BWCA Capsized and Separated Boundary Waters Listening Point - General Discussion
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GopherAdventure
distinguished member(958)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/22/2022 02:48PM  
This was my 25th trip to the BWCA, and I consider myself a pretty good paddler. My dad and I capsized going through what is normally a channel with very slow moving water after a portage. We almost got sucked down into a raging rapids. I made it to shore with the canoe and two packs, my dad made it to a tiny island (about 40 feet from me) with the paddles. The water was moving too swiftly for him to try and cross to me.

He was cold, wet and is diabetic with only one energy bar on his person. We were both shivering and he had no warm clothes to change into. He was in the water for approximately 25 minutes and I was in for about 15. Once I realized there was no way for me to get to him and/or for him to get to me, I hit the SOS button on my Spot device. A few long hours later, we were rescued. In the mean time, I was able to get cell service on my dads phone and got a chance to speak with the wonderful people that were coordinating our rescue.

I will forever be grateful to the Fall Lake-Winton Fire Department, Lake County Sheriff and Minnesota State Patrol for getting my dad off that island safely. They were amazing and so swift. I’ve witnessed people in distress and in need of help/evacuation within the BWCA a few times over the years and never thought I would be on the receiving end of emergency services. I have learned a great deal from this experience and am humbled by the power of moving water and how quickly a wonderful day can become nearly tragic.

If my dad had been sucked down the rapids, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have made it out the other side. We were so lucky to walk away with only a few sore muscles, a deeper respect and fear of the power of moving water, and an astounding appreciation for our rescuers.

We were extracted via helicopter as that was the only safe way to get to my dad. I was extracted as well (protocol for rescuers in this situation). After my dad got medically cleared in Ely, we rested up and the next day we paddled back in on a day permit to rescue our gear.

I know these stories of rescue get mixed responses, but I’m posting this as a PSA to all paddlers. I made a mistake. I should have stopped, scouted and analyzed the water with more detail than I did. I should have scouted alternate possibilities because it turns out there is an alternate portage that would have gotten us farther upstream with a slightly safer put in.

On the positive side, we were prepared for a capsize as both my dad and I have ditch kits and we were wearing PFDs. This is the 2nd time a PFD has saved my life (PFD saved my life when I was 5). If you are ever in this situation and have an emergency device, do not hesitate to hit the button. Time is of the essence in these situations and I felt that every time I looked over at my dad shivering and stranded on a tiny island.

I felt ashamed after the rescue for making a mistake and needing evacuation, but that quickly faded when we got a chance to speak with the rescuers as they all said we did the right thing. The state patrol, the sheriff, and the DNR all told us that we did the right thing in not trying to attempt a self rescue or request aid from any other groups in the area. We are incredibly humbled and grateful for the assistance we received and hope we never need it again.

Stay safe paddlers,
Tony
 
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straighthairedcurly
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05/22/2022 07:28PM  
Thanks for posting this. It is a reminder that even the most experienced among us can have something go wrong. I am glad you were able to have help reach you and that you and your dad were okay. Are you willing to post which portage so others realize the alternate landing is available?
 
05/22/2022 07:41PM  
GopherAdventure, I’ve known your post on this site and watched your videos, and as far as I’m concerned your bonafides as a paddler are rock solid. The situation up there right now is treacherous and the best of us could get in trouble.

I’m glad you got yourself and your dad out safely. You did the right thing. I get the impression the situation up there right now is much more serious than most people realize.

If you can share any more details about where you were, I’d be glad to hear about it. Thanks for sharing your experience. Everyone can learn from it.

 
05/22/2022 08:10PM  
Glad you and your dad are out safe.
 
DougD
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05/22/2022 08:38PM  
I am glad your dad and you are safe. I always look forward to watching your videos, you are no doubt a top notch paddler and camper. It takes a confident person to post about your mistakes in a public forum. I am glad you didn't let pride and ego get in the way of making the right decision for you and your dad, an example we all should remember in the future. Thanks for sharing and Paddle on!
 
Northwoodsman
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05/22/2022 08:43PM  
Another close call with a positive outcome. Glad you are both safe. Good call on activating your Spot.
 
