I just got off the phone with the Canadian Coast Guard and was told that strobe lights are ONLY to be used as a distress signal.
In the Collision Regulations of the Canada Shipping Act
it is stated in Rule 36:
Signals to Attract Attention
If necessary to attract the attention of another vessel any vessel may make light or sound signals that cannot be mistaken for any signal authorized elsewhere in these Rules, or may direct the beam of her searchlight in the direction of the danger, in such a way as not to embarrass any vessel. Any light to attract the attention of another vessel shall be such that it cannot be mistaken for any aid to navigation. For the purpose of this Rule the use of high intensity intermittant or revolving lights, such as strobe lights, shall be avoided.
(red text is added by me to highlight the sentence)
The Coast Guard regulations regarding correct navigation lighting for kayaks is one single white light visible by 360 degrees. Steve and I have spoken with Coast Guard officers at the False Creek station on several occasions and they have told us that because our single white rear deck mounted light is blocked by our bodies that the use of a headlamp is a good idea for shining at oncoming boats.
So yes, fester is correct -- in Canada, strobe lights on kayaks are only to be used as a distress signal. I'll be sending off an e-mail to notify Wavelength Magazine of the error in the article.