Bonneville County Sheriff’s Deputies reduced a man who overturned on a kayak this afternoon on Palisades Reservoir. Around 4 pm, Deputies were patrolling on the water near the McCoy Creek area when they came upon an upside-down kayak, life jacket, and paddle with no one around it. During a quick check of the shoreline, they located an adult male who had been on the kayak, finding him barefoot and very cold.
The man told Deputies he was on the water and capsized about 200ft from shore. This was his first experience on a Kayak and after entering the cold water he decided to swim to shore without his life jacket, paddle, or shoes.
Deputies were able to reunite the man with his camp at the McCoy Creek Campground about a mile from where he capsized. When they arrived he was able to change and warm up after experiencing the effects of hypothermia while he was stranded on the shoreline. Deputies noted the ambient air was approximately 76 degrees while the water was only around 50 degrees.
This close call is a good reminder to those who recreate on our waterways to always be prepared for an emergency, even when conditions seem calm and easily manageable. The cold waters on all of our waterways, especially this time of year, bring in the effects of hypothermia very quickly and diminish your ability to self-rescue effectively. Wearing a life jacket at all times is important to give you as much time as possible to determine the best course of action for rescue, keep you on top of the water, and help mitigate when panic sets in. Never think that you will have sufficient time to put one at the onset of an emergency.
Remember that even small watercraft requires safety training and skills to help you avoid a potentially life-threatening situation. Always take the time to learn about the water equipment you are using and plan for emergencies. Doing so will greatly minimize to you and others.