I once read a rather sombre book called "Total Loss" which was packed with accounts of the events that led to a yacht going down. It was, however, a useful read in warning of the dangers of going to sea and hopefully will encourage better practice.
Today I skimmed through a similar document: the MCA's 2010 Canoe and Kayak Incident Annual Report, available from here. It categories incidents into Rescued, Abandoned, FAWGI (which means false alarm with good intent), fatality and other.
Alas there were in total 9 canoe and kayaker deaths during the year, 4 of which were in April, when people are tempted out onto the waters still cold from winter. Two got trapped in rushing rivers while another two were adverse conditions in coastal waters.
But two might have been avoided as one involved drinks and drugs, while another apparently was in the Aberffraw Estuary in challenging conditions without a life jacket or buoyancy aid. Its hard to know what to say; those are two definite no-nos, as was the hoax.
Quite a few stories of members of the public misinterpreting capsize drills and also a lot of abandoned kayaks, plus some intriguing human interest like this one:
"St Austell Coastguards were called to a report of MALE in a Kayak overdue between Lostwithiel and Golant, by his wife. Unit stood down when missing MALE called his wife from Fowey."
I wonder what was said on his return - but what an appropriate place to get lost in.
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