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Orange Flags on Kayak

post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 
Hi Folks,

How important are those orange flags on about a 4-5 ft. mast that I see on Kayaks? Do they really increase someones ability to see you? If I should be buying one, what are they actually called.?
post #2 of 64
Anything will help, but I will say that with a flag or no flag a kayak is a very difficult object to see on the water from a bridge of larger boat, never mind from a small boat with a sea level view over a console...
post #3 of 64
I took a Coast Guard Paddle Course a couple of weeks ago and the flag is a must ... School Bus Yellow is the 1st Choice and Orange is 2nd....

Being seen by motor powered guys who have emptied a cooler full of beer is a good thing... Kayaks can be hidden between swells... Also a light for dusk dawn and in the dark ... My head lamp has a flashing feature so if I'm out on the bay and a motor powered craft is fast approaching .... Also a loud whistle in case it gets foggy and you hear a motor approaching.... They also sell the little compressed air fog horns for about $15...

Also a safety tip that was shared during the class was to carry an old CD to used as a Mirror signaling device... if you get stuck and need help...

Best of luck ... I'm going through the same thoughts and research...

King Cod
post #4 of 64
ridiculous and unnecessary in my opinion. i see your in asbury, what are you doing going into bunker wars in june? just wear a good helmet then. i know i love having stuff behind me when im casting but i could be nuts.
post #5 of 64
Like I said the flag is basically unseen from a vesel at any rate of speed and when I'm up on a bridge running a large boat I will always be looking for anything, but when there are boats flying around me and jetskis the flag will be the last to be seen....

A VHF radio with fresh batteries and a handheld GPS will help you more then anything you will bring with you if your in trouble.

A few years ago everyone was talking about ditch bags in yaks, well when your seperated from your yak and your ditch bag is in the yak what then? GPS and VHF in your PFD will be there everytime.....
post #6 of 64
I don't always go out with a flag but I think it helps to be seen.
post #7 of 64
I agree with the Coast Guard and Bent. I always have one when I am in an area that may have boat traffic.

I use the YakAttack VisiCarbon pole with the proven and very effective Tek-Lite 360 degree white lite. Its a nice combo, very lightweight.

I talk to alot of boaters on the ocean about this and they absolutely see us and the flags. For the most part yakkers are not out in big seas and are pretty easy to spot. If there are swells big enough to hide a yak, I am not too keen on being out there. I also have bright yellow kayaks for the open water.

While nothing is a guarantee, I would think it wise to maximize our odds where ever we can find it. Cant see the harm in having one.
post #8 of 64
They get in the way and look goofy. If your a paddler a bright colored paddle is a hundred times more visable then a flag because its moving.
post #9 of 64
Originally Posted by King Cod View Post

Also a safety tip that was shared during the class was to carry an old CD to used as a Mirror signaling device... if you get stuck and need help...

Best of luck ... I'm going through the same thoughts and research...

King Cod

Great idea
post #10 of 64
Originally Posted by barrell View Post
If your a paddler a bright colored paddle is a hundred times more visable then a flag because its moving.

That is true.
post #11 of 64
I am anti flag. Like others have stated it is something to get in the way and not that big of a safety feature. The brightly colored paddle is a good idea. As far as colors go…I personally notice the orange first than yellow. Probably why the USCG is orange, and I wish more yaks are made that color.

I think the ditch bag was more of an “I went over, I snapped a paddle, I am cramping and am going to post up on an island or beach a good distance from my intended take out†situation.
post #12 of 64
I'm a "no flag" guy too...not that I don't have one, I just don't think it's gonna help.
I cut my teeth on offshore fishing, you can see lots of stuff out there while either behind a center console or running from the fly bridge...plastic bottles, soda cans, small pieces of 2x4, ect. ect. The last thing you want to do while you are running at speed is clip a piece of debris and ding a prop/lower unit. I would say any responsible boat operator has their eyes on the water. The higher you go, the better that visiblity becomes.
A 14' piece of floating plastic? I could see that from 200 yrds away without a problem, flag or no flag, wouldn't matter. A little piece 12"x12" of fluttering material will not be the reason you did or didn't get seen, it's the level of distraction by the boat operator which will determine whether they are looking or not. If they are not looking, it doesn't matter what color your yak is or whether you're flying a flag or not.
Preferable situation is you should go out in the greatest numbers as possible and on a regular basis. You'd be surprised how many of the power boat fisherman know to be on the lookout for kayakers in many of the kayaking hotspots on the frontside in NJ. Those guys regularly talk about us, the good and bad...but atleast they know we are there and to watchout for us.

Not sure but didn't someone post that Blue is the most visible color on the water....? Maybe that's why I can alway pick out my buddy in his bright blue yak but can see the guys in the yellow or orange yaks..go figure.
post #13 of 64
I have a flag that is fluorescent yellow and orange. It is also reflective at night. I had a boater tell me that he saw me because of it and thought it was a smart idea. He said he almost ran someone over once because he never saw them. You decide...
post #14 of 64
I know that I can see my friends that have flags,..a lot further away than I can see other yakkers without them!! Also, a brightly colored paddle doesn't do any good on a Hobie!
post #15 of 64
I use a flag all the time in my ocean kayak prowler big game. It makes it easier for my fellow kayakers to see me. Most of the boat owner I know
think it makes it easier to spot a kayak with a flag. Before I started using
a flag I almost got run over by a power boat just off the beach at manasquan. It was a pretty big cabin cruiser with an operator who
was too busy drinking beer rather then steering the boat ? I was able
to paddle out of the way at the last minute. Luckily he was not traveling
too fast. I also carry a vhf radio with me and a hand pump incase
the kayak springs a leak? I even have a floatation bag inside the front
hatch. I think having a flag is a good idea but you really need to be
aware of your surroundings. You can normally hear a power boat coming
before it gets too close. I always assume I am not being seen and get
out of the path of the power boat as fast as I can. Also had several
power boats cross my line and cut it with their prop.
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