Another tubing trip disaster

Hidden hazards.
When I read that article it reminded me of a story I had seen a couple of days ago involving the death of another young person who was wearing a PFD but was found upside down in his kayak.

Heartbreak for both families.


These ARE disasters indeed
And peculiar in that both were wearing PFDs. Around here at least its been a long long time since I’ve heard of anyone drowning with a PFD on unless cold water or big rapids or strainers or something like that was involved. I’m wondering if these folks had any swimming experience… No mention was made in the articles, but to drown while wearing a PFD at least suggests that the kind of panic a complete non-swimmer might feel in such situations might have played a role?

But that’s mere empty speculation…

It must be devastating for the families. I recall when I was a child the elder brother of a friend of mine died in a swimming accident and it shook the whole community. For any parent the loss of a child, especially a sudden loss, has got to be one of the hardest things anyone could face.

My sympathies go out to the families involved.

I wonder if alcohol was involved?

– Last Updated: Jul-17-16 3:11 PM EST –

The article doesn't say but when I was in college a lot of VA Tech and Radford University students used to go tubing at McCoy falls on the New River and one or two students usually drowned down there nearly every year. Usually alcohol was involved.

I have never seen anyone wear a PFD while tubing either, I always thought the tube was your PFD

Hard to stay underwater in a PFD
I’m at a beach house for vacation, and I took a swim off the dock yesterday in my PFD. I dove underwater a couple of times to get my head wet, and the PFD popped me back up pretty quick. It’s tough to stay underwater in a PFD. You would have to hit an obstruction to stay underwater.

I do remember a local club trip where a lady tipped over in a strainer. As she was going over, she grabbed the sides of the boat to keep from falling out. We flipped her back over within seconds, and she was still sitting in the seat. I have always wondered how long she would have stayed like that before letting go and swimming out.

Almost two years ago
I recall reading about this, and it blew me away then, and still does now. There were cattails - could he have gotten tangled up in them? If you flip in dense seaweed, could you be at risk? Both of the events are just so sad.

wow - actually a good article

– Last Updated: Jul-18-16 6:22 PM EST –

All of those who call others snobs for encouraging new paddlers to learn to wet exit: this article is for you all.

The article does a great job of pointing out the hazards that still remain once you get into a kayak with a PFD on and capsize. Gasp reflex, entanglement, lack of ability to wet exit. A few years ago a skilled paddler died because she capsized and apparently couldn't free her spray skirt.

Now consider the buoyancy of a tube and trying to get back upright while inside it - with or without PFD.

This is the saddest kayak story …
Still trying to comprehend what happened, if he got tangled in cattails or what.

“His kayak’s cockpit was open, with no splash skirt. He should have been able to get out. Yet he may not have had the experience he needed to separate himself from his boat while underwater - a “wet exit” as experienced kayakers call it.”

Yes it’s possible to get tangled in kelp, and I used to have the worlds tightest cockpit surf kayak, and it was still pretty likely that sooner later you could kick or pull your self out. The kayak shown has a huge cockpit, he should have just fallen out. Foot caught on something on the inside?

Beginner paddlers should learn that you can doggy paddle your face up to the surface even if still in the boat to grab air.

He was a boy who loved to fish.
He could have had tackle, an extra pole, or other fishing gear stashed in the kayak and got tangled in that. No one will ever know and I can’t begin to imagine his mother’s pain.

"‘We made him take the four-wheeler safety class,’ Brennon’s mother said. ‘He was a hunter, we made him take the hunting class. But for his kayak, we never made him take a class.’”

not while sitting
A PFD in my experience isn’t sufficient to keep your head above water while sitting in the cockpit (upside down).

While learning various rolls, an extra effort was needed to come up for air between attempts. Although I’ve never heard anyone mention it before now, the doggy paddle technique suggested above does work. For early rolling practices I would “doggy paddle” up for air instead of having to wet exit & pump out.