rain and blowing. If I remember correctly, Jed initiated it in collaboration with Al Johnson, the CG's Recreational Boating Specialist. The audience was not the uninformed general public but rather some more experienced paddlers interested in the CG operating and SAR methods.

After a long Q&A on SAR with the Coasties indoors, a few NSPNers went out on the river to test the CG radar's ability to detect kayaks on the water--a perennial concern. Jed and Keith A. and another (was it Ciro?) went out in a very stiff breeze and 2' chop. Entertainment was provided by the creative assortment of methods and materials they wore to increase detection (I could swear one of them wore a collendar on his head but maybe it was foil under a watch cap). Basic conclusion: kayaks are pretty much invisible to radar, especially in chop.

Some of the younger CG cadets jumped into the water with their heavy duty drysuits on, without much purpose that we could tell except to float around behind the warf.

We all then got a tour of their big aluminum boat, including a squeeze into the bridge and a peek at the radar.

I came away that the CG had as many myths about what kayaks can do and how they do it as paddlers had about the CG.

Good vibes and a lot of fun. We left saying we should really build a regular relationship, take some of them out on a paddle, collaborate for public education, etc.

A more technical discussion of visibility to radar is posted separately.


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