small boat safety in the Sound

Scudley Do Right

Active Member
You're gonna be fine in that. Just dont be stupid on your days. Everyone talks like the sound is this huge scary place, and for people being negligent it can be but it shouldnt scare you off. I have run an 11 foot whaler from BI to Humpy Hollow, to PnP, and even as far as Mid-Channel. Pick your weather and days, it is no issue.
I grew up rowing a 12' sailing dinghy all around the north end of Bainbridge and up to Jeff Head at times. Caught a lot of fish from that boat and had a lot of blisters.
The shoreline you are going to be on doesnt have huge currents but you will still get carried around a bit. I'd recommend an anchor for your SRC fishing and slowing yourself down along the beaches.

Crab pots like a danielson will get moved by the current and without a depth finder be careful where you drop. 100 feet of rope is suffficient to crab in 80 feet of water. So weight your pots and dont let go of the rope before they hit bottom. We have 10+ feet of tidal exchange and everyone complains about pots getting stolen. Most are just set improperly.

good luck and enjoy it.
Mid Channel from Bainbridge is a long day in a bigger boat let alone an 11'er. It must have been glass out.
 

D3Smartie

Active Member
Mid Channel from Bainbridge is a long day in a bigger boat let alone an 11'er. It must have been glass out.

There are things kids do when they have a couple tanks of gas that dont make a ton of sense. But if you run the shorelines and stay out of the rips it isnt bad even with a little chop. Took about 3 hours to get there. Had some epic coho action along the kelp beds at Skunk Bay and finally got to Mid-Channel to find i was totally out of my element. Went back and found a pile of coho at AppleTree on my way home. Good memories.
 

doublespey

Steelhead-a-holic
Anyone here seen or have tried a Saturn Kaboat in the sound? I have been looking at the 15' XL with a small outboard for near shore saltwater and some lakes.

What about RIBs in general?

I have that exact model and love it. With a 9.8hp outboard it goes over 20mph if the water's flat. I have a rockhopper on the motor and will be trying it out in rivers this spring/summer. Also had the folks at Catchercraft customize a rowing frame with anchor in case the motor goes south (don't really trust the pinned oar mounts). They are amazingly stable - i've had it out in the middle of Lake Washington and stood up with ease, even in some serious chop. A very good quality boat for the price.
 

driftboatdan

WFF Supporter
I agree you'll probably be fine, but let me tell you two similar stories:

Growing up on Whidbey we would watch boats come and go off my bluff in our backyard (looking towards Camano Island). During breakfast one pleasant spring morning my little sister said she saw a whale. We pulled out the binoculars to check it out. The whale was a small sailboat (like a laser) tipped over with the dagger board looking like a dorsal fin. There was a man trying to stay on top of the hull waving to the occasional boat for help. No one saw him he was very low on the horizon and there was little boat traffic. We called SAR right away and my dad had me go out to the edge of our bluff and shoot a shotgun three times to try to signal to the man that help was on the way (he was probably 1/2 a mile from shore). Unfortunately, he went in to the water one last time, partially righted his boat, tipped over, and was not found until the helicopter came to assist the Zodaic rib in finding him (no life jacket or wet suit). CPR and heart massages, proved too little too late. It took SAR over 40 minutes to arrive with the boat and more than an hour for the helicopter. Rescuers said he was most likely so hypothermic that he could not properly right his vessel or get back on once he fell in the last time.

Fast forward 20 years to a nice sunny afternoon on Whidbey Island driving by Penn Cove on the way back to the house I grew up in (Penn Cove is across from Coupville on Whidbey) . I noticed some people looking out across the water and I stopped to ask them what they were looking at. They said there was a small boat tipped over and a guy in the water (with a life jacket). I asked if they had called SAR, bystanders said "no" so I had my wife immediately call. I knew a man with a small aluminum boat/ motor he used to tend his personal scallop farm, so I ran to his house and got him to come down and put the boat in, we motored out quickly, had great difficulty pulling the man into our boat (he couldn't help at all due to being so cold), and by the time we got to shore an ambulance had arrived at the public boat launch to treat him for hypothermia (still no boat for rescue). The paramedics told me we probably saved his life, they took over and treated him for hypothermia, the rescue boat arrived about 30 minutes later. I acted quickly and decisively because of my previous experience.

