It’s not often that I write an opinion piece, but a recent news article describing an alligator attack on Sarah Boynton while she was paddling her inflatable kayak in the Florida Everglades really caught my attention. A couple of things leaped out at me from the details of the news article; the first detail being an inflatable kayak in alligator country and the second that she was an “avid kayaker.”
An avid kayaker would know better than to paddle an inflatable kayak into waters known to be inhabitated by alligators!
Yes, I paddle a kayak in Florida but I take precautions. I use a hard plastic kayak. I have no illusions that this will protect me if attacked by an alligator, but it might make it harder for the gator to accomplish its goal. Secondly, I treat all bodies of water as if it has an alligator in it, affording them all the respect and distance I can to safely pass. Last but not least, I keep hands and feet inside the ride at all times.
I’m glad that Sarah Boynton survived her encounter but I keep shaking my head and wondering how she got into her predicament in the first place? Alligators are dangerous animals that need to be treated with respect and a healthy dose of common sense. Educating oneself about alligator behavior can go a long way in preventing dangerous encounters like hers. Her story could very easily have had a tragic ending.