Hi, I am new too and also have found this. I rarely use one and don’t have one. (i paddle in good weather usually) but I do understand the need for one on a longer trip and will be buying one.
Also finding that I need a recent training in rescue, which I don’t have but hope to take a class soon to refresh with my new boat. So getting accepted in a group is challenging
It is harder to sign up for trips but as I have been told, you need more caution for kayaking and having a reliable participant is important.