Water Safety

Which is More Stable: A Sit-on-Top or a Sit-Inside Kayak?

If all other dimensions are equal, a sit-inside (open-cockpit) kayak is more stable than a sit-on-top kayak. In an open-cockpit kayak you're sitting lower in the boat. Your center of gravity (aka rear-end) is at or near the level of the water. For example, when you're sitting on the floor, unless you've had one too many margaritas, it's hard to get knocked-over. But if you're standing, anything unexpected can make you lose your balance. That's because your center of gravity is higher. Many times kayak manufacturers will mitigate the higher center of gravity of a sit-on-top kayak by making it wider or by changing the bottom shape. However, both of these changes will affect the performance of the kayak. A wider kayak will be slower. And changing the bottom shape will make a larger surface

Read More

Winter Paddling Wardrobe by Mitch Mitchell

As we head into late fall the paddling opportunities improve at about the same rate that the weather deteriorates. The fall colors can make for very picturesque paddles, the surf gets better, and the inlets have much less boat traffic and more current (if you like that sort of thing). The question is what to wear? We have posted many articles about hypothermia, cold shock, etc., but I've never talked about what I personally wear and when I wear it. In early fall I usually wear wet suits. I start with a shorty or “spring suit” but, as the water gets colder, I will move to a full wetsuit. The colder the water the thicker the suit. The downside to wet suits is that for them to work properly you have to get wet. As

Read More

A Channel to Avoid

     In this age of cable, Netflix, and Hulu, with 100s of channels to choose from there is one channel you want to avoid - the boat channel! This time of year there are lots of boaters on the water. We are lucky at Coastal Kayak because Little Assawoman Bay is much shallower and smaller than both Assawoman Bay (behind Ocean City) and Rehoboth Bay. This means a lot less boat traffic. The shallow water also means one other thing, and that is that most motor boaters in our bay will stay in the boat channel. The channel is a narrow lane through the bay that typically has deeper water. The important thing for us as paddlers is that we want to avoid the channels when possible. But if we have to cross them, we

Read More

Weather…Or Not

Knowing the weather is key to enjoying your time out on the water. Whether you are sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding, or just going to the beach, having an accurate forecast is always important. I would say that an “accurate forecast” in our area is an oxymoron. But you still want to get the most accurate report possible. First of all, if you are going to be on the water, you want to make sure you check out the marine forecast for nearshore or inshore waters. Because of the openness on the water the wind speed can be quite different than wind speeds that are only a mile inland. Many times we have people tell us that the forecast said this or that only to find out that they were listening to a Baltimore or Philadelphia

Read More

Stay the Course! Using A Range to Determine Position by Mitch Mitchell

In the past two articles we talked about wind - both the effects of fetch, as well as what effect wind has on our kayak. This time we are going to talk about how to tell what the wind or current is doing to our kayak (or paddle board). A lot of times, especially on stand up paddle boards, our renters go out and even thought they are pointed into the wind and paddling forwards, they are actually losing ground and going backwards. Another common scenario is that they are heading out to Point of Cedars Island and even though they think they are going straight towards it they are actually being pushed well to the side making their paddle much longer than expected. So how can you tell, once on the water, exactly what

Read More

Know Your Fetch! by Coastal Kayak’s Mitch Mitchell

Of all of nature’s elements wind is probably the one that most often effects us as paddlers. Living in a coastal environment means lots of interaction between land, air, and water. The dramatic differences between the temperatures of the ocean, bay, and land leads to one constant, wind! On sunny days in the summer the land heats up much more quickly than the water. As that hot air rises, the cooler air over the ocean is sucked into the void left by the rising hot air. This is called a sea breeze, and in our area the predominant direction is from the south. This sea breeze can easily reach speeds of 25 - 30 mph over open areas of water on the bays. One of the most important elements with wind that effects us as

Read More

How to Dress for Paddling this Spring

It’s that time of year again, finally! The days are getting longer, the sun is getting stronger, the water is winking at you, beckoning you to come on out. But wait! What exactly are you wearing?? Believe it or not, immersion in water as warm as 50-60 degrees can cause what is called “Cold Water Shock”. If you capsize in waters at these temperatures or below, your body’s first reaction is to gasp for air, followed by increased heart rate, a rise in blood pressure, and disorientation. In only a few minutes, your body can become incapacitated. Hypothermia is more well known and happens when the body can’t reheat itself or maintain its core temperature. Cold water shock can easily lead to hypothermia and both can be fatal. These preventable tragedies happen frequently in the

Read More

The Perfect PFD

The Perfect PFD So you got some money for Christmas and you want to put it towards your paddling habit. How best to spend it? Of course your best option is to use it on professional paddling instruction from Coastal Kayak's ACA certified kayak and SUP instructors. The second best option is to invest in a comfortable PFD (personal flotation device, AKA lifejacket) that you will actually wear. Sad Fact: Drowning is the single biggest cause of death in recreational boating accidents. Over 80% of drowning victims were NOT wearing life jackets when found. Lame Excuses for NOT Wearing a Lifejacket: "This water is so shallow. I could walk across this bay." (But if you are lying unconscious in the water, it only needs to be 6 inches deep to be over your nose!) "I

Read More