Family paddling in Plymouth Sound and estuaries

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jlscott
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Family paddling in Plymouth Sound and estuaries

Post by jlscott » Tue Aug 29, 2017 1:39 pm

Lived in Plymouth all my life (40 years!) and I want to take advantage of living in such a great location. How safe/feasible would some beginner solo and family kayaking be, in and around the shoreline of Plymouth Sound and some of the nearby estuaries? (I've heard Wacker Quay is nice in the right tidal window). I wouldn't venture far. Unfortunately I can't store/transport a hard shell, so I'm looking at the Sevylor Alameda inflatable. My kids are 8yr and 5yr, can both swim and comfortable in water and we'd all be fitted with buoyancy aids. I'd also take a dry bag and mobile phone in waterproof case.

If it were just me, I'd be really keen on standup paddleboarding, but with kids this only seems feasible in lakes and sheltered beaches in the summer months.

I want to get out on the water, take things slowly and in time join a club and learn. The appeal of the inflatable is also taking it on hols down in Cornwall. I'm hesitant to post here but I want to get advice from as many places as possible.

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nickcrowhurst
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Re: Family paddling in Plymouth Sound and estuaries

Post by nickcrowhurst » Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:05 pm

I recommend that you join the Tamar Canoe Association (TCA) and paddle with them from Saltash: http://www.tamarcanoeassociation.org.uk/
There is a wide variety of great trips from Saltash. Plymouth Sound can be a scary place for a beginner, with complex tides, rough disturbed water, and lots of power boat traffic. I'm sure you'll meet a friendly group at the TCA.
Nick.

StanGuz
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Re: Family paddling in Plymouth Sound and estuaries

Post by StanGuz » Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:15 pm

Give Danny at Discovery Divers at Bovisand a call. He hires sit on tops from there that you can try, access to the water is sheltered and you can paddle either back into the sound, or along the coast towards Heybrook bay. Great place to go from, parking is easy (reasonable rates too), site is secure and there's food from the dive shop if they're about. Happy paddling!

Cheers.

Stan.
What could possibly go wrong......?

jlscott
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Re: Family paddling in Plymouth Sound and estuaries

Post by jlscott » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:45 pm

Thanks both. I have so many questions I think a club is the only way.

On a side note, I saw someone paddling in the Plym estuary, near Saltram beach. I thought that area would be somewhat safe, but a colleague mentioned strong currents. Is it really that deceptive?

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Re: Family paddling in Plymouth Sound and estuaries

Post by PlymouthDamo » Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:51 pm

Most areas within the Sound have strong currents between high and low tide, including the Plym Estuary. Within The Sound, 'slack water' generally occurs between around an hour before to an hour after high/low water - but with some local variations. Outside those times, the Plym can flow quickly - have a look over the side of the Laira Bridge 3 hours after high water on a spring tide to see how bad it can be. Also, if you get it wrong, you could have a long wait on the mud...

Depending on where you are, the kayak club at Mountbatten (Port of Plymouth Canoeing Association) might be the most convenient for you. They have a big unit next to my old dive club's unit, which was always stacked with gear and seemed to be focused on kids and families. Trying out a load of kit would be a good idea before shelling out on an inflatable. I'm not decrying inflatables by the way as I used to paddle one across from the Hoe to Mountbatten and back every Monday for my dive club meeting - like any boat, you just need to learn their limitations and plan accordingly. The Mountbatten club also do a lot of paddling around The Sound, so you'll get a chance to learn the ropes and find the safe spots and practices.

jlscott
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Re: Family paddling in Plymouth Sound and estuaries

Post by jlscott » Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:01 am

This all seems somewhat daunting! But maybe it's better to feel that way, than blasé and running into trouble.

nige w
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Re: Family paddling in Plymouth Sound and estuaries

Post by nige w » Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:55 am

You might like to consider Plymouth and Saltash Canoe Club part of Nige w Canoe/Kayak Coaching. This is a non subscription association offering the full range of personal paddlesport training and coaching. www.nigewcanoekayakcoaching.org.uk

arcticrambler
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Re: Family paddling in Plymouth Sound and estuaries

Post by arcticrambler » Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:09 pm

As has been mentioned, The Port of Plymouth Canoe Association, based at the Mount Batten Centre over at Turnchapel can offer you lots of paddling options to choose from. Come along just to take a look, we offer a wide variety of courses (including Sit On Top safety) and we own a large selection of boats, from small white water play boats, to sea kayaks to open canoes (& SOT!), if you become a club member you can paddle any of these boats once you have the required skills. As a 'beginner' you don't need to pay out on expensive clothing, for the PPCA courses turn up in a track suit and training shoes and we can provide the rest of the gear you will need.

If you do decide to own a boat we can provide secure storage in our sheds at Mount Batten.

Though based close to Plymouth Sound which is a beautiful area to paddle, we explore many other places to paddle, from the numerous rivers around the area for white water, to gentle paddling up the Tamar/ Lynher etc, we have regular sea kayak trips along our nearby glorious coastline and later this year we have 25 club members going to the Isles of Scilly for a weeks sea kayaking and a weekend trip to Penzance, again sea kayaking.

Take a look at the website for lots more info including prices: http://www.ppca-canoe-club.org.uk, you will also find a list of 'contacts' with email addresses and phone numbers.

Come along to our mini 'Open Day' on Sun 20 May 2018, between 11am and 3pm, at Mount Batten and talk to club members.

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Re: Family paddling in Plymouth Sound and estuaries

Post by mcgruff » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:07 pm

Lots of adventure sports - climbing, mountaineering, sea kayaking - bring you close to real danger. The knowledge you have of the environment you're in is the only thing which allows you to reduce the risk to whatever level you're comfortable with. Don't ever stray outside the limits of your own knowledge.
jlscott wrote:
Tue Aug 29, 2017 1:39 pm
My kids are 8yr and 5yr, can both swim and comfortable in water and we'd all be fitted with buoyancy aids.
For example survival times in cold water are not good even if you can swim.

Average May-Sep sea temps in Plymouth are more or less in the 10-16C range ie loss of consciousness in 1-2 hours. Death in 1-6. Children have a higher surface area to volume ratio and so will lose heat faster.

Cold shock can kill immediately if you are fully immersed when the gasp reflex kicks in and fills your lungs with water. If you're not used to it, it feels like 10,000 volts being passed through your body. (Come to think of it, even if you are used to swimming in cold water it still feels like 10,000 volts... you just learn to relax and let it pass through you).

If you have wet suits or dry suits these can significantly extend survival time in cold water. Without them, going in the water any distance offshore immediately puts you in a survival situation even if you do have buoyancy aids.

Thus the first rule for a family trip might be always to stay within easy swimming distance of the shore - and a shore you can actually escape from. Passing along miles of sea-cliffs could leave you dangerously exposed.

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