Friday, September 03, 2010

Can We Settle This?
I vaguely recall someone quoting some article which concluded that rescuers in the air stated that of all the deck colors the easiest to spot out there was Robin egg blue. Is this true?

Someone said something on a recent CASKA posting about which colors showed up best and came to some other conclusion. I wrote to mention this article to which I refer, and someone wrote back to say that he had been on shore watching a group of boats and that the blue decks clearly stood out.

So, is is true? Do you know where this mythical article (which I quote) appeared?

Paddle safe...
DS

11 comments:

Scott said...

I tried unsuccessfully to find some published research on visibility of colors over distance.

I made the original CASKA post and it came from conversations I had with 3 different air-sea rescue coast guard guys from 3 different parts of the country. Each said Robins egg blue was the easiest to see across the most varied lighting conditions.

Their answer may only be specific to their environment i.e. looking down on the sea from several hundred to a thousand or more feet in the air.

My personal opinion is that I'm not going to get myself in a position where the color of my boat would effect the outcome of my situation.

If paddlers are concerned about being seen, they'd be better off making their paddle blades extremely visible. Even if swimming, I can wave my blade several feet in the air and if it has reflective tape on it, it is way more visible than any boat, regardless of color.

DaveO said...

If its correct I guess I'm feeling kind smug with my Robins egg blue Explorer. Years ago I had a dark blue Solstice and was chastised by the USCGS about being invisible.

SherriKayaks said...

I will have to go back and look, but I'm pretty sure there was an article in Sea Kayaker magazine many years ago about the issue of color visibility which I'm pretty sure is where I first heard about the robin's egg blue color.

JohnB said...

Not only do I have a "robin's egg blue" Romany, but I also have a strobe attached high on the shoulder of my pfd--any SAR pilot will speak to the effectiveness of those at night when they are doing a search with night vision goggles on (really effective). I too remember reading the article about colors, but when/where?

Rick Isaacson said...

International Orange seems to be the most common sense answer to me. Going back to my Navy days everything from our Kapok life jackets to our foul weather suits were international orange. If there is another rational behind this I would be interested in hearing the story.

If you really want to be seen from the air the best method seems to be a mirror of some sort as well as bright green die packs(not sure if these are commercially available.)

My 2 cents...

JohnB said...

to Rick's point of a mirror and dye--good for day time use, and the mirror requires a light source too (sun).

Naturally Superior Adventures said...

I think it was in Adventure Kayak magazine this past summer. I read it very recently as well.

cowboygrrl said...

I'd heard it was always yellow. But my deck is Caribbean blue. Does that count?

Silbs said...

Everything counts. Your guess is as good as anyone else's :)

Bryan said...

I don't have this issue, but would it be this article?

Sea Kayaker Magazine, Issue 44, Feb. 1995, page 49: “Choosing Colors for Sea Kayaks” by Nigel Foster: Safety, Kayak visibility, Color

Silbs said...

There you go. Thanks, Bryan.