The Moral Of the Story: If you are a one-eyed, pot-smoking, deer-poaching lobsterman from Maine, and you come upon a couple of hapless kayakers floundering about in 47-degree water, and there's any one or two items in that description of yourself that you'd really rather not have widely aired, you might want to ask a few questions about those paddlers' occupations (and maybe have them sign a non-disclosure agreement of some sort) BEFORE you save their okoles.*
Stop there if you prefer your Frogma "lite". Here comes the part where I get all serious-like.
Safety Plug Which I Can't Resist:
OK, more seriously, the writer did list a couple of basic safety precautions that she & her husband failed to take that could've turned the whole thing into the minorest of adventure (as TQ likes to say "It's not an adventure 'til something goes wrong") - it doesn't sound like they were dressed for the water, they didn't check the weather, and they left some seriously must-have pieces of their kits (flares, whistles, radio & spare paddles) at home.
They were very lucky, and I suspect they will Never, Ever, EVER make those mistakes again.
And hopefully a few other people will learn from their now well-publicized mistakes, too.
If you've been reading this blog for a while, you can probably guess what's next -
Yep, here comes the part where for the umpty-zillionth time, I recommend some much nicer ways to learn the hazards of cold water boating!
Here are a couple of my favorite cold-water boating sites -
Chuck Sutherland's Off-Season Boating site has been on my blogroll since Day 1, I think -
And of course the incredibly comprehensive Expert Center maintained by Bill & Janice Lozano of Atlantic Kayak Tours has a very thorough section on hypothermia.
An even better way to learn is to attend a cold-water workshop - these usually tend to happen earlier in the off-season, but it's certainly worth checking in with your local outfitters or clubs to see what's going on in your area. For example, I see that the Small Boat Shop in S. Norwalk, CT has their Cold Water Workshop scheduled on January 30th, this coming Saturday. I can't make it this year & I'm bummed, theirs is a favorite of mine because it's one of the few where participants can actually get geared up & jump into some SERIOUSLY cold water. Here's my "trip report" from last year (featuring the coldest water I'd ever rolled in).
Nothing happening near you? You can still watch people cold-shocking their tails off for the boating-safety cause - there's a great set of videos produced by Cold Water Boot Camp (the Canadian original - the Canadians know a thing or twenty about water of the cold variety) and the experiment's been successfully repeated here in the US by Cold Water Boot Camp USA (I know one of those guys through the Small Boat Shop, he was one of their workshop speakers last year - as a person who has voluntarily been put into a state of mild hypothermia, he has some good firsthand stories).
Note, slightly later - I think Mark is one of the Small Boat Shop's speakers again this year!
Y'know, I really started out meaning to take a five-minute break from work to slap together a quick funny post. It's very hard to take off-season boating safety lightly, though.
*as usual, credit where it's due, thank you to the netizens of the NYCKayaker email list for bringing this story to my attention - it ran while I was in PA, I would've missed it if it hadn't become the topic of the liveliest debate in a long time!