Friday, March 6, 2015

Paddler Feedback Wanted

The US Coast Guard has asked for input from sea kayakers regarding the possible removal of sound buoys from the Great Lakes.

A sound buoy has either a bell or gong to alert watercraft to its location, acting as an aid to navigation. According to the US Coast Guard, these buoys are no longer used by watercraft and they would like to save money by removing them and eliminating their maintenance cost. Almost all watercraft on the Great Lakes now use electronic means of navigation rendering the sound buoys obsolete.

In favor of removal: The Coast Guard is a huge supporter of paddlesports and sea kayakers. If we aren't using the sound buoys then practically no one is and we should support the Coast Guard in trying to save money.

Against Removal: If sea kayakers are using these buoys to aid in navigation we need to let the Coast Guard know. Kayakers should not rely on electronic devices for navigation. The type of electronic devices we carry need to be recharged which is not always convenient in bad weather conditions. Rain, fog and wind can prevent us from using our electronic devices. Even cloudy days can effect our ability to recharge our devices. None of these conditions affect sound buoys from allowing us to know where we are.

The Coast Guard is giving us an opportunity to make our voices heard and we encourage all paddlers to do just that. Feedback is being accepted until March 30th, 2015.

Responses can be sent directly to Doug Sharp

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