BWCA Wear your d—- PFD!!! Boundary Waters Listening Point - General Discussion
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gravelroad
distinguished member(1017)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
05/30/2024 01:10PM  
In a previous life I spent some time helping to recover drowning victims.

These folks have better things to do with their time. There is absolutely nothing “manly” about a corpse in the water. Wear your PFD!

“CO Aaron Larson (Tower) worked primarily angling activity and ATV activity. Larson spent time in the BWCAW with CO Bermel checking anglers and campers. Violations were related primarily to angling licenses. Several groups we had contacted had capsized their canoes. A reminder to avoid paddling during extreme conditions.

“CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time in the BWCAW checking anglers. He responded to a search and rescue call in the BWCAW with area officers. All parties and gear were located and transported safely back to shore.

“CO Hudson Ledeen (Grand Marais 2) reports that many folks hit the woods and water for the holiday weekend. The fish were biting, but so were the bugs. Ledeen assisted the U.S. Forest Service with a rescue in the BWCAW, where six people had capsized their canoes and became stranded. Luckily, all six people were wearing their life jackets.

“CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked with CO Larson in the BWCAW for several days. … Some angling success was noted in the BWCAW despite high winds making for difficult canoeing. Numerous groups had capsized canoes and lost gear. An abnormally high number of water-related incidents in the area lately provide a stark reminder of the importance of using safety gear and not taking unnecessary risks.”

DNR Report: High winds make for difficult canoeing in Boundary Waters
 
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05/30/2024 02:38PM  
Thanks for posting-this week another person drowned without a PFD on White Iron lake. Get a PFD you like and will wear.
 
brp
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05/30/2024 05:19PM  
I wear a PFD on my family’s huge pontoon. I’m the only adult with one on. I encourage everyone here to proudly wear one always, make it known why and spread the word. My kids, nieces and nephews all wear one to be like me.
 
gravelroad
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05/30/2024 07:34PM  
brp: "I wear a PFD on my family’s huge pontoon. I’m the only adult with one on. I encourage everyone here to proudly wear one always, make it known why and spread the word. My kids, nieces and nephews all wear one to be like me. "


I wear one to be like my father. Who showed me by his example EVERY time he got in a canoe.
 
05/30/2024 09:22PM  
I think a lot of people don’t wear them because they think it only affects them.

I wasn’t always good about it when I was younger. Bringing kids though, I wanted to set a good example and if the canoe went over, I wanted to be in the best position to help them immediately.

As you start to think about it our actions can have a butterfly effect on others. If I tip and another group has to help me, it is possible my choice could cause them to drown as well. THat’s someone else’s Husband, Father, Wife, Mother etc…at best I disrupt their trip. Or if I drown as gravelroad mentioned now other people are missing time with their families maybe lost wages from work to get me out.

Not trying to preach, just think harder on it the next time you get in a boat or canoe.

T
 
pearl62
member (32)member
  
05/31/2024 06:55AM  
Thanks for your reminder gravelroad. As a public safety diver I can tell you wearing a pfd is the easiest way to prevent disaster on the water. Of course accidents happen, but why stack the odds against yourself in the wilderness?
 
05/31/2024 07:17AM  
timatkn: "I think a lot of people don’t wear them because they think it only affects them.


I wasn’t always good about it when I was younger. Bringing kids though, I wanted to set a good example and if the canoe went over, I wanted to be in the best position to help them immediately.


As you start to think about it our actions can have a butterfly effect on others. If I tip and another group has to help me, it is possible my choice could cause them to drown as well. THat’s someone else’s Husband, Father, Wife, Mother etc…at best I disrupt their trip. Or if I drown as gravelroad mentioned now other people are missing time with their families maybe lost wages from work to get me out.


Not trying to preach, just think harder on it the next time you get in a boat or canoe.


T"
 
WinstonRumfoord
senior member (56)senior membersenior member
  
05/31/2024 08:37AM  
Too true. When you distill it to a list of pros vs cons, it's quite the "no-brainer". Plus, I like having the extra pockets while fishing to keep tools etc handy.
 
Findian
member (32)member
  
05/31/2024 08:48AM  
I also have survival gear in my PFD, inreach,etc... Anything in the boat is lost camping gear. Most of my boat time is in Lake Superior in a larger boat.
 
05/31/2024 09:40AM  
I wore one off and on for years. Then is some rougher water in the middle of Seagull I dropped my paddle and when I noticed how fast it moved away from the boat I decided a I might not be able to catch up to a lj floating away. I never have it off unless I'm near shore swimming.
 
05/31/2024 09:40AM  
I wore one off and on for years. Then is some rougher water in the middle of Seagull I dropped my paddle and when I noticed how fast it moved away from the boat I decided a I might not be able to catch up to a lj floating away. I never have it off unless I'm near shore swimming.
 
yogi59weedr
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05/31/2024 11:09AM  
Sister just bought me inflating vest. Everytime I put it on I send her a picture.
 
05/31/2024 11:28AM  
In 2006 I dumped my canoe on Gun Lake while collecting water away from the shoreline, back then we still drank directly from the lake. My buddy was on the shore and watched me struggle to get the Grumman canoe tipped back over. I couldn’t do it. His father taught us to pack at least one life jacket, but not necessarily to wear it. Old school. After I was tiring, trying to collect floating gear, I lucked out when the pfd floated right by me. It saved my life and I’ve worn one ever since.
 
OMGitsKa
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05/31/2024 03:28PM  
Buy a super nice life jacket and you will always want to wear it!
 
