Weren’t wearing their PFD, two kayaks a man women and dog. The winds were 16 gusting to 22 Sunday evening as they crossed the 2 miles of water in the main pool of Lake Jocassee to camp at Double Springs campground. The man hasn’t been found yet. The dog swam to safety. The woman held onto the kayak and was rescued. She was treated for hypothermia.
I think many people are ignorant of the dangers. They don’t view the water itself as life threatening. What they have planned takes precedent over conditions. I know how I hate to cancel a trip myself.
Many times have I seen an overloaded canoe cross to double Springs. This type of accident is heartbreaking as it is totally avoidable! The news reports need to have the reasons for the outcome and educate the readers on the danger and appropriate safety precautions including canceling an on the water outing.
Kayaker missing on Lake Jocassee – Carolina Fish and Hunt
Sadness. I am in amazement that we don’t lose more people.
Paddle boarders seem to paddle well into the cold weather. I rarely see one with a life jacket or a wetsuit.
I heard they found him in 40 ft of water.
On a Jocassee Rendezvous we had a similar incident when 2 guys and their dog in a canoe swamped in a high wind. The good news was they were both wearing PFD.
They were rescued when one swam to shore and got help. The one who stayed with the canoe and the dog was blown against the rock wall and washing machined . He had a lot of scratches from the boxer trying to use him as a life raft.
A different outcome… and learning experience.
I’ve seen two near misses recently, and heard about a rescue, all in the same exact spot. A small pass from Shell Key out into the Gulf of Mexico. When the tide is going out the current is quite strong. A few weeks ago I almost had to rescue two swimmers who were getting sucked out of the pass. This past weekend I almost had to rescue someone in a 10’ SOT who got distracted by two dolphins and was very close to getting pulled out the pass into the mess of breaking waves. I’m pretty sure that only because I yelled at her to stay away from the pass that she even realized there was a potential problem.
A group of people was rescued by Pinellas county marine patrol also in the same spot last weekend! The wind picked up from 10-15 kt to 20-25 kt very quickly and they were not able to paddle back to their launch point. I was at Weedon Island because of the weather forecast and remember hearing the wind pick up when I was in the mangroves. Of course I could have paddled the 3/4 mile into that wind but I’d rather not, so I had chosen a different place to paddle that day.
Of course almost no one is wearing a PFD. The water is warm (currently 83 but will drop quickly with the rain and front coming in this weekend) and we can’t hide our beach bod while on a SUP.
Also, maybe a pet peeve of mine, but why do people absolutely lose their mind when they see a dolphin or manatee? I like seeing them as much as anyone else but the hysterical screaming is a bit much. This happens all the time here. I have thought someone was in trouble and then realized it was just someone on a pontoon boat screeching over a dolphin.
One time I did a crossing of maybe 1/2 mile on nearby Lake Keowee to go to an island with my black lab. For me it was spooky even in dead calm conditions knowing that powerboats could appear any time. I’ve also been on Keowee when the wind picked up and I almost swamped coming out of a protected cove. A two mile crossing is serious!
Castoff - I also get a strong feeling of “wanting to learn” from tragedies, especially local tragedies. I think it takes someone with experience to diagnose a tragedy and summarize the key Lessons Learned. I think that even well-intended reporters are clueless. You might want to reach out to a local news station and offer your input. That’s what I did with the last local tragedy and although I’m not satisfied that it helped much I intend to do it again when the next local tragedy happens. My local river took two people within three miles of my house this year and both were during relatively calm conditions. Ugh!
I also agree with you and Brodie that most people are simply unaware of the dangers. I remember talking one couple out of launching their new Hobie tandem for the first time when the St Joseph river was at 17 feet and flood level is 11 feet and trees and docks are shooting downstream at 6 or 7 mph. Not a borderline situation; I had abandoned my plans within 100 feet of leaving a protected area.
I share your pet peeve. In TikTok/Twit culture, it seems that everything must be the very best ever or the absolute worst ever, and no actual thinking is involved. As an example, just look at Amazon reviews - they’re mostly one star or five stars, and few offer even a shred of useful information (“I haven’t tried it yet but I know it will be great” - 5 stars).
Attention-seekers of all stripes scream their unfiltered oral diarrhea any where, any time, and for any reason. I can’t explain why being starved for attention (or acting that way) has become so fashionable. The good thing, I suppose, is that fashions change.
Back in my 20s and 30s when I was active in mountaineering and climbing, I used to get the annual American Alpine Club’s “Accidents in North American Mountaineering” which would collect reports of fatal or serious incidents (like those resulting in amputations or other serious injury, and even “near misses.”. They would summarize each event and then provide a peer evaluation of what went wrong (or right) and, where feasible, how the danger(s) could have been avoided or mitigated. The purpose was to share with and educate the community about what can happen and how to avoid or to handle both objective and subjective hazards for the best outcome.
It would be great if a similar annual report could be publicly available for paddling incidents but I don’t know who would do that. My state (Pennsylvania) used to publish a yearly summary of all watercraft-related deaths in the Commonwealth and it would note whether or not the victims were wearing PFD. Back when I regularly read these, the majority of fatalities were older men, fishing from canoes or small powered craft without a PFD who were found dead and out of their boats. In some cases, they were able to determine that a heart attack, stroke or seizure caused them to end up in the water.
Back when I was the on-site safety manager for a construction contractor I worked for on a large multi-year industrial project, I tried to get the other participants to agree to share and publicize details of accidents that occurred on the job and how they were handled, both to increase awareness among the workers of hazards that could be avoided and to educate them on how to best handle them when they occur. But some expressed concerns about individual privacy and legal complications (like workers having disability or workman’s comp claims delayed or denied because the details of incidents might suggest negligence by employers or workers.) So it was never implemented. Some of the trade magazines would report on serious accidents but usually anonymized the location and names enough to avoid such concerns.
Charlie Wallbridge (and others) does that for American Whitewater. They cover most moving water incidents including many that are not expicitly whitewater. They work with the best information available and will often attempt to delve deeper into the incident.
One of the people in our paddle group is writing up a safe practice piece to give DNR and the Sate Park. Your idea of informing local news organizations too is a good one.
They were in recreational kayaks without bulkheads or floatation.
I think it’s great that you are doing some follow-up.
Tidbit paraphrased from the Billings Gazette article by Roger Clausen, circa 1984: “Wear your PFD to allow you to save another persons life!”
Can’t pull it out of the ozone - hope that someone else can. MM
At a minimum, we won’t have to be worried about being found under water.
When you go out unprepared, you rely on luck: