List of kayaking accidents

June 26, 2007

A slightly morbid but instructive list of kayaking accidents this year, some of them fatal, throughout the world.


May 8, 2007 – An Atlanta man died off the coast of South Carolina when his and his friend’s kayaks were swept away, news reports stated. The pair were out kayak fishing off Seabrook Island near Charleston when sub-tropical depression Andrea moved in. They were caught in 50 kmh winds and strong currents that swept them out to sea. The friend was rescued suffering from hypothermia 18 hours and 25 miles away. Stephen Lee, 27, died.

Assessment: Here is a classic case of not paying attention to weather forecasts. Even if a sub-tropical depression had not been anticipated in weather forecasts – hard to believe – a VHF radio and monitoring the marine weather channels would have prevented this tragedy. Paying attention to the weather is the simplest way to avoid danger.

Not all the “assessments” are as clear as this and the author makes some statements that are questionable at best. But still worth a read.

Also of interest:

This link is to a story by the friend and paddling partner of a kayaker that drowned in Maine, USA in May 2007.


2 Responses to “List of kayaking accidents”

  1. PeterD Says:

    I read through the list to see what I could learn.

    I have read the book “Sea Kayaker’s Deep Trouble: True Stories and Their Lessons from Sea Kayaker Magazine.” It listed about 20 different accidents, what went wrong in them, and what we could learn from them. One thing that amazed me was how many people paddled without wearing their PFDs. And also amazing how many people paddle in cold water areas without a wet suit or dry suit.

    I would love to see an updated version of this book, as the most recent case in it is about 15 years old now.

  2. Hi Peter
    I’ve read that book too and like you I was shocked by the stupidity of most of the accidents – no pfds and no wet/dry suits – although there were several that were very instructive. Such as the fisherman who slowly got cold after a few hours fishing, the guy kayaking along the Alaskan coast and the photographer who took out his additional flotation and then had his kayak sink…

    I found the website (and lost it again) of the author who is still collecting incidents so perhaps he is planning a new book?

    I’d also like to see the incidents cover more parts of the world – the focus on the pacific north west wasn’t so useful for me.

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