On Tuesday September 13, 2016 the U.S. Coast Guard was notified of three sea kayakers in distress along the Pictured Rocks National Lake. Thanks in part to cell reception in the area and the preparedness of the kayakers themselves they survived the four to six foot waves, which were responsible for the kayaks overturning in the rough water.
Three rescue boats and a Coast Guard MH-65C helicopter were used in the search for the three men. One of them managed to reach shore and use a cell phone to call authorities but was unable to provide the location of the two other paddlers still in the water. All three sea kayakers were eventually found and transported to a local hospital for treatment.
The Coast Guard posted a reminder to paddlers that they should:
- Always be prepared for possible weather conditions and water temperatures and check these before departure. Weather will change rapidly.
- Always carry an emergency signalling device, even a whistle is essential.
- Use the appropriate style of kayak for the type of paddling that you will be doing; on Lake Superior sea kayaks should be chosen over smaller recreational kayaks.
- Drowning is the number one cause for deaths in national parks in the United States, so wear a PFD even in calm water.
All three men rescued were wearing wetsuits and life jackets and one of the men survived almost seven hours floating in the water because of this.
For more on this story visit the Coast Guard report here