Kayaking in fog conditions.
Good idea? Probably not ......but...

Actually Kayaking in the fog is always a bad idea. (What if you cannot see that school of redfish waving their spotted tails at you because of the white out?) Such an act would almost be sacrilegious.

However sometimes paddling in the fog is not a problem. Sometimes paddling in the fog-you might not have another option.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly scenarios of kayaking in the fog.

The Good?

Sunrise fog on the Suwannee River

Morning river fog and reduced visibility.

"Was that a sturgeon?"


The Good location for paddling in the fog:

The upper Suwannee River because of the shoals (rocks & rapids) Large areas of the Suwannee River have almost no motor boat traffic because it would be unwise to take a motorized water craft into the shallow rock area. 

And so this puts the Suwannee River in the "Sure why not paddle in the fog" list.

The only thing to worry about in the fog would be... the Shoals and prehistoric jumping sturgeon......

Suwannee River morning fog and...rocks

Another Good location for paddle adventures in the fog....KSC (Kennedy Space Center!)

The good? The lagoons around the space center!


Space Center Lagoons: 150 miles of knee deep water

The three Kennedy Space Center Lagoons.

Most of the areas of the brackish lagoons are shallow. Less than hip deep. Huge swaths are less than knee deep.

Paddling in the fog, even "white out" conditions, is fairly safe because most boats cannot get up into the shallows.

On those foggy race practice morinings: The less visibility, the shallower water I slip my QCC into.

Possible problems? Well besides being "closed lined" while slipping under docks. (happened)

Other problems? Some boats can get into the shallows. "The Flats boats" are made for the "skinny water"

And then the mammals.....

Of course another problem (shallow or deep water) is the mammals. The huge air breathers of the Florida waters, the manatees.

Friendly air breathing sea cows.

They will flip you if startled (both paddler and manatee will be wet and scared after the encounter...)


Hear a wet exhale in the fog?

Kick the rudder or the kayak will be white side up.

So yes- a fog hazard when paddling around the space center is the manatees. However they are also a hazard in a full daylight or full moon paddle...

I mention a pre dawn encounter with a manatee in my Paddle to watch a pre dawn space shuttle launch.

& again in the night bioluminescence paddle disaster story (paddle boarder vs sea cow)

And a complete flip over in full daylight! NASA Causeway

Might be other Fog problems around the Space Center.....

(Alright I have used this picture  about a dozen times now)

-Just like it! "Sudden sign in the Fog"

And let us not forget: The No Motor Zone! The KSC no motor zone is fairly safe to kayak in foggy conditions. NO motorized traffic. Certainly a lot of manatees and alligators...... not a big deal unless you get flipped over like in some type of Tarzan Movie.

The Ugly

Could a paddle in the fog be suddenly ugly?

Of Couse...When the fog is unexpected!

Our paddle vacation to the San Juan Islands. A very nice trip although I thought were gong to feed Orcas.

Our return paddle across the 900 ft deep Harrow Straight.

Sunny, cool & beautiful!

In the distance "An approaching" fog bank!

A harrowing crossing of the Harrow Straight with a Grand finish. San Juan Island Fog!

Most excellent adventure!

Successful if very ugly crossing and paddle through the unexpected fog.

The Bad!

So we were warned. DO NOT paddle the Missouri River in the fog!

I took this photo only 30 minutes into the Start of the MR340 race. Because the race had just begun "NOT ONE" of the 600 racers listened to the fog warning.

As soon as we crossed under the bridge, a three story BARGE came into view. Luckily for everyone.....It was moored for the race start.


The Missouri River 340 mile Kayak and canoe race across the state of Missouri

The MR340 is known for the fog.

Floating Dreams -Drone footage of the MR340 & excellent fog footage

"Oh this is bad......"


And finally after 11 miles. Through the fog.

Was a very bad idea...

Another foggy morning on a 340 mile kayak Race.

Breakfast in the boat.

A few essentials in the photo: Of course 'breakfast on the go"

But also of the night gear is in the photo:

 A flashlight (not shown is the small spotlight in my lap) & both secured to the deck rope

A GPS -not for location, but to measure my paddle speed

A sticker that lists the mandatory MR340 check points (otherwise known as how far to suffer to the next brief stop)

Front of the kayak: one of the mandatory night lights when on the Missouri River under the stars and moon. (it has fallen over in the photo)


A brief note on the fog paddling in these photos of the MR340. That year the Missouri River was just under flood stage. 99% of river rocks and fallen trees were far under the surface which gave me assurance we could paddle the fog bank without destroying our boats.

So all we had too look out far were errant drunken catfishermen and perhaps a giant barge or two....

We had the false illusion of safety and indeed everything worked out "that time"

On another night in light fog our boats came to a complete stop on a submerged sand bar (an island in normal waters) Other racers were paddling upstream to get off the sand bar and indeed we eventually had to paddle "up" the Missouri River to escape that trap. Oddly enough when turned on my GPS maps, the map showed us about 100 yards off the river in a cow pasture! (At 4am and lacking a good nights sleep...that was a head scratcher and I just turned the GPS off.)

Fog? Wispy tendrils of white or white-outs. Adventure not worth the risk.


And finally for now

Heavy fog white out conditions but in the distance...A Space Ship?

Only on KSC!

Of course the Photo Credit is NASA!

Return Home from Kayaking in the Fog page

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