|As part of our safety considerations we planned for the worst case scenario - that we lost a kayak. Therefore each kayak contained food, shelter and clothing for two people as well and also carried it's own set of communication and signalling devices.|
Water temperatures in the Pacific Northwest rarely exceed 10 deg C. As a result hypothermia is the leading cause of death in kayaking accidents that occur in these waters.
We dressed for the water temperature, not air temp - farmer john wetsuits and paddling jackets or drysuits were worn almost every day. We viewed our paddling gear as being safety equipment should we capsize.
Thankfully air temperatures were typically mild so we rarely became overheated.
We carried two hand-held VHF radios, one for each kayak. With these we were able to receive the continuous marine radio broadcasts supplied by Environment Canada in BC and NOAA in Alsaka. Both agencies provide an incredible service and by monitoring weather synopses and forecasts we were able to stay informed of weather changes and plan accordingly.
The downside of handheld VHFs is their limited transmitting power. It is debatable that we would have been able to reach the coastguard from remote locations. However in the seven months we were on the water we only had one day where we didn't have a boat pass within hailing distance.
We carried a set of flares in each kayak that consisted off; 1 rocket flare, 3 pencil flares and 1 smoke flare.
Would these have been sufficient in the case of an emergency? Thankfully we never had to find out!
|Kev in his wetsuit using the back-up for our VHF radios - crystal ball gazing.|