Kermit
member (42)member
 
05/22/2022 09:24PM  
Very glad both you and your dad are okay!

Obviously this has been a running theme this year. Scanning the message boards there’s over half a dozen accounts of people capsizing. I hope anyone with an entry permit in the next few weeks seriously considers the conditions and plan or re-route accordingly. Moving water in flood conditions is a whole different animal than the flat water most are used to. Play it safe. Don’t take risks. If something doesn’t feel right, trust that feeling.

Wishing everyone a safe and wonderful season!
 
cyclones30
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05/22/2022 10:04PM  
What area?
 
GopherAdventure
distinguished member(958)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/22/2022 10:18PM  
straighthairedcurly: "Thanks for posting this. It is a reminder that even the most experienced among us can have something go wrong. I am glad you were able to have help reach you and that you and your dad were okay. Are you willing to post which portage so others realize the alternate landing is available?"

I should have included the location info. It was the 2nd in a series of three portages between Lake Four and Hudson Lake. I’ve been through there before, but never knew that another trail exists that goes a little farther.
 
GopherAdventure
distinguished member(958)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/22/2022 10:22PM  
Thanks for the responses everyone. I’m going to take a look at my memory cards to see if I have any footage of the incident and the aftermath. At some point I started filming because I needed something to do to keep my mind from racing so I’ve got some stuff to sort through. If it seems like any of the content could be helpful I may post a clip here. This happened on Day 1 (Monday, May 16th) of a planned 7 day trip.

Tony
 
missmolly
distinguished member(7255)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
05/23/2022 06:38AM  
Whew! Thank Prudence for SPOT and thank Tony for launching that cyber-flare to save a couple lives.
 
OldTripper
distinguished member (207)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/23/2022 07:31AM  
Sorry to hear of your mishap, but glad to know that you both survived and are doing well. Thanks for sharing your story as I'm sure others will benefit from it.
 
05/23/2022 07:49AM  
Some more info on flooding up there in this article.
 
05/23/2022 07:51AM  
I'll add to the above just to say that I did my first whitewater class this past weekend. We were up on tributary to the St. Croix and the river was rocking. Boulder gardens and the like were completely submerged and eddy pools were washed out. Lots of downed trees created "strainers" and "sweepers" (i.e. trees that had the potential to "sweep" you out of your canoe or "strain" the water that could also catch your canoe and dump you.

It was fun to be out there and learn to the necessary strokes to navigate and how to read the river, but there was also plenty of potential to get oneself into trouble quickly! Be safe out there.
 
ockycamper
distinguished member(906)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/23/2022 08:30AM  
Lesson to be learned here: The importance of: ALWAYS wearing a PFD that is secured; having a ditch kit as part of your PFD; carrying a Spot or PLB always.
 
Minnesotian
distinguished member(2110)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/23/2022 09:11AM  
HighnDry: "I'll add to the above just to say that I did my first whitewater class this past weekend. We were up on tributary to the St. Croix and the river was rocking. Boulder gardens and the like were completely submerged and eddy pools were washed out. Lots of downed trees created "strainers" and "sweepers" (i.e. trees that had the potential to "sweep" you out of your canoe or "strain" the water that could also catch your canoe and dump you.


It was fun to be out there and learn to the necessary strokes to navigate and how to read the river, but there was also plenty of potential to get oneself into trouble quickly! Be safe out there."


I was exploring an area of the St. Croix tributary system last weekend, the Snake River. Amazing to see how high it was. Reminded me of glacier creeks from out west with the speed and volume of water.
 
Voyager
distinguished member (335)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/23/2022 09:13AM  
Glad you both survived that harrowing experience. I'm so glad I cancelled my permit for this May.
 
tumblehome
distinguished member(2422)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/23/2022 09:24AM  
I’m grateful to hear you are both OK. Very scary.

Staying sort of on subject about my SPOT story.

SPOT locators are not weather-proof and hardly weather resistant.
I had a SPOT get dunked in water when I spilled on a trip for a few seconds while it was turned off. Some of the LEDS started flashing randomly and I ended up taking off the screws that hold it together and there was water inside. There is a mini-USB plug on the device that allows water in.

