I am suggesting that, BEFORE GETTING ON THE WATER, WE EACH DECIDE TO PADDLE SOLO OR COMMIT TO PADDLE TOGETHER. WE SHOULD THEN MAKE OUR INTENTIONS KNOWN TO THE GROUP.(highlighted for clarity not because I'm being a jerk) This is especially important when paddlers are of varying ability or when conditions could possibly prove stressful to some or all of the paddlers involved. If a group starts off paddling together, and then splits up for whatever reason, someone often feels "left behind". Worse yet, some of the paddlers may have ventured out further than they would have on their own because they were counting on the safety margin provided by the group. If that goup dissolves while underway, risk and anxiety levels for some group members immediately increase.
Making the decision to paddle solo or as part of a group and informing your fellow paddlers need not be awkward or uncomfortable. I do this regularly with people I paddle with. One time, a friend of mine wanted to bring a short boat to a TNP I said no worries, I'll stick with you and we'll play along the way. Another time, a group of us were scheduled to meet. I looked at the conditions(glass calm, incoming tide on the Mystic River, warm August evening)and decided to go kayak fishing. I let my friends know I was paddling solo and would meet them for the tailgate picnic afterwards.
The Connyak BBS