Android77 wrote: »
The same people that say were hard to see are heading out to go dolphin fishing and somehow they can see a floating pallet a half mile away. It's just negligent boat operation and that's it. What if were a floating object that upon impact it would slam all there passengers to the floor or into the console. If you can't see further than the time it takes you to stop you are operating your boat recklessly and that's it. Just like drivers texting and talking on there phones.
jbdba01 wrote: »
I kayak all the time and have been for 10 years - I powerboat mainly in the summer, and have been for about 9 years.
I recall being off Anna Maria on a cloudy day in a moderate chop - about 300-400 yards out I saw a kayaker, but as I got closer lost him. He completely blended into the background or bobbed below the visible line (so no silhouette). I actually stopped to find him and then took pics to post it on a kayak forum. Kayakers are practically invisible out there in the right conditions. In addition to that most powerboaters are not used to seeing kayakers offshore. From my perspective it's still a novelty and the last thing I expect to see a mile or so offshore is a kayaker - granted it is becoming more common. Mind you a mile is not that far for a kayaker/paddleboarder.
Going to the video it took 30 seconds from seeing the boat to being on top of the kayaker. That's probably one good text or a good look at the weather on the phone, or he may have simply been on auto pilot and not looking carefully.
That horn is useless - until you're on top of it.
To me this isn't a function of targeting - this is simply a series of events that led to a close call. (aka the show "Seconds from Disaster" comes to mind).
The solution (IMHO) is to make your profile as big as possible. Flags, bright colors, strobes, skip cloudy days...whatever it takes because at the end of the day if the guy runs you over it won't make much off a difference who's at fault if the kayaker is dead/mauled. I would liken it to riding a motorcycle - you know that the odds of getting hit are much higher than in a car. People just look for cars - not motorcycles. The mind is conditioned to it. Same for kayakers - the profile is not what you look for
Now why he turned around and yelled at the kayaker...well I have first hand experience at that because I did the exact same thing. I was powerboating coming into Cockroach Bay around 9pm one night (no lights around there to illuminate anything) and I missed a kayaker by 5'. Never saw him - my buddy saw him as we passed. I was so shaken up by it I turned around an chewed his butt out. No lights in a channel. Last thing I want to do is have it on my conscience that I killed someone - regardless of whose fault it is. I said the exact same thing this guy did - "Get some friggin' lights or get off the water early." The kayaker (cracker) agreed - we shook hands at the ramp and went our ways, but I was more shaken up than he was.
IMHO - it was simply a series of events that led up to this - in the video you can see that the homes are illuminated by the lights and are clearly visible. In this case the kayaker has a low profile, no lights, appears to be solo, and the powerboat is coming straight on never deviating from his path. Just a bad set of events that almost led to a bad day on the water for both.
There's a reason that bikers are often found in big packs (a peloton) they are a ton easier to see.
On a side note I have 3 of these...they have a strobe mode. Had them for about 5 years - still works great.
More info here. I want to say I paid $27 for 3. It last forever and is solar powered. I use it with some frequency. I just velcro it to a rod - no extra poles or anything. I used to carry a q beam in the kayak, but have pretty much stopped fishing at night.
jbdba01 wrote: »
In my opinion the best the kayaker could have done here is had a q beam and lit up the sky. Mine was a 1M candle light; first thing I would do is shoot it upwards, if the powerboater keeps approaching angle it down, if they keep coming I put it right on them. I had one guy light me up because I lit him up - sounds fair. Just make sure you see me. I turned mine off, he turned his off. All good.
I little light like you see on those sticks is a good start, but just because it can be seen from 2 miles (like a spec) doesn't light you up. Biggie size it and carry a qbeam if you think you'll find yourself in dusk/dawn/night conditions.
I've also stood up and fully extended my paddle and waved it like mad. That works in daytime - this situation not so sure.
The horn is good for low sound situations - idle speed, stop, or "come rescue me". Otherwise it's useless. The wind and engines will practically make it impossible to hear until on top of him.
Reality is stuff is going to happen...I've been out on my skiff and almost plowed over by a 35' vessel. I had my lights on - he did not. It was night - I didn't see him until he was about 200' away. I had right of way, but who cares - I didn't want to hit that beast. I believe he was on autopilot. Close call - maybe....depends on what side of the equation you're on. I thought it was and was PO'ed.
Water is no diff than roads - there are plenty of people out there that are distracted by text, radio, calls, alcohol...just do the best you can to stay safe. Every time you go on the water there's a possibility you won't come back - same is true for when you get in a car.
My beef isn't with the guys just outside the swim buoys - it's the guys inside the slow zone doing 20-30. I see it every weekend...
It would be interesting to get a LEO opinion on what transpired. I suspect that had he hit him criminally there may have been some wiggle room, in a civil court the powerboater would have been toast.
I guess my final thought is that there's no way this guy meant to come that close to the kayaker...it's a sickening feeling when you come that close to hitting/killing someone. I know my hands were visibly shaking after I almost plowed over the kayaker without lights. I guarantee you the powerboater in the clip was rattled by what happened too (course he would have been on the winning side of the collision). That was about as close as you can get without actual hitting him. "Lived to fight another day." Learn from it and move forward.