I was told of a story from the company I rented this from that a scout group got their SPOT wet and it ended up sending an emergency call on it’s own when there was no emergency.

Keep your portable electronic devices in a zip-loc or Pelican.

When my SPOT got wet it ruined my trip since I could no longer send check-in messages. I didn’t want my family to worry about me by not getting check-ins so I had to leave early. What a mess! I take a SPOT to let people know I am OK and in the end it wrecked my trip anyway. Wisdom…..

Tom
 
Speckled
distinguished member(559)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/23/2022 09:31AM  
Glad everyone is ok. Where did this happen? We just came across a swamped canoe this weekend between Gabbro and L Gabbro. The current there is ridiculous right now!
 
ockycamper
distinguished member(906)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/23/2022 09:36AM  
We have learned the principle of redundancy. . . .2 is 1, 1 is none

I carry a Spot in a zip lock on my PFD. I also have a Sat PHone in a waterproof case in my sealine pack.

Our other two camps have Garmin Inreach devices.

Finally, all three camps have Baofang hand held radios.

as a final preparation, all three camps carry "brick" type battery chargers to keep emergency devices charged.
 
PeaceFrog
distinguished member (325)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/23/2022 10:44AM  
GopherAdventure - reading your post gave me chills. Very glad to hear you and your dad are okay. Moving water is so deceptive. We all need to pay attention closer especially during the early season this year with higher water levels. My daughter is diabetic and can empathize with you and the emotions you experienced being separated from your dad in such a stressful situation. Kudos to you for keeping a clear mind and getting help.

Best - PeaceFrog
 
Canoearoo
distinguished member(2534)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/23/2022 10:48AM  
wow, I'm so happy you were wearing your lifejacket and had a spot device. Great job thinking clearly
 
GopherAdventure
distinguished member(958)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/23/2022 11:45AM  
Speckled: "Glad everyone is ok. Where did this happen? We just came across a swamped canoe this weekend between Gabbro and L Gabbro. The current there is ridiculous right now!"

At the second of the three portages between Lake Four and Hudson.
 
05/23/2022 03:44PM  
Glad you are okay and thank you for sharing!

I can attest to how crazy the water is up there. I just got home from a trip in the north Kawishiwi river area. We drastically modified our plans because we just were not comfortable with how strong the current was in some of the rapids and pinch points. Even at that we had to be really careful in what normally would have been easy traveling.
 
05/23/2022 09:46PM  
Thanks for sharing and I am so glad you and your Dad are okay.

T
 
hut301
member (21)member
 
05/24/2022 08:41AM  
ockycamper: "We have learned the principle of redundancy. . . .2 is 1, 1 is none


I carry a Spot in a zip lock on my PFD. I also have a Sat PHone in a waterproof case in my sealine pack.


Our other two camps have Garmin Inreach devices.


Finally, all three camps have Baofang hand held radios.


as a final preparation, all three camps carry "brick" type battery chargers to keep emergency devices charged."



Great conversation and thanks for the courage to be vulnerable enough to share such a tough story for us to all learn from.

Does anyone have more info/stories about the Garmin inreach Mini being waterproof up to 3 ft for 30 mins? Seems like keeping it on my pfd would be workable if I got out of the water in under 30 mins. (I do like the redundancy mentioned here)
 
Argo
distinguished member (431)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/24/2022 08:50AM  
hut301: "ockycamper: "We have learned the principle of redundancy. . . .2 is 1, 1 is none



I carry a Spot in a zip lock on my PFD. I also have a Sat PHone in a waterproof case in my sealine pack.



Our other two camps have Garmin Inreach devices.



Finally, all three camps have Baofang hand held radios.



as a final preparation, all three camps carry "brick" type battery chargers to keep emergency devices charged."




Great conversation and thanks for the courage to be vulnerable enough to share such a tough story for us to all learn from.


Does anyone have more info/stories about the Garmin inreach Mini being waterproof up to 3 ft for 30 mins? Seems like keeping it on my pfd would be workable if I got out of the water in under 30 mins. (I do like the redundancy mentioned here)"


My inReach Explorer plus as well as my eTrex 30 were in the water for about 20 minutes and operated with no issues.
 