The man did have on a 2mm shorty wetsuit which probably helped a little, but using a similar suit for kitesurfing has shown me how inadequate this suit would be for open water (I mostly kitesurf in shallow bays that get quite warm during the summer). When his boat tipped over, the dagger board fell out and was carried away, he tried to swim to get it, gave up, and then swam back to his boat (we went back out and rescued his boat for him later). He was quite close to shore (about 1/4 mile or maybe closer).

The lessons I have taken from this:
1 Life Jacket!
2-Being "close" to shore can still be too far from shore.
3. Wear a wet suit if tipping over is a good possibility (4-5mm thickness does me well most of the time).
4. Don't rely on rescue getting there quickly enough and have a way to call for your own rescue.
5. Puget Sound water is cold.
 
Last edited:

seattlee

Active Member
I fish the sound a lot in my kayak and take it out at Sekiu on the straight also. Lately I've been doing some lake fishing with it...and the salt is NOTHING like a lake. Lake fishing is sooooo relaxing in comparison, even in the windiest conditions.
I've been in a couple situations, once on the Hood canal fishing for chum and once out of Ollala where the wind and tide worked against me. My pedal kayak can handle just about any tide change. It's when the swells and chop are going broadside to the direction I needed to get to in order to land my kayak that problems arise. It made for a half mile of some serious pucker pedaling.
I wear a dry suit, pfd, marine radio, air horn, dedicated cutaway knife, bright hat, and have practiced self rescue. I really enjoy fishing out of my kayak, but I take the sound very seriously. If the wind and tide are working against you, it can be very hard to enjoy the fishing. There have been a couple days when I had to abort my plans and didn't want to risk it. Having to rely on another boater to save my ass would seem like the ultimate failure in judgement on my part.
There is so much private beach on our sound, you will find that your boat will open up a lot of great water. Enjoy!

Do you mind sharing what kind of dry suit you wear (interested in what is conducive to pedal kayaking). The pfd, marine radio and dedicated knife are really smart moves for your kayak!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Zak

Jeremy Floyd

Veðrfölnir
Anyone here seen or have tried a Saturn Kaboat in the sound? I have been looking at the 15' XL with a small outboard for near shore saltwater and some lakes.

What about RIBs in general?


I have a 12' that works everywhere, because it has a jet
 

wadin' boot

Donny, you're out of your element...
WFF Supporter
Bob, this is great info and very helpful, thank you! And what a beautiful boat!

Seen a guy sail his Swampscott dory around Priest point, it was about the prettiest boat I've seen, still not as cool as Bob's slice of lime though.

Coast guard will check you for a whistle/horn and life jacket for a boat that size.

That boat looks a might tippy, and a little prone to wind. If you anchor in current/wind getting an anchor trolley rigged and learning techniques will save you some heartache, particularly if you want to anchor and fish.

Beware the July-September folks in Bayliners, Boston Whalers, North River, Lund etc that will give a human powered craft very little caution. You get six boats that size doing crazy stuff around the Mukilteo launch, many with lines out, and you will never want to be there again. PLus approaching those kinds of wakes when they are coming from all kinds of angles sucks. Water will come over your side....
 

Mark Kadoshima

Active Member
Do you mind sharing what kind of dry suit you wear (interested in what is conducive to pedal kayaking). The pfd, marine radio and dedicated knife are really smart moves for your kayak!
Zak,
I went for it and got a Kokatat. Their service and repair policy is supposed to be incredible and I spend a lot of time on the sound. I ALWAYS wear it....even when it's warm out as the sound is really cold even in the summer and I'm often the only guy out there when I fish. It does not give any warmth so I layer up pretty good in the winter and it hasn't been too uncomfortable in the summer. Sekiu is still pretty cool, even in July early in the mornings. I don't wear it when on lakes if the weather or water is warm.
I recommend the Northwest Kayak Anglers Forum. They have a lot more learned info than I can ever give, and it sounds like you're interested in doing the same type of fishing. There's a lot of great guys on there and are very generous with advice, launching sites, etc. They can also connect you with other guys in your area and a local shop that might have all the gear you're interested in.
Have a great time figuring it all out! It's all part of the fun.
Mark
 

