Home » ‘Black dog’ kayaker Jay Rogers prepares to tackle one of Pembrokeshire’s most notorious waterways
Community Health Pembrokeshire West Wales

‘Black dog’ kayaker Jay Rogers prepares to tackle one of Pembrokeshire’s most notorious waterways

Jay Rogers and his kayak

To many seafaring people, the prospect of kayaking across the notorious Jack Sound in whatever unpredictable weather conditions April may bring, is a grim one. 

This, after all, is the treacherous body of water between Skomer Island and the Pembrokeshire mainland that has seen more than its fair share of sunken shipwrecks with a tidal race of up to six knots. 

“Yes, there are plenty of people out there, including fishermen and sailors, who are telling me ‘Don’t do it!’,” says Jay Rogers. 

“But as someone who’s struggled with mental health issues for so many years, this is my way of proving that whatever life throws at you, everything is under control.” 

On April 29th, Jay will be marking his 53rd birthday by kayaking from his home on Milford Haven Marina to Skomer Island. 

He is expecting to cover between four and six knots per hour which will enable him to complete the challenge in around eight hours. However, if the weather is against him, the journey could take considerably longer. 

“And I suppose this is why I’ve decided to do set myself the challenge,” he explains to The Herald. 

“The journey will represent fighting the currents and the winds, and all those other conditions that I’ve battled with mentally for very many years. 

“The Jay that everyone knows is a 6’ 2”, 21-stone man, who’s possibly one of the happiest, chirpiest people they know. But what they can’t see is the Jay who’s screaming out for help. 

“In the course of my life I’ve had three nervous breakdowns, I suffer from PTSD because of childhood experiences that have never left me, I’ve had suicidal tendencies and for most of my life, I’ve battled. 

“Things came to a head around 14 years ago but with the support of my wife and children, I got through it.” 

Jay’s ‘Black Dog Kayaking’ challenge will be raising funds for ‘Give The Boys A Lift’ which is the non-profit organisation based in Dew Street, Haverfordwest, offering free counselling services to anyone who finds themselves in need of support. 

“What these people are providing and the way in which they’re helping so very many people all over Pembrokeshire is incredible,” continues Jay.  

 “But one hour of counselling costs approximately £45 which they’re providing free of charge. 

“I’m aiming to raise a minimum of £2,000 for Give The Boys A Lift and I’m asking people for their support by making a donation to my justgiving page.” 

Jay has spent the past three months reconditioning what he describes as ‘an old beaten up sea expedition kayak’ ready for his voyage.

“It’s had new fibre glass and has been thoroughly rebuilt, so even my kayak has had its own special little journey.”

Jay will be accompanied throughout his mission by a support boat and safety marshal Josh Oughton who will be constantly monitoring the sea conditions, swells and readying the currents along with the weather conditions. 

“If Josh feels it won’t be safe, then we’ll just head straight in to Skomer Island and assess the condition before we go for it. But yes, if conditions go my way, I shall give it absolutely everything I’ve got.” 

Jay Rogers’ justgiving page can be visited on 


while his preparations in the coming weeks can be followed on his Black Dog Kayaking Facebook page.