Safety and Innova Inflatable Kayaks

From a customer:

We did take the kayaks out on the creek last Sunday with an instructor who seemed very good, very competent, very committed.

There is a lot of discrimination here re inflatables – I am not quite sure why – We were told by the guide the kayaks would be fine for ponds and lakes – and I did remind her they are ocean going vessels – my feeling was they are not considered the true kayakers vessel.

I can understand how because of their lightness – like a feather on the surface – they could get blown VERY easily along and you MUST have both the right conditions and the right place to put in and get out – on the early side of high tide I was told was good to go out and then to come back on the beginning side of the tide – assuming we would not be out for more than an a few hours – which I think is reasonable. I am gathering local lore.

Tim’s Reply

Kayakers are independent sorts, but they do tend towards group-think on certain issues, e.g. what constitutes the proper kayak. The sport, more than most I have seen, collects elitists. I have seen some of these guys at on-the-water events. They are recognizable by the $1,500-worth of dry suit and military looking PFD. They stride down the beach with the intensity of Rasputin and bore in on the skinniest kayaks, stepping over anything wider than 18″ and scaring small children.

I am open-minded about rigid kayaks and like paddling them. But there are pros and cons to any boat. I think that conventional sea kayaks are fast and sexy looking, but they are a bitch to get back into by yourself, and virtually impossible to reboard in rough conditions. In the accidents I have studied, invariably the paddler is blamed for not having sufficient skill –pilot error if you will. The reality is that less than 1% of the sea kayakers can execute an eskimo roll or even reboard after a wet exit in rough conditions. Does not the basic design of the kayak share some blame?

Your Innova inflatable boats are much safer than rigid kayaks. Even the ultra-stable general-rec rigid kayaks have issues. These particular boats have only a minimum amount of floatation to stay awash if swamped, and they cannot be reboarded and bailed out in the event.