Tragedy in Apostles. So many mistakes. Where to begin..

Truly tragic and may they RIP. I will start by saying that. I have been on 2 Apostle island kayak trips, a isle Royal trip and several other Lake Superior adventures. First of all, if you take a 3 yr old on any of these open water crossings then you should be thrown in jail. Not to mention another 6 and 9 yr old. If a person is not properly fitted with a correct thickness wet suit and pfd, then find a nice pond inland to paddle. Stay the hell away from the mother of all lakes! The sand bay state park guidelines call for a minimum of a 16” enclosed kayak to safely navigate the islands. I have had my 16’ er in 6-7’ swells and believe me, it takes a few days to unpucker. Rookies and kids have no business trying to travel between these islands. The water is so cold that it will take your breath away and you will immediately sink without a life vest. There are so many things wrong with what happened to this poor family. Here is a quick list:

  • no wetsuits
  • 13’6” sit on top kayak?!?!? What?!?! Where all 5 family members on this?
  • No vhf radio. These are a must have. Cell phones are basically useless in the Apostles
    -they seperated to get ziplock bag with light. Never separate.

I am sure there are many other missteps that I am missing and I don’t want to come of as being insensitive but WTF? This is one of the worst cases of parental judgement I have ever seen. I hope some less educated people read this and get a little more appreciation for Lake Superior and how unforgiving it is. 3 things at a minimum. Vhf radio, wetsuit and life jacket. These three things are enough to save your life

This has been well discussed in another thread on this board that started the next morning. Where there is a good bit more info than what you posted here, with links and references.

Don’t worry about being unclear, you totally come off as insensitive.

Folks in that other thread all agree mistakes were made and discussed what warnings were available where. I suggest you review that thread before deciding you need to start your own whatever.

The thread is titled This One is Tragic

I second Celia’s suggestions, especially as you are misinformed about the life jackets.

Look, I have circumnavigated Isle Royale, Grand Island, Drummond island and the Apostles 2x. I am not claiming to be the expert of experts. I have only been paddling 25 yrs and still have a lot to learn. I apologize if my post came off as insensitive. I have 2 little kids and I feel that these parents made serious errors in judgement and it just pisses me off that little kids had to die and it was totally preventable. So my insensitivity is pretty much just anger. This story just hits close to home for those of us with kids. As I said in my post Rest In Peace. But I do find it extremely annoying that Celia thinks she gets to decide who’s opinions are valuable and whose aren’t. Maybe someone reads my post and thinks to themself, “I never thought about various wetsuit thicknesses. I need to check my suit thickness.” I don’t know but there are some territorial pissing nonsense happening on this message board.


No, there’s no “territorial pissing nonsense” or other hokey pokey going on here. A thread on the incident has existed since August 31.

You joined September 5 and within minutes created a harsh accusatory thread on the same topic.

Celia referred you to the existing thread. It’s a good discussion. You should read it.

Fulhamyanks, for the record there are two of us in this thread who have rights to do more than refer you another post to read. Neither of us did so because your impulse is probably a shared one. It is just that there are less damaging ways to do it. And there have been times that a friend or relative of someone who was lost found their way to this site after the event.
Appreciate the apology.

Look, I apologize if my comments were callused or hurtful. My comments were more like blunt questions. Why? So many whys… I will leave it at that. Please people, for the love of god, do not take a 3,6, and 9yr old on a 13.5’ kayak in Lake Superior. Don’t even do it if they do have an appropriate wetsuit. That lake is deadly. It is not a inland lake in say Kentucky. That is my rant and I hope it wasn’t too disrespectful. Safe paddling

All of the Great Lakes can be deadly and I think it’s safe to say the entire community grieves for those kids and has some anger about the poor decisions made. Only the survivor knows why they made those choices. I hope she can hold it together as those memories will not be easy to bear.

The challenge remains: how to get basic safety information to new paddlers so they don’t wind up injured or dead. If you have any ideas, why not start a new thread on the topic?

Welcome to the site. Sounds like you have lots to contribute. It’s like a family here. Often times we disagree, but hey no biggie. I too felt you were a bit harsh, but understand where you were coming from. Your apology speaks favorably about your character. Yes it is tragically stupid what happened. Anyone with much experience knows that, but I find it hard to believe the parents would have taken this risk if they understood what it was. Do check out the thread, and get a feel for what this place is like. Welcome aboard, and I hope you get as much from this place as I have.

People die, sometimes through mistakes in paddling. Been on this site since near the beginning. Every year, we get these post-mortems. I am sure we will continue to get them as long as this site continues because each year people will die. you can’t hand hold the paddling masses. We can take, assess and guide our own actions. No need to berate those involved. They have to deal and live with their own judgments.


Fulhamyanks…Ok, Superior is an in land sea. But don’t discount inland lakes and storms. Remember it was an in land lake that took the duck boat in Missouri this summer.

I was taught that people go through 5 stages when they experience a traumatic event. SARAH:

  1. Shock
  2. Anger
  3. Rejection
  4. Acceptance
  5. Hope
    There are angry comments on the longer thread and there are angry comments and unfortunate statements around which emotions are appropriate on another forum as well as this one. It was a Shocking event. Anger is a normal initial reaction. Some have thought about it longer and have reached their Hopeful perspective.

Kids have no choice they do what they are told. Boats need warning labels on them but the industry will not want something so stark on there hull inside or out. They like to say get proper instruction.

It’s probably worse than throwing the kids in back of pickup for 200 mile trip alone by far. For that the parents would be arrested.

@PaddleDog52 said:
…Boats need warning labels on them …………
Do you read all the warning labels that come on things these days?

@castoff said:
…………… It’s like a family here. Often times we disagree, but hey no biggie…………….

Like kids crowded into the back seat on a long car trip. :wink:

@Overstreet said:

@PaddleDog52 said:
…Boats need warning labels on them …………
Do you read all the warning labels that come on things these days?

Yes if in plain site I do and not a ton of tiny print and I am using it for the first time. Ever hear of MSD’s? Would a label hurt if it saved a few people every year?

MSDs can be of no help. For example the MSD for a manhole cover lists ingestion as a hazard, but not dropping it on your foot.

And if you had a complete file it would fill several notebooks. Most MSDs are on line, fortunately. They are best for components and chemicals, not assemblies. A kayak MSDs would talk about cutting, burning(welding) and grinding(dust) hazards.

from LSD,
perhaps step ahead
like kaleidoscope,
with an extra turn,
many colors in view
till out the window what’s learned.

@Overstreet said:

@castoff said:
…………… It’s like a family here. Often times we disagree, but hey no biggie…………….

Like kids crowded into the back seat on a long car trip. :wink:

I can relate to that!

This thread needs to RIP .