A man from Lewiston Montana, lost his life on May 5, 2016, when he was thrown out of his kayak and drowned in Lake Powell. According to KSL News, the man was paddling his kayak in the Wahweap Bay area of Lake Powell when high winds knocked him out of the kayak and into the water.
Unfortunately, the man was not wearing a life jacket and drowned. Search and rescue were able to find his body the next day using sonar. The Kane County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement to all boaters to be vigilant of changing weather conditions and to always wear a life jacket.
I echo the need to wear a life jacket. I’m sure the paddler thought he would be fine when he started out, probably when the weather was much calmer. Perhaps he was a good swimmer and didn’t think there would be a problem. But none of us know what might happen once we get out in the middle of the lake. I know that boaters have lost their lives on Utah Lake because of high wind conditions. This is why every vessel – even a kayak – should have a life jacket in it. And I would say that if you are in a kayak, you should be wearing it at all times for unexpected emergencies that can come up. A life jacket combined with another safety item, a whistle, could have helped to preserve this man’s life.
As we head into the warmer months, boaters need to make sure that they have life jackets for every person who is on board their boat. They need also to make sure those children 14 and under are actually wearing their life jacket when they are on the water. (Kids will often take them off when adults are not looking!) Emergencies can happen quickly, such as a boat on boat crash, and the most vulnerable members of our society need that special protection.