LaVirginienne
senior member (52)senior membersenior member
 
05/25/2022 07:56PM  
First thank you for this thread and for the opportunity you’ve given us all to learn from one another.

Next, fully behind your redundancy approach! So on board that I never give people gear lists because when I do, they stop doing the work of packing on the principles of redundancy. I encourage people to pack by process, always asking, “what if this item is rendered useless or not within reach when I need it?” So thanks for your sensible reminder!

A SPOT in a ZipLoc can slip easily out of pocket or hand, when what you really need to do is push the SOS button—which is a very intentional operation. I’m concerned about these reports of waterproof problems. I was a beta subscriber of SPOT. My SPOTS have been everywhere in all weather. But I’ve ridden my motorcycle at speed in monsoons and all-day rain showers with mine, and it’s never let me down. So, after some careful thought, I think I’ll keep mine strapped on the outside of my PFD.

Meanwhile, I’m going to reach out to member services at SPOT and if I learn anything useful I’ll report back.

Stay safe everyone!
 
LaVirginienne
senior member (52)senior membersenior member
 
05/25/2022 08:50PM  
Hope I’m following up to myself! I spoke to SPOT. Since Gen 3, the PLBs are independently rated waterproof when submerged two meters below the surface (six feet under) for up to 30 minutes. The issue leading to failure is water pressure on the seals, not water wetness of the device per se. At the surface it should be good to go for as long as the batteries work.

Known device failures, like one that atom discussed, have all been related to improper closure of the battery compartment leading to an improper seal. I get it! That is one tricky little screw closing that hatch! Highly recommend when you rent a SPOT device that you open the battery compartment, replace with your own fresh battery, close the compartment yourself, and test the device. According to SPOT, no device failures under rating were reported relating to the charging port in devices that have those.

Bottom line: maybe secure your SPOT on similar to the upper chest of your PFD. On the other side of mine is my rescue knife. Practice deploying both without having to look. My Astral Sturgeon PFD comfortably and coolly carries all my self rescue stuff. And it doesn’t get in the way of paddling like the beefier models do (the green and blue jackets).
 
05/26/2022 09:01AM  
Very glad you both made it out ok and thanks for sharing your experience.
 
ockycamper
distinguished member(906)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/26/2022 09:08AM  
It ocurred to me that the usual mantra in the BWCA is to make sure the group does not duplicate items. I realize this is to keep the amount of gear down. However, I am re thinking that given these threads. I now think every member of the group should have some type of fire starter, some type of personal stove (Esbit?), some type of personal shelter like a survival blanket. And some type of personal water filtration such as a Lifestraw.
 
Northwoodsman
distinguished member(1819)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/26/2022 10:22AM  
ockycamper: "It ocurred to me that the usual mantra in the BWCA is to make sure the group does not duplicate items. I realize this is to keep the amount of gear down. However, I am re thinking that given these threads. I now think every member of the group should have some type of fire starter, some type of personal stove (Esbit?), some type of personal shelter like a survival blanket. And some type of personal water filtration such as a Lifestraw. "
I agree with this. I think everyone should have their own PLB, Spot or InReach type device also. In this case the son sent an SOS and within a few hours they were both reached by rescue crews and extracted by helicopter. What if something happened to the guy with the SOS and he wasn't able to activate it? They could have both perished? There are plenty of scenarios where the person that is capable and needs to send the SOS can't access the device, for that reason it's a good idea to have redundancy. They aren't that expensive, your life is worth it.
 
GopherAdventure
distinguished member(958)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/26/2022 01:07PM  
Thanks again for all of your responses and support. I’ve put together a little video that can hopefully be somewhat educational for other paddlers. It was difficult watching some of the footage from my cameras knowing that I was about to make a big mistake and I really wish I would have slowed down and taken the time to assess the situation more in the minutes before the capsize. Unfortunately, I don’t have video of the capsize itself, but I turned the camera on once I got ashore.

