Tag Archives: boating

Boaters, kayakers, etc.: Please take heed and be safe out on the water

With the weather warming up and opening day of boating season just around the corner, I would like to take a moment to mourn for those who have lost their lives in boating accidents.

A kayak adrift near Vashon Island raised alarms for the Coast Guard on March 31.
Photo: Coast Guard, 13th District

More importantly, I would like to share some information about boating safety, because I keep thinking about Turner Jenkins, the 31-year-old visitor from Bathesda, Md., who lost his life in January when his kayak tipped over at the south end of Bainbridge Island. (See Kitsap Sun and Bathesda Magazine.)

Every year, it seems, one or more people lose their lives in the frigid waters of Puget Sound — often because they failed to account for the temperature of the water; the winds, waves and currents; or their own skills under such conditions. An Internet search reveals a long list of tragedies in our region and throughout the country.

This warning is not to scare people away from the water. I will even tell you how to enjoy Opening Day events at the end of this blog post. I can assure you that my own life would be much poorer if I chose to never be on, near or under the water. But for those who venture forth in boats, you must do so with your eyes wide open to the dangers — especially if your craft is a paddleboard, kayak, canoe or raft.

So let’s go over the “Five Golden Rules of Cold Water Safety,” according to the National Center for Cold Water Safety. Click on each one for details:

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Students ride the wind during salmon kayak tour

When 60 students from Central Kitsap High School took off in double kayaks to look for jumping salmon, they had no idea how the changing weather would make the trip more exciting.

Bill Wilson, who teaches environmental science, organized Tuesday’s trip on Dyes Inlet near Silverdale. Lead guide Spring Courtright of Olympic Outdoor Center shares the story in her words.

Reminder: Free stream tours from land are scheduled for Saturday. See the story I wrote for Tuesday’s Kitsap Sun.

Wind pushes the kayaks along, as 60 Central Kitsap High School students return to Silverdale Tuesday after watching jumping salmon. / Photos by Spring Courtright

By Spring Courtright
Program Director, Olympic Outdoor Center

At 9 a.m. on election day, anyone peering through the fog at Silverdale Waterfront Park would have seen 35 bright kayaks lined up on the beach and 60 high school students preparing to paddle.

Central Kitsap High School environmental science students study salmon in class, then are given the option to paddle with jumping salmon on an annual Salmon Kayak Tour with the Olympic Outdoor Center (OOC). For the last two years, 60 students have jumped on the opportunity.

This trip started about 10 years ago with about half that number of students. I have been one of the lead guides for nearly all of these tours. It’s always an adventure, but this year was one of the more memorable trips because of the beautiful clouds and quick change in weather.
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Amusing Monday: Still waiting for water sports

The weather this spring hasn’t been very conducive for water sports, but I have confidence that the heat will be on soon, bringing boaters to the water along with those who love to be dragged around.

While we’re waiting, take a look at some crazy tow gear that takes old-fashioned wakeboards to an entirely new level.

The Sumo Tube from SportStuff is an inflatable Sumo suit that you wear while gliding across the water. Most videos show a single person being towed in a suit. But the first video on this page shows a type of Sumo wrestling with two people in suits bouncing off each other.

Another item that could well live up to its name is the Barf Ball, which tends to spin over and over when the tow boat takes a curve that brings the ball over the edge of the wake. The second video purports to be the maiden voyage for this particular ball.

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Amusing Monday: Do these videos float your boat?

This week’s “Amusing Monday” is an experiment of sorts. It’s well understood that we humans often laugh when things surprise us. If the people involved recover from an unexpected event, we call it humor. If they don’t, we call it tragedy.

Hooked while jumping / From funnyhub.com

Some people find the following videos involving boat accidents quite funny, as revealed in the comments that follow on YouTube. Some people express concern for the people who were caught unaware.

I hope you find these amusing, since it appears that few of the people in the videos were seriously injured. But I would be interested to hear your viewpoints about what makes accidents humorous — or not.

Restored ship launched with great excitement.

He forgot to slow down.

Not all boats are built the same.

Watch out for that first step!

They don’t make boats like they used to.

I didn’t know that boats could fly.

Cleaner boat motors in the works

The Environmental Protection Agency continues to develop rules to reduce pollution from small-boat motors. For details, check out the Environmental Protection Agency’s Web page on Gasoline Boats and Personal Watercraft.

The latest round of regulations deals with carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, since EPA has found that boat motors are a significant source of air pollution.

Whenever I think about boat pollution, my thoughts go to the killer whales that are followed by boats all day in the San Juan Islands. The amount of pollution lying across the water must be significant, though many of the whale-watch boats have switched to cleaner engines. But that’s another story.

In today’s Kitsap Sun, reporter Rachel Pritchett desccribes an emerging business that claims to have developed a catalytic converter for boat motors that reduces hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide levels almost to zero. See today’s story.

The business is seeking a patent for its device and may be one of the first businesses involved in the Kitsap Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) project at Olympic View Industrial Park.

For the boaters among us, here are some tips from the EPA to reduce emissions no matter what kind of motor you have:

  • Limit engine operation at full throttle.
  • Eliminate unnecessary idling.
  • Avoid spilling gasoline.
  • Close the vent on portable gas tanks when the engine is not in use or when the tank is stored.
  • Transport and store gasoline out of direct sunlight in a cool, dry place.
  • Use caution when pumping gasoline into a container at the gas station.
  • Carefully measure the proper amounts of gasoline and oil when refueling.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule.
  • Prepare engines properly for winter storage.
  • Buy new, cleaner marine engines.