Students at the West Coast Adventure College practice their kayaking skills. (contributed)

Sooke kayak incident could have been averted: expert

Training is key, says local trainer

The near-tragic kayak accident at Coopers Cove on April 13 could easily have resulted in the death of a 58-year-old East Sooke resident and it all could have been avoided had the kayaker taken the proper precautions and participated in as little as a one-day-course in kayaking, say officials.

Scot Taylor, one of the locals who helped rescue the man and likely saved his life, operates the West Coast Adventure College in Sooke where sea kayak guides are trained. He said kayakers need to think ahead and prepare themselves for emergency situations.

RELATED: Kayaker rescued in rough seas off of Sooke

“I tell people to ask themselves four questions: have I checked the weather; am I bringing all the equipment that I need; do I know where I’m going and how long it’ll take me to get there; and have I filed a plan with someone with the information they need to summon help if I go missing?”

Taylor added the equipmentkayakers need to have before venturing out on the water includes a change of clothing (in a dry bag), a sleeping bag, a signalling device such as a whistle, a pump or other bailing device, a throw bag (containing a rope) a spray skirt and a spare paddle.

“They should also be wearing a personal flotation device and an immersion suit to protect them if they capsize.” he said.

“If the man we found on Saturday had been wearing a suit, he wouldn’t have become hypothermic to the degree he did.”

The kayaker had been out with his wife in the Sooke Basin when the weather turned and winds and waves began to batter the couple. He capsized but his wife managed to paddle to a nearby marina to summon help.

By the time local mariners arrived, the man had managed to get to shore but was severely hypothermic and barely conscious.

Taylor said that, while in this case, the kayakers were in true sea kayaks, choosing the proper kayak is the first challenge. He stressed kayaks sold at some retail outlets may only be suitable for calm, lake waters and not for the open ocean.

“Sea kayaks have internal bulkheads that prevent them from flooding so they can be righted if they capsize. they have enough buoyancy to stay afloat so you can get back in and bail out the water and get back underway,” he said.

Ron Neitsch, the owner of 2 Reel Fishing Adventures, the first on the scene and the first to spot the shivering kayaker on the rocky shore, reiterated Taylor’s observations.

“That man is lucky that he got help when he did. That cove can get very rough and you can have a false sense of security when you set out. Then a wind comes up and conditions can change very quickly,” said Neitch. “You need to be trained and you need to be aware.”

Taylor added that kayak training should only be provided by certified Paddle Canada instructors.

The victim of the April 13 accident has since recovered and has been released from the hospital.



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

UVic science and engineering research gets $18.8 million federal funding boost

Funding for engineering, science, sustainability research

Horse carriage supporters to rally outside city hall

Owner of carriage company plans rally in response to Coun. Ben Isitt’s motion

Victoria woman competing for role as Maxim cover model

Winning model gets featured spread in magazine, cash price

11th annual Sooke Secret Garden Tour offering eight locations

June 2 event a fundraiser for Sooke Philharmonic Society

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Raptors beat Bucks 120-102 to even series at 2-2

Lowry pours in 25 as Toronto moves within two games of NBA Finals

Body of missing snowmobiler recovered from Great Slave Lake

Police confirm the body is that of one of three missing snowmobilers

Christmas morning burglar sentenced on Vancouver Island

Justin Redmond Feusse, 20, sentenced to 240 days in jail for Dec. 25 break-and-enter

So, do you know ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’?

Ontario man searching for fellow he travelled with in Europe 50 years ago

Toddler seriously injured after falling from Okanagan balcony

RCMP are investigating after a two-year-old boy fell from the balcony of an apartment in Kelowna

Mamma Mia! Here we go again at Sooke’s EMCS theatre

Production of Mamma Mi! features ABBA tunes that leave you humming

Cost jumps 35% for Trans-Canada Highway widening in B.C.

Revelstoke-area stretch first awarded under new union deal

Is vegan food a human right? Ontario firefighter battling B.C. blaze argues it is

Adam Knauff says he had to go hungry some days because there was no vegan food

Most Read