: So I should paddle alone on my own schedule?
An anonymous paddler who meekly slides in with a large group on open water making the assumption they are in a benevolent environment are being irresponsible. Unless you have an explicit statement from a paddling partner, you are responsible for your own safety - and even if there was such a statement I'd trust very few with my life.
During the warm weather there are numerous gatherings that are much better places to learn skills - But the individual needs to make sure they have a person who's clearly agreed to act as their spotter and is capable of a rescue - don't assume the other paddler has even a basic level of rescue skills.
Each paddler needs to be 100% clear on what they can handle - if you have any doubts don't go out - One would be taking a major risk assuming someone is going to be looking out for them and is going to be able to get to you in time - regardless of theoretical group dynamics.
The Connyak BBS