Tandem Rec kayak rescue in Georgian Bay

A nice view of what a flooded tandem Rec kayak looks like. Both paddlers were wearing PFDs. Fortunate to have the tour boat come by.

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Wow. Good for them hanging on to their paddles and the boat. A great save by the tour boat. I wonder if they had a phone or radio with them.

That dark colored PFD the gal was wearing was literally invisible on the water. The red wasn’t much easier to see from a distance.

Rec boats sure are heavy when full of water. Four guys had trouble getting it on board.

Note that every time they latched on to a survivor or kayak the boat manuvered and made recovery more difficult. (Prop wash).

Note the kayak cart was not lashed to the kayak. Wonder what else floated/sank away.

Kinda makes you wonder why the kayak was out there in those conditions that far out.

Wind and whitecaps in a rec boat. What were they thinking? I won’t take a rec boat in the ocean.

To be commended: that they were calm and stayed with the boat with their paddle.
Not to be commended: going out there that day in that boat.

Those two were smart. And very lucky. I’m surprised that the captain bothered to recover the kayak…it took a good amount of time and effort to get it onboard.

Perhaps he was concerned about it being found days later and a(nother) search and rescue operation would be launched…

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People really don’t understand that these rec boats are not really safe farther from shore than you can swim. Stores aren’t to quick to point out the downfall of these boats.

That was pretty good that the stern paddler was able to keep the boat upright sitting in it. That was very good of the powerboats.

Most people haven’t a clue how difficult it is to perform a rescue on swamped rec boat. Even if they do have floatation the amount of water they take on will weigh hundreds of pound’s. Without floatation, most plastic boats will not sink, but the cockpit rim will often be at or below the waterline. Even with floatation the cockpit rim will often be so close to the waterline that even small waves will wash in. Personally, I don’t have the strength to use any of the common methods to drain the water out of a rec boat while on the water. Using a hand pump takes forever.

I’ve dealt with a number of rescues of rec boats on swim supports. They usually involve someone who has little or no experience in a kayak who had borrowed or been loaned a rec boat. Fortunately, swim supports that will allow a rec boat to take part generally have the course not too far from shore. All you can do is tow the boat and person to shore. It is a slow and very difficult tow and takes someone away from their support role for an extended period of time. Even towing a person without a boat is laborious.

I was at a rock with petroglyphs in the Susquehanna River with a group when a couple in rec boats joined us. The guy when he was getting back into his boat slipped and flipped the kayak. The rock where we were had a drop-off all the way around, no shallow water to stand in. The only way we were able to drain the boat was to remove the stern drain plug and then four of us gradually pulled the boat up letting the water slowly drain out. It took about 15 minutes. We ended up escorting them back to the nearby landing because the guy was wearing cotton clothing, even though it was a cool day and the water was in the upper 50s. He was beginning to show signs of hypothermia. We were all waring dry suits.

Even if the people in this video had been part of a group, I don’t know how successful it would have been to drain the boat and get the people back into it. They never should have been out there. Without a lot of luck this story might have had a different ending. In open water like that, having a means of communication would have been a good idea. At least they were wearing their PFDs.

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Looking at it a little closer, it looks like they may have been 1/4 - 1/2 mile off shore from flowerpot Island. Swell & (probably) wind were blowing them away from the island likely towards the mainland 2 - 4 miles away. Making a guess at the location & direction that might have been against the cliffs in the National Park. I don’t know if they called by phone or not but is does look like the captain checks something to his right shortly before the rescue.

“Oh look. White caps. Let’s go paddle in that.” Very dumb. Very lucky.
I noticed that one of the victims had the PFD latched but not zipped up.
Also, the rescuers should have been wearing PFDs.

This is also a prime example of why having proper safety gear with you is critical. If that has bulkheads or if the bow and stern were filled with floatation that could have been re floated with a bilge pump and sponge.

I’ve paddled across there a few times. It’s very exposed and doesn’t take much to whip up big waves. Could be they paddled over to the island in the morning calm then tried to make it back. I would often see rental boats out there with neither craft nor paddler up for the conditions.

I wonder if they got billed for the rescue. At least the tourists had an interesting ride.

I think it’s important to actually attempt some rescues with rec boats. If I had discovered them from my kayak:
I have them get to the ends of their kayak. I pull alongside their kayak. I have them help turn their kayak on its side up against mine, open cockpit towards me. I hang on to the top edge of their cockpit coaming, and have them both follow my deck lines to get themselves on the opposite side of my kayak from their kayak, one in front of my cockpit, one behind my cockpit. I have them both reach over my kayak to grab the same top edge of their cockpit coaming that I’m holding on to. We all lift the weight of their kayak until it gets to the point of lifting water in their kayak above the surface. On a quick count of 1,2, go, we flip it upright. I hold the center of their coaming, and have their stern paddler crawl across my rear deck. If the 1st person needs to bail some before getting all the way into their kayak, they can. Or they can crawl right into theirs and bail. Once bailed enough for two, the second paddler can crawl across my back deck into their seat, and take over bailing duties as primary function, assist with paddling as secondary function.
Looking at the conditions, I suspect they would do just fine with a little attentiveness to bailing as they paddled to shore. I could also provide tow assistance if it seemed a winning idea.
With rec boats, you lift in the way that you can lift the most boat above the surface without lifting any water, and at that point, will leave the least amount of water remaining inside.

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Aw. That brings back some great memories of paddling GB. Most of the trees there slant to the east because it blows hard and often. It’s not the boat it’s the paddler. The conditions didn’t look too bad. I’ve paddled a similar boat through worse. One of my favorite sayings about sailboats is that the boats often can handle more than the sailors. I believe the same is true for kayaks. When I started paddling I read books on it; took a class; subscribed to ‘Canoe/Kayak’ magazine; and practiced bracing. Now bracing and boat control are more difficult with a person in front of you in a short tandem, but still quite possible. Look at the crazy stuff whitewater boats go through. Strong paddling skills can make you almost untippable. Take one wave at a time. And, if you have to head in to the waves to keep them off of your beam. Surfing and crashing surf is a different story.

That’s why I call these types of boats “floating bathtubs”. Pretty obvious the one paddler was sitting in it like it was a bathtub. Why they are so popular is beyond me (except maybe that they are cheaper). You get what you pay for as they say. A high price to pay for your safety in the long run. Seeing how windy it was with the women’s clothing on the tour boat, it’s obvious they had no business being out there. You wonder if they ever checked the forecast for the whole day and wind predictions. They did the right thing by holding on to the kayak and paddles. We don’t see how it ended up upside down. Why bring those heavy wheels along for the ride?

So many questions, so few answers. I wonder why they hauled their wheels along with them? And notice that the male “kayaker” doesn’t even have his PFD zipped up. Way too far off shore for a tandem in rough conditions. It’s wise to always be aware of weather conditions & your skill level & your equipment. I too am surprised the boat captain spent do much time saving the boat. Luckily no one was lost in this rescue operation.

Today’s water temp is 61F. A month ago it was probably in the mid-60’s. 65 is still chilly though. Hypothermia risk in a couple hours. They were lucky…