Lake Superior paddlers rescued

MUNISING, Mich. (WLUC) - Three kayakers were rescued between Sand Point and Miners Castle at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on the afternoon of September 13. All three were treated at Munising Memorial Hospital and released that evening.–393353081.html

OK, armchair QB time. The article has good detail and some good recommendations from the rangers. I’ve paddled Pictured Rocks often, always check in at the ranger station, and find they’re pretty mindful of informing people of conditions.

It sounds like these guys were all prepared in terms of outfitting but perhaps less os in terms of judgement and ability. I know if I were with two other people who ended up floating, that at least ONE of us would be back inside their boat pretty quickly.

I’ve been in the described conditions at Pictured Rocks and they can either be fun, or not so fun.

The picture of the airlift looks fun but I bet it wasn’t. And I wonder if the two boats are still down there.

Good article
The cliff face in the picture looks rather unforgiving.

It’s nice to read a story where proper gear saved the situation, rather than the usual, “no gear, no PFD” calamities.

I wonder if they had VHF’s. All communication to rescuers seemed to be by cell phone.


Glad this one has a happy ending,
but I have to wonder if they checked the marine forecast before heading out. The NWS had issued weather warnings on September 13.

Kudos to the Traverse City USCG air station. They’ve had a very busy summer, unfortunately, and not always with good outcomes. The guy from Kalkaska who paddled a box store rec boat a mile out on Lake Michigan on Labor Day still hasn’t been found.

All these incidents have made me rethink what emergency communication equipment to carry, especially now that the lakes have emptied of tourista jetskis and power boats and the summer people have retreated to their homes.

if they checked in @ park headquarters
then I’m certain they heard a warning and were encouraged to read the forecast. But many people just put in and go. The fact that they put in at Sand Point makes me think they went to headquarters, but that’s just my assumption.

I’ve gone out after being warned by the ranger regarding small craft advisories, but I appreciated the heads-up.

They are all alive , did something right
Interesting hear how they all ended up swimming.

Better prepared than most news story kayakers, since nobody died after 4 -7 hours swimming in Lake Superior.

that struck me also
Well-prepared, but all three swam and no one got back in their boat.

Controlled environment reminder.
I think a good overall philosophy is that you should test your ability in conditions with an onshore wind and shore surf before venturing into open water on something like a Great Lake or the ocean. Just make sure the weather will put you and your boat back on shore when your own efforts seem to be failing you.

I remember a day of a planned circumnavigation of a barrier island here on the Atlantic coast. The planner was a bit worried about the abilities of some in the group. He had planned to make a landing on the ocean side, where we would have to launch again. Then at the other end of the island, paddle back into a more shallow inlet, where breaking waves would likely be unavoidable. Then there was still the question of how everyone would handle the open water environment. I suggested paddling out through the shoals where some small, more gently breaking waves would very gradually build, and we could get an idea of where abilities fell.

I barely got out into the smaller breaking stuff, and we had 3 capsizes. We were both pretty happy to learn than before leading the group out to sea, and we went back into the sound. But later I caught a little hell from one of those that capsized. He was upset that I didn’t take the deep channel out of the first inlet, as he felt he could have easily made it out to sea without capsize that way.

So focused on the original goal, or maybe a little embarrassment, that he couldn’t quite get the more serious issues that we were trying to avoid. Even after that, he still was upset that he wasn’t out at sea. Didn’t make the connection of boat handling in 1 foot spilling waves being at least somewhat indicative of ability in 4’ short-period open water, or of the much larger outer breaks we’d encounter. Just a survive/outlast/outluck only what you have to as you go sort of attitude I guess?

So I bring it up so that the controlled environment thoughts might ocassionally override human nature.

Lake Superior water temps
…was up last week on MN north shore and it is as warm as I have ever seen/felt it. That is a long way from UP. Wonder how temps were.

I have been in those conditions at Pictured Rocks. The clap was so bad I was at least a mile off shore just to stay off the trampoline so I could move forward. I was 50 something. I might not go for it now days at 60 something.