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By TX Bay Fisher
I'm sure its been mentioned somewhere but i consider myself to have an excellent sense of direction but always keep a compass in my PDF. You cant count on GPS and i was once caught in the middle of the Laguna Madre when weather shifted, fog and clouds rolled in and everything looked the same color grey. One of the few times i had no idea which direction was which. Compass made it easy to get back where i needed to be but i could still hear boats running full out using their gps (scary)
By WisherFisher
There's too much to this post for my eyes to read through the whole thing, however, I'd like to add my tidbit relative to safety gear.

Get a good safety whistle. I personally recommend the "Storm Safety and Survival Whistle". It's dubbed, and really is, "the loudest whistle in the world". This thing is excruciatingly loud. I got one as part of my scuba gear. If your PFD came with that little "tweet" whistle, this is the best upgrade there is. Made In America and sold on eBay for less than $6
By Russ in Rockport
No,Doug--not just a good post--but a great post. I have not read every single post on the thread, but I do have a few comments I didn't see on the first couple of pages:

First, a really good PFD that surrounds your entire upper body is a great preserver of warmth as well as a flotation device.

Second, if it gets really, really cold and you have to shelter in place, the water prior to the front can be far warmer than being wet in the fast moving air. This should not be taken too far, though as the progress of cold weather continues.

Third, I did see the advice about wearing synthetics and agree with them wholeheartedly. I did not see anything so far about wearing a hat--for sun protection in the summer (along with plenty of fluids and electrolytes) and in the Winter for warmth.

Fourth, always carry a spare paddle. If you lose yours, it is like having an $80 thousand dollar bay boat with no motor. It's just easier to swim towing your Yak than the big boat.

Fifth, I am sure someone mentioned it but carry your cell phone in a water proof container and a WP VHF radio.

Sixth, this was covered repeatedly, but you couldn't hand me a winning lottery ticket if you required me to paddle anywhere, anytime without a GPS. I learned this when running in a power boat in heavy fog, from a cabin I had with some no good fishing buddies right by the Big Jetties in POC, to the Little Jetties and the ICW. I guess I was in the main channel and suddenly I heard the Mother of all foghorns go off--and a huge Crew boat had spotted my sorry little butt on radar. After that, I took a GPS, plotted a course about 200 yards off and parallel to the channel and ran in that way, then curved back to the ICW. A life saver.

Seventh, Paddling skills cannot be over-emphasized. Even if you are venturing only into shallow water, learning proper double blade technique, twisting at the waist and using upper back muscles rather than "arming it" will leave you less fatigued and able not only to enjoy your paddle but to respond positively and forcefully when and if danger threatens.

I agree with wearing some kind of PFD at all times, especially if alone.

Best regards,

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By jharry3
One thing you can do if you don't want to wear your life vest all the time is get a ski belt.
They are not a "Coast Guard" approved life vest so you will still need a legal one on board but a ski belt is a lot cooler to wear and if you happen to fall out it will keep you floating. Academy sells them in for different sized waists.
I started doing this when I was into kayak racing - I promised my wife I would always wear a PDF and this is how I did it - the regular vests were way too hot for high effort paddling.
Note that ski belts do not meet requirements for the Buffalo Bayou Regatta.
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By Kalait
Searching for Bilge pumps today I found one which pumps 8 gallons per minute cost $29.95 Seattle Sports Breakaway Bilge Pump from Austin Canoe and Kayak, my plan is to add tubing over the expulsion port to get water away from the boat.
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