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I have the lifejacket and whistle on board but at night is the only thing you need a white light? And only show it if another boat approaches?
 

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Yes, the only thing you need to be legal at night is a headlamp. The problem with this is, people on the water are idiots, and everytime I have flashed my light at a boat, they seem to think that means they need to get closer to see what that light is. I would suggest a bright spotlight of some kind that will light up everything so there is no question, or buy a 360 light that stays on all the time.
 

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I believe it has to be a 360 light. A headlamp wouldn’t cut it
Not trying to get anyone in trouble on here. FWC checks me around 20 times every winter, and all they ever ask for is if I have a headlamp. This is my experience, if you have questions, the best thing to do is call them.
 

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a lot of idiots out there on yaks think they're superman and don't need any kind of safety devices on their craft. then there are the super supermen that think they can safely navigate at night. go for it. get in there with the........
oh well.

jack
 

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We were idling in from fishing Saturday night, we were probably 50 yards into the idle speed zone at 17th street/Bayou Texar.

We were discussing how we were glad we took the skiff and not the kayaks because it was really choppy on the east side of 3 mile bridge.

I bumped the spot light on, only to see two kayakers about 10 yards in front of us!!!!! NO LIGHTS! NOTHING. They were paddling with their backs to us, so they didn't even see us coming up from behind them.

When we lit them up with the light, one of them just turned around and gave us a quick look and then kept paddling. He WAS wearing a headlamp, but he must have gotten it out of the bin at Dollar General or something because it was EXTREMELY dim.

When we over took them, we were like "Hey! Y'all really need to have a light, we almost ran y'all over." The guy told us to "f*@k off."

We kept the spot light on them until they moved out of the marked channel, you know, just so other boaters would see them.

So, you CAN follow the law and just have a flashlight with you.

Or, you can go the extra mile and get a big 360 light and extend it on a 6' pole on the stern of your kayak.

One option will keep you legal, and one will increase your chance of survival.
 

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I understant the frustration here. The first question that started this comes off (probably unintentionally) like: What is the minimum safety gear I need and what is the minumum amount I have to use it for safety?
To many experienced kayakers that comes off as a very irresponsible approach, so they are probably less likely to provide helpful info.

The minumum you need is a cruddy, dry rotted cheapo lifevest stored deep in your kayak hatch, a whistle somewhere on the yak cause you're pretty sure you put one in there last year, and a non-waterproof many year old dollar store headlamp with 1/3 charged batteries. Legal.

I'll provide a question and an answer in hopes it advances things:
Q: What safety gear do yall recommend for nightime kayaking?
A: Always have a whistle (instantly accessible) and PFD (and I wear the PFD at night, not always worn during the day). Then for night you should have at least two sources of light. One should be a waterproof 360 degree light (available for $9.99 on amazon), it should be turned on the entire time you are in transit/boating areas and its best to just keep it on from dusk till dawn. Also, its extremely important you tell someone where you are going and when you will be back. Its as important as gear, you can forget your phone, your map, your water bottle, whatever, but dont forget that!
 

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I would recommend you get a area light and mount it at least 4 ft high on a post of some type. I would also get a small air horn just in case they don't see you so you can signal. I know I look for kayakers when under way because your harder to see especially at night. I went to a boat because I was almost ran over in a kayak. I was not 10 yards from a NO WAKE zone when a boat guns the engine and misses me by 10-15 ft. I had to bounce over some good size wake waves too, I am suprized I did not flip. The reason I say this is I had no safety flag and I was behind a reed line. The boat just did not see me (not the boats fault). Its scared me good, so anything that will help you get seen is a good investment. Take your safety into your own hands...…

As always tight lines.....

Jon
 

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I've thought about this a lot and since my Old Town comes with preinstalled YakAttack rails I'm going to bite the bullet and get the YakAttack VISPole II light and flag on a 4'6" fiberglass mast. It's pricey but gets the light up high enough for boats to see it and folds up and packs away inside the flag itself, runs 100 hours on 3 AAA batteries which means you can always have spares that don't take up much space. I also plan to have a small air horn with me just in case they can't see the light. I'm also not going to hang out in the channel. I don't even do that during the daytime, cross the channel and hug the shore away from the drunks on the boats!

Yak Attack Light & Flag
 

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What about a spotlight that you can switch to flashing red? That tends to get boater's attention better than a white light. I have one on our boat, was about 20 bucks from Amazon. LED and rechargeable.
 

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I picked up my YakAttack LED light and flag from Broxson Outdoors last night, great place to find Kayak accessories you're looking for! I'll also be taking out a spotlight, it will be the same LED one I took out on my boat for past couple of years and is plenty bright enough to light things up should I need to. I'll also probably wear a headlamp to make rigging easy, just depends on how much the YakAttack light lights things up for me. I've only done day fishing so far so thinking things through before I most likely venture out on Santa Rosa Sound at night this weekend. Kind of depends on the path of TS Cristobal, might be a stormy and wet weekend around here!
 

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I might have missed it but a small waterproff case and a cell phone or portable vhf raadio for sure. And a thin wet suit jackett when the water is cooler.
 
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