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Stay Visible Offshore

When kayaking offshore, kayakers can disappear from other boater's line of sight. Take precautions to protect yourself.

Boaters in high-speed center consoles run hard and fast offshore. Sportfishers are the "freighters" of offshore fishing, and push through waves so easily that even mid-westerner landlubbers don't get seasick on them. But kayaker fisheremen just drift along.

So who is the odd man out?

Kayak fishing off the beach or fishing nearshore reefs and structure is dangerous. There's no getting around that. Ever-changing environmental factors usually give anglers enough to think about. But being involved in a collision with an engine-powered boat is also a very real scenario. And for the record, a boat beats a kayak every time...just ask physics.

It's important to combat potential collisions by taking some precautions.

Wildly-colorful 'yaks and bright clothing (other than blue), fishing during calm seas, and fishing in groups all help prevent collisions. Having a noise-maker to alert oncoming traffic is another option, but should only be used in an emergency. (A loud whistle or horn can actually draw more attention from boaters to you.)

Being low to the water has advantages inshore, but it also has disadvantages offshore. That's where a tall flag comes in handy. It's vital to mount a flag that's visible above the swells so that other boaters can spot you.

The VISIPole II from YakAttack products is a domestically-manufactured 3/8-inch fiberglass tube that measures more than 4 feet long. A 360-degree-visibility light offers more than 100 hours burn time on 3 AA batteries. Plus, it's waterproof to a depth of 1,000 feet. The pole mount also accepts any standard 12 inch by 18 inch flag. Also included are 2-inch wide, marine grade, USCG approved SOLAS stripes that reflect light.

When a boat and crew motors down the trough of a wave, usually some part of the boat (possibly a tower, console, sailboat mast or even a person's head) is still visible above the crest. But kayakers disappear in troughs. No matter what, do what it takes for oncoming traffic to see you. There are no speed limit signs offshore. FS

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