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Kayak Tacoma but don’t be an idiot

by AP on June 27, 2016, one comment

Ruston Way

Idiot’s Rule. Jane’s Addiction said so. This doesn’t mean you should be an idiot.

There seems to be an epidemic of idiocy down at Owen Beach at Point Defiance. Too often, inexperienced folks wander north on Owen Beach toward the Point, on foot or in a kayak, and they have no clue what they are doing. Beach walkers wrap the corner at low tide and then get stranded by high tide before they can make it back. Greenhorn kayakers get spun out and swallowed up by a wicked convergence zone of currents that can stoke up without warning at any time.

Does the beach needs more signs? Or maybe even just more parking lot signs? Something. Anything. There is a lot of ignorance down there and it needs to be reined in. Our local firemen rescue victims of their own stupidity from the sea cliffs too often. Fishermen assist terrified and/or capsized kayakers off Point Defiance too often (it happened again yesterday). It all seems relatively preventable.

Perhaps renting kayaks to people with no experience in the water would be more appropriate along Ruston Way? A kayak newbie has no business paddling Owen Beach. You have a ferry dock on one side and deadly currents on the other. Of course, the drop-in spot seems nice and safe, leading these people to think they have it all under control. After a few minutes of doing circles in front of the family BBQ’s and sunbathers, new paddlers build up false confidence and set off on a course toward 2 potentially hazardous situations.

The ferry dock is a pretty obvious hazard. Even these people can see that. So they often head north instead, toward the scenic point. The convergence zone of currents means a couple things: there is an abundance of attractive marine life and the water is very, very, very unpredictable. All it takes is one seal or dolphin sighting and the inexperienced paddler can’t resist wrapping the corner. This is where the game of Russian Roulette begins.

First and foremost, if you’re inexperienced and paddling near Owen Beach, STAY AS CLOSE TO SHORE AS POSSIBLE AT ALL TIMES. In a kayak, this means 5 or 10 feet from shore, tops. Any further out than that could spell D-R-O-W-N-I-N-G if something goes haywire and the currents are in a mood.

Don’t be the next grown person to end up trembling in the arms of a fisherman. Know your limits and practice paddling somewhere else before you subject yourself to the temptations of Point Defiance.

One thought on “Kayak Tacoma but don’t be an idiot

  1. Uh, Ive lived in Tacoma for 15yrs, been to Owens Beach many times, even rented a kayak once with my first time pregnant wife and I didn’t appreciate that any of those hazards existed. So maybe lighten up a little bit there. You sont know what you don’t know until you know. Seems to me that signs would be an easy first step in the right direction.

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