Posted by: Jimshaw

SAFETY GEAR!!!! - 03/08/15 10:37 PM

Someone very near and dear to me eek fell out of a kayak into a cold winter river shocked today, while basically diving for my friends $300 glasses that just fell in. Of course my camera was in my pocket and got soaked - more on that later. Well anyway my kayak girlfriend is moving to Alaska tomorrow so we went for a last hour and a half paddle on the Deschutes River here in Central Oregon, with snow along the bank in places, but not much current as the dam isn't letting any water out now, otherwise it might have been far worse. So Karen had teased me about my unfashionable kayak gear so I wore a pair of cotton sweat pants, a tee shirt, a thin jacket and Sorel boots.
My wet suit top and my kayak jacket and my goretex pants were in the back of the truck along with my helmet and the skirt for my kayak crazy . My life jacket was behind my seat. frown There was no leash on my paddle that floated away, no flotation in my kayak that inverted and nearly sank then filled with mud later when I tried to drag it out of the river. It had so much mud in it that the mud had to be removed so it would float. Meanwhile the mud at the rivers edge that I was standing on was frozen on top but deep and soft if I broke through. Did I mention abandoning my kayak and holding onto the rear of Karens and kicking while she paddled toward the shore. She then caught my kayak but it took all her strength to get it to land 200 yards down stream. I of course had to walk down to it, pull it out and re-float it. Its a good thing I am in excellent shape.
So anyway I had no gloves, life vest, water proof bag, zip lock for wallet or camera, paddle leash, kayak skirt, kayak jacket, wet suit pants, neoprene booties, no leashes on our glasses, no flotation in the ends of the boat, and no emergency or survival gear. Fortunately it ws 65 degrees out, not sure of the river water - maybe 45.

Reminds me that the only time I ever got hit by a rock climbing, my helmet was safely in the back of my truck 500 feet below me.
Jim goodjob
Posted by: AdventureMyk

Re: SAFETY GEAR!!!! - 03/09/15 12:44 AM

The good news is that you are alive and here to remind others what can happen. I'm in east Tennessee and live above a river. I was tempted to take my kayaks out since today is the first day it's hit 60's in nearly a month. The lake only thawed out 3 days or so ago amid another snowstorm. As tempted as I was to take out the kayaks I realize that I don't have any good coldwater gear. The air might be in the 60's but that water was barely above 30 and the bulk of where I'd be paddling has no signs of civilization. If I was paddling alone and something caused me to flip... Yeah, not worth it.

Glad you made it out okay and thanks for the reminder about the right gear.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: SAFETY GEAR!!!! - 03/09/15 12:33 PM

Jim, I'm happy that you came out of this alive and well and able to remind us about these important safety precautions!

With "west side" (i.e. west of the Cascades) temps getting up to the 70s already, people are already getting out on the water which is still, of course. extremely cold!
Posted by: aimless

Re: SAFETY GEAR!!!! - 03/09/15 03:35 PM

It seems like every year in Oregon or Washington someone dies from jumping into a river on a warm day in late spring, simply because the snowmelt water was so cold it paralyzed their muscles and they drowned.
Posted by: AdventureMyk

Re: SAFETY GEAR!!!! - 03/09/15 11:21 PM

Yep, system-shock into instant cramps, brain freeze, your muscles pretty much lock up and you're done. Takes only a few seconds for it to happen.
Posted by: Jimshaw

Re: SAFETY GEAR!!!! - 06/24/17 09:07 PM

Well I gave my friends such a lecture on safety one day and tried to make them get out and back into their kayaks near shore of an icey lake but no one wanted to and I think maybe thats why they had their life jackets on when they hit an waterfall and lost the boats out from under them, the boats were sucked under and my friends managed to get out just before the falls.

The camera spent 5 minutes in the river and I opened it up, removed the battery and let it dry out for a week. It works perfectly still. Which is to say that water is used in the manufacturing process of electronics gear, as long as the power is off, fresh water should not hurt electronics equipment.