You did good, dc9mm.
This part of the river never freezes because it is directly below a large dam that protects Des Moines from flooding. It has decent current. The canoe launch is just upstream of a major bridge build that has been going on for the past year or so. Just another thing that may have caused his boat to capsize besides a medical issue.
In the past couple of years I’ve seen more idiots on one of my local class III runs paddling and innertubing with no PFD or drygear on than I have my entire life. I don’t risk it, ever. I wear my PFD even on low volume class I-II runs. You never know what could happen.