ext is the paddle float used to assist kayak reentry. Often we’ve seen experienced kayakers performing some kinds of rolling, but for most people, that could only be done with an empty boat. When it’s fully loaded for long journey, it’s almost impossible to roll that heavy hull. The most practical way is, of course, just climb in via the aft deck. My paddle float is just a supermarket plastic bag, I hate needle and thread things, but some little tailoring work would be needed to turn a bag into the float.
It’s just a quick job stuffing the bag with Polyurethane foam. The float is made such that it could be quickly attached (and detached) to one end of the paddle to assist boarding the kayak from water. One of the most important equipments for a cruising kayak is… a radar reflector. Here I should emphasize its importance a hundreds times, as with experiences gained in my previous paddling trips, your kayak is just so small compared to those huge freighters, looks like just a peanut shell in the sea.
And without a radar reflector, I’m sure that you would probably not be seen from above those high ship bridges. And as a big ship is approaching you, the situation is really critical: to be seen or to be sunk. Having a reflector would boost your boat’s radar signature, and it works best in combination with a marine handheld radio. My radar reflector would have a tubular form, erected on the aft deck, and it functions also as a signal light mast, with a red – blinking light attached to the top.
The elements of the radar reflector are made from thin steel plates, welded together to create some prism shapes. 8 pieces like that would be put inside a PVC tube (the signal light mast), which create an object with a radar – cross – section of about 1.4 m2 (estimated).
The ugly part about a home – made radar reflector is that you have no way to tell if this equipment works well, how big your boat would appear on those big freighters’ radar screens. But it’s better to have something, hoping that it should work, rather than having nothing at all.