Zak

WFF Supporter
Zak,
I went for it and got a Kokatat. Their service and repair policy is supposed to be incredible and I spend a lot of time on the sound. I ALWAYS wear it....even when it's warm out as the sound is really cold even in the summer and I'm often the only guy out there when I fish. It does not give any warmth so I layer up pretty good in the winter and it hasn't been too uncomfortable in the summer. Sekiu is still pretty cool, even in July early in the mornings. I don't wear it when on lakes if the weather or water is warm.
I recommend the Northwest Kayak Anglers Forum. They have a lot more learned info than I can ever give, and it sounds like you're interested in doing the same type of fishing. There's a lot of great guys on there and are very generous with advice, launching sites, etc. They can also connect you with other guys in your area and a local shop that might have all the gear you're interested in.
Have a great time figuring it all out! It's all part of the fun.
Mark
That's awesome info, Mark, thanks! I'm glad you don't find the dry suit too hot, that was a worry.
 

Jiminsandiego

Active Member
I've done a fair amount of kayak fishing (in Southern California) mostly offshore in the kelp beds looking for fish over 30 lbs. Many lessons were learned the hard way. Fog is not your friend. If you are caught in it use your compass GPS Fathometer etc and have an air horn (whistles are lame). I never go out in fog (without radar) but it can happen unexpectedly .
 
  • Like
Reactions: Zak

Jiminsandiego

Active Member
Another thing I'd like to point out is that the OP has a truly magnificent boat. Ton's of fun no doubt. But a kayak is much different than a boat. For it's size, a kayak is, actually, extremely seaworthy. I knew a guy that went from San Diego to Hawaii in one. Kayaks could very easily be safe in conditions where a boat may not be.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Zak

Jiminsandiego

Active Member
I always have a leash for my paddle. I would think that some sort of leash for the oars might be worthy of consideration. Watching an oar ripping down current might be a bummer.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Zak

Northern

It's all good.
WFF Supporter
Yesterday afternoon (Sunday), a friend and I were taking the Edmonds-Kingston ferry over to the OP. As we sat parked on the dock waiting to load, my buddy looks out at the big whitecaps in the marine sanctuary and says in disbelief "is that a kayaker??" Then we overhear the ferry crew on the dock discussing what to do and pointing out there. Sure enough, a rescue boat had to go out there and haul the kayak back to shore.
Haven't seen any follow-up in the news, so the person must have been OK...but holy crap, who would have launched a kayak in that weather?
Common sense is your friend!
 

Jiminsandiego

Active Member
I'm a "Safety Sally". It's just the way I am. Some people have not learned to properly respect the dangers involving the anchor. I have. Big boats and small boats. Again common sense is all that is required..but damn it, those anchors can get ya.
 

DimeBrite

5X Celebrity Jeopardy Champion
A couple years ago I did a long fish & hike along a heavily wooded steep bluff surrounding a Puget Sound cove. I started to notice a bunch of heavy ropes, floats, and battered aluminum skiffs tangled in the timber at the base of the bluff. Then a grizzled old salty man came into view with a young boy at his side. Above the beach were a couple of musty cedar shake constructed fishing huts. The old salt owned the property above and was entertaining his grandson. He told me about the history of his property and that beach, including some valuable fishing spots. But his most interesting stories were the seven times he had nearly drowned in those battered aluminum skiffs on the bay. South winds kick up fast and that bay is very vulnerable. He described his most recent near drowning vividly. He was looking up to the sky as he sank into the shallow bay and saw the sunlight dimming. Later he remembered hands reaching down and hauling him up back into the light. Apparently, some family members in the house on top of the bluff saw his boat go down and called for help. He had been submerged for awhile but rescuers were able to revive him. As he finished telling me this story I watched him packing up his newest work skiff for an outing on the water. Not much freeboard and no life jackets. I gave him the nick name "The Drowned Man". Occasionally I fish that stretch of beach in spring and always enjoy seeing those old cedar huts near the beach. I'm looking forward to seeing his ghost some foggy morning.
 

Support WFF | Remove the Ads

Support WFF by upgrading your account. Site supporters benefits include no ads and access to some additional features, few now, more in the works. Info

Latest posts

Top