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Something to Consider

From: Nancy H
Sent on: Sunday, April 29, 2012 10:28 AM

Hi everyone,

At a recent meetup it became apparent that no one had anything with them to use as a means of emptying water from their kayak; no pump or bailer of any sort.  This surprised me!  It's a very basic safety item that you should consider carrying with you at all times.  (Of course, I should talk, not having had a pump with me either!)  A rogue wave or boat wake can put enough water into your kayak to make it unstable or make you cold as your lower body sits in the water.  If you don't want to spend the money on a pump, at the very least, you can make a bailer out of a plastic container (detergent bottle, clorox bottle, etc).  Just keep the screw top and cut the bottom off. Containers with a handle are best.  The nice thing about the store-bought pumps is that they are easily stored under your deck lines and they float in an upright position.

It's interesting that our laws only require a whistle and PFD, while in Canada they require a PFD, whistle, bailer and tow line.  Whistles can be virtually useless when it is really windy, but a bailer can be a lifesaver if you take on too much water.    If you come out of your kayak and need to re-enter it, you might not be able to empty all the water out and you will most definitely need a pump/bailer.  A paddle float should also be on your list of things to consider bringing along, but you need to learn how to use it. A lot of recreational kayakers do not consider or think that they will need these things, but when you do, you really do and you cannot necessarily count on others to have these items.



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