Capsize and Rescue

Thanks again paddling family,

Tony
 
05/26/2022 02:10PM  
That's some remarkable video, Tony. Thanks for sharing it with us. I was at that spot last June in low water, and can't believe how fast the water is running. It must have been frustrating to be so close and not be able to get to where your dad was, but those rapids were completely unforgiving. Good call on pressing the button.
 
Northwoodsman
distinguished member(1819)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/26/2022 02:44PM  
Amazing video. Thanks for posting. So glad you had that emergency device with you. I couldn't imagine going into the BWCA without one. Even in July or August the temp can drop get really cold at night. If you have no way to get dry or stay dry you don't have much of a chance. I carry one for many reasons but this is definitely one of them.
 
05/26/2022 06:42PM  
Thanks, Tony. Glad everything turned out OK. Did your dad ever get a fire started? It seems rescue was there quickly.

It's amazing how much power that moving water in flood can have and it's deceptive looking compared to whitewater rapids as someone said. You read about cars being swept away in flash floods . . .

I looked it up and 1 cubic foot of water contains almost 7.5 gallons which is over 62 lbs. moving at X mph = . . . a lot of force!
 
GopherAdventure
distinguished member(958)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/26/2022 09:23PM  
boonie: "Thanks, Tony. Glad everything turned out OK. Did your dad ever get a fire started? It seems rescue was there quickly.


It's amazing how much power that moving water in flood can have and it's deceptive looking compared to whitewater rapids as someone said. You read about cars being swept away in flash floods . . .


I looked it up and 1 cubic foot of water contains almost 7.5 gallons which is over 62 lbs. moving at X mph = . . . a lot of force!"


You’re right Boonie, the power of water can be so deceptive from the surface. Once I was in it, I could definitely feel the power. Dad never started a fire. He got his wet sweatshirt off, got everything out to get a fire going and said by then he was feeling much less cold. He decided to save the matches and fire starter stuff for later in case he ended up having to spend the night on that island.

Tony
 
05/27/2022 08:35AM  
That reminds me of one whitewater rafting trip here in early May on a cool, gray, wet day. A lot of us were wearing cotton t-shirts and the guides were just wearing PFD's. One told us we'd be less cold if we took them off and he was right.
 
sueb2b
distinguished member (274)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/27/2022 08:58AM  
Thanks for sharing the story and the video.

I had made initial plans before my trip this year. After dealing with high water and wet portages, I scaled back my plans, esp. as they involved creeks and rivers. No regrets.
 
LaVirginienne
senior member (52)senior membersenior member
 
05/27/2022 09:28AM  
Maybe look into a Grayl water filter bottle? I find it pretty useful. Lifestraw isn’t going to help you get hot liquids in to raise your core temp.

Yep, redundancy is a critical principle of self rescue. In shoulder season, my view is, every paddler needs to prepare for self rescue. People get separated in emergencies and sometimes can’t reunite in high water/cold water/freezing temps.

The principal of redundancy:
All life-saving protection needs to be backed up.

Here are the main questions to ask on the principle of redundancy:
(1) What if this item is not within reach in an emergency?
(2) What if this item is rendered useless in an emergency?
(3) When this item deployed and fully functional, do I have a reasonable backup option ready to put in place in case of failure or loss?

Here is how to ensure redundancy:
Always look for (visually confirm) the backup and TEST before relying on that protection.

Consider all life saving protection dodgy if you cannot locate and test the backup.

Hope this helps.
 
05/27/2022 03:07PM  
Wow, quite a story. Stinks your trip got ruined, but glad you’re both ok. Time to get back on the horse that bucked you off and go on another trip with less excitement hopefully.
 
Lawnchair107
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05/29/2022 07:18AM  
Damn, Tony. So glad to hear everyone’s ok. Great job on keeping your cool out there.

Have you posted this anywhere else? That’s a very popular route that might be beneficial for future paddlers for a couple more weeks.

LIS was nasty high a couple days ago on those two river portages.
 
Argo
distinguished member (431)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/29/2022 07:56AM  
tumblehome: "I’m grateful to hear you are both OK. Very scary.


Staying sort of on subject about my SPOT story.


