Kayak Fishing Club of the Palm Beaches

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Kayak Colors for Safety

There seems to be a trend in kayaks that I find disturbing.

More and more kayaks are coming in colors that could be dangerous to your health and maybe even your life. Cameo and colors that are hard for boaters to notice on the water and dark colors that get hot as “H” in the Florida sun seem to make up a larger and larger portion of new kayaks in stores right now.

Two kayaks that I see in this week’s ads have really super specs and look like great fishing kayaks, except that the only colors available are purple and black, red and black, pink and white, and the almost invisible on the water, light blue and white combo.

Come on folks, we know that those power boaters out on the water do not drink beer and are not impaired in any way, but even sober and alert drivers do not see dark colors on the water. Even my little red kayak is not such a good color. However, boaters are used to noticing orange on the water (emergency rafts and life vests are orange), so orange should be a good color and yellow and lime green are also very visible colors.

I have a kayak that is olive green and the very similar Manta kayak is lime green and there are some very real differences. One is the visibility on the water. Score that one for the lime green Manta. The other is the sun. The lime green kayak stays much cooler in the sun. The olive green one gets so hot it can burn your butt when you sit on it. Both of these kayaks are great for out in the ocean and choppy conditions, but the olive green one is just not seen well in the swell (OK, it should be swells, but it seemed like a good rhyme at the time).

The point is that color is very important when choosing your kayak. Stay with light bright colors like yellow, lime green, and orange. Use your head – white is too light and is not visible on the water and I do not know about pink.

What about your paddle? When looking for our buddies out on the horizon, we see the yellow and even (strange as it might seem) the white paddle going up and down way before the black and we see the paddles before we see the kayaks. Some of us have spray painted fluorescent colors on our paddles (if on a black paddle, spray paint white on before the color) and that really helps with visibility. There are lots of things we can do to be safer on the water, and choosing a good color for our kayaks (and paddles) is part of that.


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