Two kayakers died and another was critically injured while paddling back from a day outing in Dungeness Bay in northwest Washington state on Saturday.
When only four of the group of seven paddlers made it back to shore, they notified the police about their missing friends. The Coast Guard deployed a helicopter and boatcrew to the scene, and shortly after they found the three kayakers floating in the 49-degree water.
The victims were wearing life jackets, but they lacked any other cold water gear (layers, drysuit, etc.) They were ill-equipped when they suddenly encountered 35 mph winds and 3-foot high seas.
Our hearts go out to those affected by this tragedy. At the ACA, everything we do is driven by a desire to keep paddlers safe on the water. Please educate yourself and your family on the dangers of cold water, and consider taking a course from an ACA certified instructor before you embark on your paddling plans this season. Please remember that even though the weather is warm, the water can still be cold enough to kill. Always dress for immersion.
Visit www.americancanoe.org/Top10 for more information on paddlesports safety, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.