Anyone generous and bold enough to publicly share paddling mistakes, mishaps, and accidents has my appreciation and respect. If we castigate those who come forward with enough vigor, we'll soon have no one willing to share this kind of valuable information. The unproductive rain of criticism was particularly noteworthy in the sometimes vitriolic prose that followed Michael Powers' candid account of his error in judgement. It would have been far more useful to read comments that offered a solution or at least discussed the variables that led him to decide that it was sensible to paddle solo on that occasion. As I pointed out in Anatomy of A Bad Decision, this cognitive process can be messy and complicated terrain, something best negotiated cautiously and with eyes wide open. It's very easy to quietly and gently slip into making a really bad decision and anyone who thinks themselves immune is sadly mistaken.
I think the dynamics of personal interaction and communication play a huge role in accidents, and greater consideration of this important variable would certainly improve the management of risk in our sport. Airlines have instituted protocols to improve safety with respect to cockpit communication and decision making, as have other industries, and we could certainly put to good use a simple communications matrix for sea kayaking safety. If one presently exists, I'm not aware of it.
For starters, we could promote the value of a simple agreement among paddlers that it is the duty of any paddler who feels that little (or big) tug of warning, doubt, insecurity, misgiving, or discomfort to speak up. In turn, it is the responsibility of the group as a whole and individual paddlers in particular, to respect and encourage that kind of discourse, and give those feelings a respectful hearing whenever they're raised. Whether it's an individual problem or something potentially involving the entire group, everyone will be better off when things are out in the open.