Gas tankers and paddlers

I visited a town in Quebec recently that is facing a problem. There is a push to develop an LNG port right next to a marine sanctuary that is meant to protect a beluga nursery in a confined fjord. (The more you look into it, the crazier this idea is… its like, what kind of cheesy Hollywood villain… get a better writer, guys.)

Anyway… they found out that I have worked on oil tankers, and they didn’t lynch me or anything, but they did want to know: what kind of clearance does a canoe or a kayak require ahead of, behind, and on the sides of a laden gas tanker? I don’t know the answer. Does anyone else?

Given a high level of competence on the part of the kayaker, zero.

Also, you reminded me that I wrote this a long time ago.

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surely not zero. There must be some kind of safety envelope for the tanker? I mean, what if the paddler lights up some kind of fully legal smokable substance? Or is otherwise not intrinsically safe?

If you really know what you’re doing, surviving contact with a tanker at speed shouldn’t be a huge issue (unless you go under its bow, obviously). At a reduced level of competence, chemically or otherwise, you want to operate kayaks in a controlled environment, no tankers involved in any way.

For what reason and whose safety? The paddler? Enough not to hit them. And as already noted, a reasonably skilled paddler doesn’t need much, if any. If the concern is a flame source , then use whaever applies to a recreational power boat.

Of very little relevance to your question, but it does involve kayaks and tow boats.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard the term “paddler” to refer to used by someone who isn’t one.

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I was more worried about the open flame than the lack of sobriety…

Rolls off the tongue better than manually powered small craft… or what-ever term regulators have used.

If you are Inert or have an N2 Blanket, you really should not have much to worry about. Now on the other hand if you were not gas tight and bleeding cargo vapours there may be a slightly higher cause for concern. Generally speaking most “paddlers” have enough sense to stay away from a tanker. Then again I know the area you are speaking of and in this area every small craft think they own the channel.

I was talking to some of the pilots who are here this week. They told me that for working vessels the exclusion zone around gas tankers is 200 m. They figured it would be at least that for recreational boaters.

The LNG tank ships that I visited as a tech rep were moored to a very long pier, and usually accessed via motor launch with the agent. A security patrol keeps nosy kayakers at bay. I would hope that’s the same in your case.

I bought my first kayak last year btw…they are great fun and fantastic exercise for the whole upper body. I recommend them! Plan to add a second one soon.

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