Doug, thanks for your input. This issue of paddlers' rights, freedoms, responsibilities, search/rescue costs (privatized or socialized), etc. is going to continue to play out over the months and years ahead, as Matt correctly hinted at in his warning about the wave of rec/fishing kayaker accidents/rescues to come. Just Google Staten Island Kayakers Rescued, with NYC Mayor Bloomberg's fiery denunciation of two local kayakers venturing out during Irene, capsizing, and having to be rescued. They were subsequently served summonses, for disorderly conduct (I think). As of yet we know nothing of these paddlers' experience or expertise level, but it has created a local media frenzy.
Sooner or later I think the sea kayaking community is going to have to deal with certain "realities". It just won't do to wax rhapsodic, a la Jack Izzo, about the glory and grandeur of the heroic and God-blessed-and-sanctioned risk-takers, or to fulminate against those yearning to take away our constitutionally-endowed right to paddle any way and anywhere and anytime we want (it's in there somewhere). To simultaneously expect and even require that we be searched for and rescued from our errors at the public's expense, does not logically follow from the tenets of the New Libertarians, who disdain government in all its manifestations, including government's notions that it can regulate certain aspects of marine boating. No, rhetoric won't do; we need reasoned discussion of serious issues--issues that TASK, in its years of folly and denial, failed to address. Maybe we can discuss them here.