Hey all, I Thought I would share a story here just to bring awareness to the dangers of being on a canoe. I understand a lot if not most of you are probably aware of the dangers, you may also have safety procedures and have practiced drills for different situations that may arise should something go wrong while out on the water. never the less I thought I would share my story even if it helps only one person. I Also should mention that a lot of the mistakes made by my friend and I on this day were mindless complacent and would be considered rookie mistakes by most experienced "boaters" or whatever you call it. It's a long read but please take your time enjoy and learn from our mistakes!!
My friend and I were out at a cottage on pigeon lake (which I've heard plenty of horror stories about in the past) we were there for the weekend. It was my girlfriend and my friends birthday party their birthdays landed on the same weekend which was great. We had been planning for weeks leading up that we would go fishing at some point during our trip. It was Saturday morning slight overcast and beautiful weather for fishing so we decided this would be the day. We grabbed our fishing rods and tackle box and we're ready to go
We begin with MISTAKE #1. We looked in the storage bin where the owner of the cottage kept her life jackets and noticed there were two adult size life jackets and two child sized life jackets. We decided to take the child size jackets because the adult size were "too dirty". MISTAKE #2 we left the emergency kit in the storage bin due to the fact we were confident we would be fine and if something did go wrong we would be close to the shore plus this was definately not our first time being out on a canoe….I know stupid right? We then hop onto the canoe which was tied onto the dock and begin to paddle out into the lake. We look around and notice the lake was full of weeds, we weren't prepared with the right bait for weed beds and thick brush. MISTAKE #3 we decided we wanted to get into deeper water. We begin to paddle out further and noticed a lot of motorboats and jetskis on the water causing some pretty big waves, they zoomed past us a couple of times about 50-100 feet away and still the waves were big enough to rock our canoe to an almost uncomfortable point where we both started getting a little bit nervous. We were still concerned with fishing at that point and we casted out our lines. Looking down into the water it was now dark with no weeds in sight my friend ended up catching two perch back to back in pretty quick succession. All while the waves kept rocking the canoe, I then decided to speak up and tell him we should head back and that it was getting hard to tell where our dock was (the dock was surrounded by marsh with a small opening leading up to the dock itself) he agreed here comes BIG MISTAKE #4 we both had a bright idea that we should troll while paddling back to the dock. *Trolling is a method of fishing where one or more fishing lines, baited with lures or bait fish, are drawn through the water. This may be behind a moving boat, or by slowly winding the line in when fishing from a static position. We were crazy enough to troll on a canoe while paddling *cue all the veteran fisherman laughing while reading this. With our lines casted out we begin to turn the canoe, simultaneously being hit by a big wave that completely capsized our canoe. We both crash into the water and this is where all of the mistakes listed above bite us right in the ass. Instinct kicks in and we swim over to the canoe to grab hold of it hoping we can stay afloat. I am not 100 percent sure why or how but the canoe begins to sink before our eyes into the bottom of the lake. Maybe our bodyweight pushed out the air pocket in the now capsized canoe?? Either way it was sinking fast. We looked eachother in the eyes and realized the seriousness of the situation, 2-3 km out. both wearing children's life jackets. Canoe sinking slowly. Panic begins to set in and I immediately begin to try and swim over to the shore being a pretty decent swimmer I was worried but confident at the same time that we could make it. I look back My friend is now standing on the slowly sinking canoe to try and keep himself up and I'm yelling out to him to kick his feet paddle and try to swim to where somebody would be able to see us. He is about 6ft 235 lbs powerlifter type with very little swimming experience now wearing a child size lifejacket!! Remember the lines we casted out? Those are now wrapped around us. He was wrapped on his legs and I was wrapped on my left wrist. About 5 min into this disaster we start yelling for help on the water only to have 2-3 motorboats pass us by not seeing or hearing us. This was especially heartbreaking, having to acknowledge that your chance of survival is getting slimmer with every boat that passes by. At this point I am Still slowly trying to swim to shore, preserve energy, focus on my breathing and trying to bite the line off of my wrist all while screaming for help! Pretty dark…my apologies. Looking back at my friend who was about ten feet away I am extremely worried he doesn't have much time left and I get the idea to splash around in the water throwing water up as high as I could in the air. I continued to do this for another minute, I then turn around to look at my friend and notice him going under and just as this happens a motorboat pulls up beside us to save our lives! This amazing couple and their friend completely saved us. They had told us they spotted me splashing around and figured I was a loon in distress!!!! Wow right? and that all they were able to see was my black hat and splashes all around it. THANK GOD FOR THEM BEING ANIMAL LOVERS. We will forever be grateful to them and made sure to take down their contact info to be able to reach out to them on every special occasion of our lives because without them I might not be typing this today.
I know two people who have died in very similar circumstances one actually passing away in pidgeon lake. Unfortunately they will never be able to tell their side of the story.
Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this please Remember this story next time you go out onto the lake and learn from somebody else's mistakes!! Anything you do can go south instantly the most you can do is try your best to be fully prepared always take the CORRECT precaution and try your best to stay in shape and don't be complacent!!!
submitted by /u/WardMB689