Friday, November 6, 2009

Research Can Be Fun: The Kayaking Articles

In preparation for an article (or series of articles, depending on how things go) about kayaking around New York State, I'm drawing on my own experiences as an outdoors-woman, my older articles on the subject and some research for the newest asepcts I'm looking into, like information on buying kayaks and figuring out which one is right for you, to produce the best story I possibly can. And I just found something interesting.

I bet you've never thought much about the importance of kayak color. Seems silly, but there are legitimate pros and cons to what shade your boat is (NOTE: 'boat' does not necesarily mean "speedboat"; in this industry, any on-water craft, like canoe or kayak, is considered a boat).

Consider: this guy prefers his sand-colored boat to the brightly-colored counterparts because it's easier to hide it during overnight camping trips. Other people feel you should stick to a brightly-colored boat for high visibility on heavily trafficked waters, but warn you to choose wisely, as red boats fade faster and show wear more quickly than others.

It seems, though, that dark-blue boats are the most universally dangerous color of kayak available. They blend a lot more readily with the water than other colors, making the person in the boat nearly invisible unless they have brightly colored paddles, PFD or other accessories to help them stand out. This is not to say that blue boats should never be purchased; just that it's something to consider when shopping, especially for those who buy gear, boat and accessories at the same time. Most sources seem to agree the the best bet is a boat in the brighter part of the color range (red, orange, yellow) or a lime-green or robin's-egg-blue boat.

This might seem a little out of left field, but considering that Travel and Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the country and that outdoor recreation is one of the biggest subdivisions of that; that pretty much anyone can paddle, from small children to elderly people to those with some physical restrictions or limited mobility; and that purchasing and using a mid-range kayak is, in the long run, one of the most cost-effective investments in the realm of vacation activity, kayaking is actually one of the most broadly relevant topics I'm currently writing about.

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