I love anything written Matt; he is critically curious, not easily fooled, has the expertise and wherewithal to bring to our attention the salient points with reasonable and insightful recommendations.
Anyone who has ever been involved making a navigational decision that they later regretted will tell you point blank, “If in doubt, don’t!” It can be a hard lesson and one that may take a couple of times to sink in.
It’s nice that the safety net, which is the Coast Guard/military apparatus most commonly involved with search and sea rescues, is there for us as paddlers – most of the time anyway, if they can be notified. That we are part of a boating community that can be tasked in extremis or even solicited for help proactively (where opportunity is sometimes afforded), should give us pause to individually assess our place of responsibility in that same community.
As more of these incidents come to light of experienced, seasoned paddlers getting into trouble, it behoves us all to try and figure out just why and where the ability to manage risk is failing. It has to fall somewhere in the realm of how paddlers think about and process risk taking and avoiding these incidents that may have a net effect of working against our current freedom.
Using Sea Kayaker Magazine as a repository for the more compelling incidents, working through the recommendations so we can learn from what went wrong, and admitting and pointing to our own mistakes rather than hiding them from public, should be encouraged and a level of appreciation held for those who come forward and for those who strive editorially to bring readability and publication for a wider audience.