River Safety Experiment: Underwater Color Visibility

After being around a few, and reading reports of many whitewater entrapment accidents, I noticed something. Rescuers regularly report that they struggled to see the trapped paddler underwater, even when they were within a few feet of them. This often complicates rescues and makes it harder to help quickly–which is obviously important if somebody is underwater. I’ve also noticed a big difference in visibility while squirt boating, and trying to film squirt boating. So I’ve been wondering which colors would be best for kayakers to wear if they want it to be easy to be seen underwater. Watch this test to see the results!

Thanks to Mason Hargrove, Tom Dolle, McKinley Kate Hargrove, and Rachel Scheffe for videoing, drone flying, and assisting with this experiment. I did the directing and editing. These results might be different in blue water, and visibility would obviously be better for all colors in clearer water. The Chattahoochee on a cloudy day represented a pretty good average kayaking day for me in terms of lighting and water clarity. Enjoy! Stay Safe!

PS Sorry that I didn’t have a Camo colored shirt to test, but it’s pretty obvious that Camo is designed to not be easy to see.

Enjoy!

Live from Columbus, GA,

Stephen Wright

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