John found this interesting article, which you can read here. Summed up: a kayaker who chats on the Australian Kayak Fishing Forum under the name Spottymac reported that his kayak was hit by a powerboat.
Not just any ol' powerboat, either. A 40 ft flybridge cruiser. Apparently it was on autopilot and the skipper was inattentive.
The kayaker wasn't hurt. At the last moment before collision, he rolled off his sit-on-top away from the cruiser as it reached him. Yes, he went under the cruiser. Yes, he felt like he was in a washing machine as the propeller churned past him. But the kayak took the beating from the propeller blades, and Spottymac came to the surface with all his limbs still attached.
Check out the photo posted at the Kayak Angler website. There are at least five evenly-spaced slices through the plastic shell of the kayak at about the point where Spottymac would have been sitting... oog.
It's worth another reminder to our paddling friends -- remember that in our small boats, we are almost invisible to other boaters! Wearing bright colours and paddling together isn't enough to ensure that the skipper of a yacht or a powerboat will see us small boaters.
Our paddle group has verified that even on a sunny, calm, clear day in familiar waters, a kayaker wearing orange while paddling a yellow and blue kayak is INVISIBLE at three hundred yards, even when being sought by a friend who watched her paddle away. That's right, John watched me paddle away, blinked, and suddenly couldn't see me and my bright little inflatable kayak silhouetted against the gray stone shoreline. Even the photographs of that moment don't show my colourful figure against the rocks.
We at Kayak Yak are trying to remember our invisibility when paddling near other boaters. We try to stay out of the way of other boats. So far, no near-misses or collisions... but we have been swept by the wakes from powerboaters who probably didn't know we were there or would be affected.