Inflatables not a good idea on the Great Lakes

They were lucky.

There are inflatable and there are inflatables…In this case, the problem seems to be more of lack of awareness about the big lake dangers than the type of boat.

I paddled Lake Michigan for a couple of years using an inflatable at SW Michigan. The weather can turn quickly no matter the type of kayak.

I’m glad they were found safe.

Most definitely type of boat in this case. And yes, weather on the Great Lakes can turn quickly. But you have better boat control in a sea kayak.

They were paddling Intex inflatables, which sell for $90. And they were not wearing life jackets per the USCG.

Siblings, their parents must have been frantic.

Inexperience is not a good idea on the Great Lakes… these kids would have been in trouble on any major body of water in any kind of craft. They are damned lucky someone found them, and frankly being in inflatables plus summer is the only reason the CG recovered chilled young people rather than bodies.

If they were several miles offshore they got blown there. The inflatables made that easier but they would have been out of control in anything.

More recent events of someone getting blown offshore, like the Kennedy relatives in a canoe a couple of months ago, ended up with more tragic results. Or the two young women several years ago off of Cape Cod who were carried out by the Monomoy islands in Swifties. Evidence they found indicates they capsized somewhere near the southern end where the current can be a hoot if you know what you are doing. But it can be fast enough to scare a newbie.

Don’t know what can be done to get in front of foolish choices…

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Lake Michigan: cold water, no wetsuits or dry suits worn…dumb!
No pfds: dumb!
Paddling inflatable/strong wind or current or both :dumb!
Young kids with no paddling experience, out on a lark:dumb!
Incapable of self rescue: dumb!

5 dumbs is “usually enough” to get the average dweeb killed.
They were very lucky indeed…Hope they learned something, but doubtful that they did.


P.S. Take them to a few kid’s funerals; let them view the bodies in the caskets, so they have a real idea of what dead looks like.

I bet they’d learn something if the Coast Guard sent them the bill for their rescue.


Gitchellbob, is on spot with his evaluation. So many look at and buy a kayak and never think about it sinking, even if there are no enclosed hatches, plus they think if they fall in, they’ll just get right back into the boat. Unfortunately, large bodies of water like the Great Lakes or the ocean are not as forgiving as a river where the water may be slow. I am in my 27th year of kayaking, learned to swim at the age of 10, and I still never get on the water, no matter how calm it may be, without my PFD. Plus with the exception of this year, with the Covid situation, I’ve participated in ‘Safety Rescue’ every summer, with the same group for over 25 years and all of us are advanced paddlers, and not getting any younger, but by golly, we can still get back into our boats, should we capsize and the rule for this group, is "If you don’t wear your PFD, you don’t paddle with us. Wear your PFD for your own safety and make it back safe to your loved ones.

I have one I bought on sale for $45. It is a tandem. It paddled better as a tandem than a solo. I took it across our creek and back,(200 yards. ). I ain’t going in it any more here in our calm 81.5 degree water. . Lake Michigan in the Intex…never.

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