Always dress for the water

Sad story…
I am not sure if any dress would have changed the outcome. I think that 18 hours in 44 degree water is beyond the normal limits of even a survival suit.

It isn’t as simple as “Always dress for
the water.” You dress for any reasonably forseeable situation. Here in Georgia, we can have cold water on January days where the air temperature is up in the 60s. We paddle hard, running rapids and playing, so we do not wear enough insulation under our drysuits or drytops to endure a long time under the water. If we were that insulated, we would not be able to paddle. Not just not paddle comfortably, not paddle >at all

How about…
leave a float plan with someone on shore, including a return time, so that any delay before a search is launched can be minimized.

Tim Gutmann
His bio. Click on the photos - you’ll enjoy them.

today’s article and letter from Brandon
The pressherald published an update on the event. There is a link at the bottom to a letter from Brandon, describing exactly what happened (on his end). I really feel for this guy. It’ll be tough to live with, even if he is not to blame.

Strong Recommendation to Read This

Credit to the poster above, ScenicRoute, for leading me here.

After the long discussion about posting paddling deaths along comes a very good, but very sad story like this which has a lot of value for all. There’s nothing to second guess, nothing to speculate about - it’s all here in the survivor’s tale. He tells you what went wrong and the rest is plenty obvious.

My condolences to the family and friends of Tim. I posted above a link to his web page because had he found PNet and shared, we all would have enjoyed this.

Stuff that happens

– Last Updated: May-16-07 7:35 PM EST –

Go out for an easy paddle, get caught short... I've certainly done it, others have. Our group was lucky and we got out of it with nothing more than red faces and the cost of paying someone to drive two of us across the bay to where our cars were, after we'd been forced by conditions to the opposite side. But it can take such a small change in circumstances for it to end really badly...

I hope the guy who made it out can let himself off the hook. It doesn't seem that he could have paddled any harder or better once they were in it.

Appreciate His Sentiment And Pain…
there are insights to be gained from the situation. Those insights, however, will undoutably differ among the readers. I will leave it at that.


There but for the grace of god…
Many of us have had near misses and could easily have perished paddling.

We read, feel and learn.

second that
Reading the survivor’s account, it seems we(at least I) have made the same decisions a number of times and been fortunate. Though it is generally a pretty safe sport, there are inherent dangers in kayaking that sometimes cannot be avoided no matter what preparations are made.

There Are…
“acts of God” (beyond control), miscalculations (can be minimized), and accidents (self induced/can be minimized; or induced by others/not controllable).

Everyday in life is somewhat of a “by the Grace of…” At the same time, “God helps those who help themselves” applies within the larger framework.


thanks for the link gary and SR
that is tough to read.

You’re right about there being nothing to second guess. I really hope this guy can somehow put it past him, one of the greatest things about good friendships is the responsibility we feel for each others’ well-being, even when there is nothing you can do to help the person. I echo what one of the posters said about the victim passing doing something he loved - something that very few of us will be fortunate enough to do - and that he would have wanted his friend to live his life to the fullest.

In Tragic Incidents, The Pain…

– Last Updated: May-17-07 1:37 PM EST –

of the survivor is not just about the loss but also from the second guessing... The "peace" if and when it comes is about letting second guessing and guilt go, and accepting that it is what it is.


Great link to his letter.
Very telling and emotional to read. Nothing left to say that hasn’t been said about that. My heart goes out to the family as well.

One thing that really struck me about this, however, was his experience on the island. I’m not familiar with the area or the island as I’m a midwesterner. However, why in the world wouldn’t there be some type of emergency phone or radio on an island dedicated to a light house? Maybe this is hindsight at it’s best, and it may be the first time anyone would have needed it, but it seems like something that should be installed as soon as possible by the authorities.

The idea isn’t unheard of or new either. I remember driving through remote areas in Georgia 20 years ago and they had emergency phones on the highway (pre-cell phone days). Same idea.

Memorable quote from
a priest I once knew:

“Pray like everything depends on God, work like everything depends on you.”

so true
Like losing a loved one to illness and thinking there was something more one could have done. If only it were so easy.

safety article in sea kayaker
There’s a great article in this month’s Sea Kayaker called “Training in the Triangle”. It’s about two paddling partners who go out to train their rescue skills in challenging waters, and what their findings are (what works and what doesn’t etc.) Their rescue stunts were spotted by someone who called for the coast guard, not realizing they were training. (the Coast Guard’s went out looking for them but never found them, even though they weren’t that far from shore).

They also had a knowledgeable local contact on shore, whom they were able to call with updates when they got stuck too far south and couldn’t get back, and whom their friends called when they got worried about them. Of course getting cell phone reception is far from certain. Anyway, good article re safety, and that you should let the coast guard know if you’re going to do rescue drills so they don’t think you’re in trouble.

what worked, for we who cant get this…

will post this weekend
Sorry. I will post details of the article this weekend (don’t have the issue with me and I read it a while ago). I’ll put it in a new topic called Sea Kayaker Safety Article.