SPOT locators are not weather-proof and hardly weather resistant.
I had a SPOT get dunked in water when I spilled on a trip for a few seconds while it was turned off. Some of the LEDS started flashing randomly and I ended up taking off the screws that hold it together and there was water inside. There is a mini-USB plug on the device that allows water in.


I was told of a story from the company I rented this from that a scout group got their SPOT wet and it ended up sending an emergency call on it’s own when there was no emergency.


Keep your portable electronic devices in a zip-loc or Pelican.


When my SPOT got wet it ruined my trip since I could no longer send check-in messages. I didn’t want my family to worry about me by not getting check-ins so I had to leave early. What a mess! I take a SPOT to let people know I am OK and in the end it wrecked my trip anyway. Wisdom…..


Tom
"


I completely understand your dilemna, Tom. It's the irony of using an emergency locator. Instead of providinge calm, it has the ability to generate anxiety instead should you lose it or it malfunctions.

But wasn't there someone around whom you could ask if they could send a message for you from their device just to put your loved ones at ease instead of abandoning your trip? Anyone with an emergency communicator could find themselves in a similar situation and should immediately understand necessity of this kind of assistance.
 
jhb8426
distinguished member(1336)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/29/2022 11:13PM  
Very harrowing report. Glad to see you both came out OK. Good decisions on your part to call for help.
 
walleyejunky
member (49)member
 
06/03/2022 08:03AM  
Thank goodness you and your father are ok. I watched your video (as I check in on your youtube channel every once in a while to see what is new) and that set of rapids definitely looked sketchy and most certainly powerful!

Also, thanks for sharing. It's a reminder that even the most experienced of visitors to the BWCA can still run into an issue in the blink of an eye.

I will be purchasing one of the SPOT satellite devices soon to have on our future trips.

Please don't let it stop you from enjoying future trips to the BWCA!

 
straighthairedcurly
distinguished member(1450)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/03/2022 08:33PM  
tumblehome: "I’m grateful to hear you are both OK. Very scary.


Staying sort of on subject about my SPOT story.


SPOT locators are not weather-proof and hardly weather resistant.
I had a SPOT get dunked in water when I spilled on a trip for a few seconds while it was turned off. Some of the LEDS started flashing randomly and I ended up taking off the screws that hold it together and there was water inside. There is a mini-USB plug on the device that allows water in.


I was told of a story from the company I rented this from that a scout group got their SPOT wet and it ended up sending an emergency call on it’s own when there was no emergency.


Keep your portable electronic devices in a zip-loc or Pelican.


When my SPOT got wet it ruined my trip since I could no longer send check-in messages. I didn’t want my family to worry about me by not getting check-ins so I had to leave early. What a mess! I take a SPOT to let people know I am OK and in the end it wrecked my trip anyway. Wisdom…..


Tom
"


I had a similar issue with one of my SPOT devices. I was on a solo and so I kept it clipped to my PFD whenever I went swimming. On day 6 it started having some strange symptoms so I opened the back to replace the batteries and discovered it was wet inside the battery area. I dried it that afternoon, replaced the batteries. The next day, about 30 minutes into my paddling, I noticed the SOS light was lit up. I hadn't pressed it. I canceled it and then turned off the device. I continued, but had a lot of anxiety that it might have triggered a S&R or that my family would worry. I got to my planned destination and sent an "I'm OK" but the lights were all lighting up randomly and I wasn't sure it had worked. Since I was a few hours from my exit point, I decided to head out, notify my husband, and then camp out for one more night right by the EP. It has never worked again...turns on, seems fine at first, but then randomly shuts itself off.

My other SPOT has been fine for years, and even just successfully completed a trans-Atlantic crossing strapped to the bow of a 52 foot catamaran with my brother and sister.
 
06/04/2022 03:03PM  
That is a scary situation you handled as good as one could. Glad to hear it all worked out. Great teaching lesson
 
06/04/2022 06:21PM  
straighthairedcurly: "tumblehome: "I’m grateful to hear you are both OK. Very scary.



Staying sort of on subject about my SPOT story.



