Favorite issue of 2018
Waterfront living, food and fishing. These were the Coast Monthly themes you loved the most last year based on the results of our poll asking readers to vote for their favorite issue of 2018.
The Waterfront Living issue in May ranked first, with 27 percent of the vote; the Food issue in September came in second at 23 percent; and the Fishing issue in August ranked third with 9 percent of the vote, while the Environment, Cowboy and Patriotic issues trailed close behind.
Letters to the editor
I’m writing on behalf of our long-standing Houston-Galveston-based kayak fishing club, Paddling Anglers in Canoes and Kayaks, aka, P.A.C.K.
The cover of the March issue features a model paddling a kayak omitting the one piece of safety gear our members never leave the beach without, a life jacket.
It’s impossible to tell if it was overlooked, a choice of the model or the photographer to shoot without one. No one in our paddling community would consider seeing a well-fitted PFD (personal flotation device) a turn-off to enjoying the sport. It’s the newcomers to this hobby that we want to protect.
When bad things happen on the water, it happens fast, especially if motor boats are in the immediate area. Images such as the March cover give young readers an illusion that it’s cool to venture out without a U.S. Coast Guard approved PFD. The stories of missing kayakers found deceased not wearing a life jacket tug at our hearts. The fishing community is tight-knit, but also fiercely independent and may ignore common sense regarding life jackets. We are working to change that perception.
Our club has more than 20 years of experience paddling the Texas coast. Attention to safety comes first. We want all of our members and guests to return home without incident after each trip.
2019 P.A.C.K president
I write you concerning the cover photo of the March 2019 issue of Coast Monthly. It features a paddler in a kayak. The kayaker on the cover is not wearing a life jacket. A properly designed and worn life jacket is a paddler’s best friend in an accident.
As a local kayaker, I am pleased to see promotion of this sport by magazines such as Coast Monthly. However, information and images about doing it safely are vital.
U.S. Coast Guard data for 2017 records 94 kayak-related deaths in the U.S., 81 (86 percent) of them from drowning. Of these 81 lives lost, 50 (62 percent) were not wearing life jackets.
Several national organizations and publications strongly recommend the proper use of suitable life jackets for recreational boaters, including the U.S. Coast Guard, the American Canoeing Association and the National Safe Boating Council.
In Texas, all kayaks must be equipped with a life jacket that fits and is approved by the U.S. Coast Guard for each person. Children under 13 must wear them when moving.
People get ideas from looking at pictures. Magazines such as Coast Monthly can help encourage paddling — done safely — by modeling responsible paddling in your photos. I urge Coast Monthly to print something in an upcoming issue recommending that all your readers who go boating wear proper life jackets for safety and legal reasons.
Thank you for your attention. Your readers can find information on safe and enjoyable local kayaking at the website of the Houston Association of Sea Kayakers, www.hask.org.
Safety director and training coordinator
Houston Association of Sea Kayakers