SPOT locators are not weather-proof and hardly weather resistant.
I had a SPOT get dunked in water when I spilled on a trip for a few seconds while it was turned off. Some of the LEDS started flashing randomly and I ended up taking off the screws that hold it together and there was water inside. There is a mini-USB plug on the device that allows water in.



I was told of a story from the company I rented this from that a scout group got their SPOT wet and it ended up sending an emergency call on it’s own when there was no emergency.



Keep your portable electronic devices in a zip-loc or Pelican.



When my SPOT got wet it ruined my trip since I could no longer send check-in messages. I didn’t want my family to worry about me by not getting check-ins so I had to leave early. What a mess! I take a SPOT to let people know I am OK and in the end it wrecked my trip anyway. Wisdom…..



Tom
"



I had a similar issue with one of my SPOT devices. I was on a solo and so I kept it clipped to my PFD whenever I went swimming. On day 6 it started having some strange symptoms so I opened the back to replace the batteries and discovered it was wet inside the battery area. I dried it that afternoon, replaced the batteries. The next day, about 30 minutes into my paddling, I noticed the SOS light was lit up. I hadn't pressed it. I canceled it and then turned off the device. I continued, but had a lot of anxiety that it might have triggered a S&R or that my family would worry. I got to my planned destination and sent an "I'm OK" but the lights were all lighting up randomly and I wasn't sure it had worked. Since I was a few hours from my exit point, I decided to head out, notify my husband, and then camp out for one more night right by the EP. It has never worked again...turns on, seems fine at first, but then randomly shuts itself off.


My other SPOT has been fine for years, and even just successfully completed a trans-Atlantic crossing strapped to the bow of a 52 foot catamaran with my brother and sister. "


I didn’t realize Spots had replaceable batteries - that seems like a huge vulnerability. Was that a Spot Gen 3 or 4?

Tumblehome, which model did you have? And it was a rental, right? That too seems like a vulnerability.
 
carbon1
member (43)member
 
06/07/2022 06:10AM  
Having help recuse people having been life flighted out once my self. Not that I remember any of it.

I am very crateful for those who perform this service.
 
thefourofus
distinguished member (183)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/07/2022 11:04AM  
Thanks for posting this and the video. I'm glad everything turned out as well as it did!! You and everyone on this thread has covered many good topics related to safety out there in the wilderness. I would like to add just one more thing.

With the record high waters across the northwoods this spring, it is good to keep in mind that even when the water returns to normal, the creeks, rivers and rapids may not be the same as they were before. Don't take anything for granted. I learned this on a creek down here in Indiana. I had been canoeing and kayaking this creek for years. I knew it quite well. I would always check the water levels before heading out and by the numbers I saw I knew exactly how the paddle would be. 6 inches or less: alot of bottom scraping and walking. 6 inches to 1 foot. A perfect paddle with a few Class one rapids just for fun (my kind of paddle). Over one foot the rapids would start gaining a class for every two inches. Over 1 1/2 feet the creek had some class fives. This was all until the area had some record rains and flooding. The creek raged for weeks and actually attracted some serious kayakers. That wasn't for me. I waited for the water to finally come down and one Satuday afternoon I checked and the water was 9" at the bridge. Perfect! I gathered up the family and headed out. My wife, daughter and I in the canoe and my son in his kayak. No need to scout as I knew this creek. Well we hit the first rapids. It consists of a long (200 yards) set of small ledges that result in some waves up to maybe 9" tall at that level. Wrong, those waves were up to two feet and breaking over the bow of the canoe. My 11 year old son in the kayak was doing great but working really hard. Once we cleared the ledges, we turned to wait for our son and that is when he went over. The water was shallow and he was able to stop himself and secure his kayak, but I had to fight the current and walk up to him to get him back in the kayak and walk him down. We rested and I scouted the next rapid and I would classify it as at least a 4. That put an end to that trip and I walked back to the truck. What happened is that the flood waters had washed out the sediment between ledges and cleared out lots of obstructions in the creek. The water moved much faster through the creek after that. 9 inches in height where I checked did not mean the same thing anymore.
 
chessie
distinguished member (225)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/07/2022 12:26PM  
So glad you and your Dad are OK. Thank you for sharing your experience and the video.
 
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