05/31/2024 07:15PM  
OMGitsKa: "Buy a super nice life jacket and you will always want to wear it! "

Yes there are so many models and quality varies so much. Yes and at least for kids get one that will turn them right side up. There are ratings on PFD on what they do. I heard how they rate them might have changed.
I was lucky in my younger years to be able to take a two-day Coast Guard water safety program. We covered so many issues. Even methods how to float with waders on and we attempted to swim in them in the water.

Coast Guard PFD
 
scottiebaldwin
distinguished member (212)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
05/31/2024 10:28PM  
OMGitsKa: "Buy a super nice life jacket and you will always want to wear it! "


Agreed. I’ve said it many times in different message boards; the Stohlquist Fisherman is the absolute best PFD I’ve worn. It’s so comfortable that I wear it during portages. The storage dens are super handy as well. Just treat yourself and buy one.

You (and possibly your family) can thank me later.

Stohlquist Fisherman
 
05/31/2024 10:37PM  
Yup! +1
 
05/31/2024 11:23PM  
scottiebaldwin: "
OMGitsKa: "Buy a super nice life jacket and you will always want to wear it! "



Agreed. I’ve said it many times in different message boards; the Stohlquist Fisherman is the absolute best PFD I’ve worn. It’s so comfortable that I wear it during portages. The storage dens are super handy as well. Just treat yourself and buy one.


You (and possibly your family) can thank me later.

Stohlquist Fisherman "


My wife and I really like our Stohlquest Drifters. Sometimes on land I forget to take it off.
 
06/01/2024 08:11AM  
Yes, if you're supplied with a run-of-the-mill non-paddling life jacket you may wonder what's everyone's talking about when they advise getting a good paddling life jacket like a Stohlquist or an NRS. A good paddling life jacket is a game changer for paddling comfort. It will not interfere with your stroke at all.

I have two: One that buckles from the side and one that zips up your chest. I recommend the latter as it's easier to put on and remove. Try each in the store and see what works for you.
 
06/01/2024 09:46AM  
 
06/01/2024 11:45AM  
Back in the day (70’s)… you didn’t have good options… (ones you could afford that is. Now, it’s a no brainer… I think someone said it best when you forget on shore you have it on. The old horse collar ones were rather limiting… and the early stearns were not a lot better. Now, the excuses are few and far between to not wear one.
 
Canoearoo
distinguished member(2649)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
06/01/2024 12:44PM  
Life jackets float; you don't


I used to never wear my life jacket because I'm a great swimmer. Then a great swimmer I know drowned on a clear, calm, warm day.

Life jackets save lives just like seat belts. Wear them both!
 
WinstonRumfoord
senior member (56)senior membersenior member
  
06/01/2024 12:59PM  
scottiebaldwin: "
OMGitsKa: "Buy a super nice life jacket and you will always want to wear it! "



Agreed. I’ve said it many times in different message boards; the Stohlquist Fisherman is the absolute best PFD I’ve worn. It’s so comfortable that I wear it during portages. The storage dens are super handy as well. Just treat yourself and buy one.


You (and possibly your family) can thank me later.

Stohlquist Fisherman "


I did try that one (and quite liked almost everything about it!) but ended up with an Astral E-Ronny: https://astraldesigns.com/products/e-ronny

I liked the full length - but "flat" back as opposed to the Fisherman's denser back concentrated toward the top. The Astral feels more like wearing a vest in the sense of an article of clothing; a snug fleece vest or well-fitted suit vest. The Stohlquist still felt like a PFD, to me at least.
 
scottiebaldwin
distinguished member (212)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
06/01/2024 07:07PM  
One advantage of the Stohlquist Fisherman upper rear is that it is designed to keep your head above water in the event you get knocked unconscious.
 
pleflar
senior member (70)senior membersenior member
  
06/01/2024 09:03PM  
gravelroad: "
brp: "I wear a PFD on my family’s huge pontoon. I’m the only adult with one on. I encourage everyone here to proudly wear one always, make it known why and spread the word. My kids, nieces and nephews all wear one to be like me. "



I wear one to be like my father. Who showed me by his example EVERY time he got in a canoe."


This is why I also wear a PFD. Because it was what the responsible adults did when I was a kid. They wore them so they could help other people in an emergency and that's good leadership.
 
Stumpy
distinguished member(2160)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
06/02/2024 05:49AM  
I always do.
I'll never forget working at Canadian Border Outfitters, and having to go on tow boat to Ensign Lake, and pick up the 18 year old boys from a school trip that ended with their buddy at the bottom of the lake.
It was so sad.
Early 1980's
 
justpaddlin
distinguished member(551)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
06/02/2024 07:26AM  
I've never considered myself a safety zealot but as a paddler, engineer, and lifeguard that paddles on rivers it blows my mind how often people underestimate the power and danger of river currents. 2 folks lost last year within 5 miles of my house including the woman that bought these tubes for her kids. Matt was lost in 2020. Both adults were trying to save kids.

Even the reporter that interviewed me said the current "didn't look too bad". Ironically I live close to some of the deadliest Lake Michigan beaches where most folks would be terrified of a 3-4 mph rip current but the same current on a river is perceived as safe.

I found one (and only one) reference to this danger where one professor calls it a Drowning Trap since a river may look "normal" when currents are far stronger than any swimmer. I have trouble linking files but you can find a great PowerPoint if you Google Drowning Trap (Kauffman, Frostburg Edu).

 
bottomtothetap
distinguished member(1047)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
06/02/2024 12:40PM  
Pinetree: " Old PFD thread-still relevant "


I think we are all mostly "preaching to the choir" on this forum about wearing a PFD but this information is SO IMPORTANT!

Thank you, Pinetree, for posting the link to this old thread. I went to it and re-read something I had posted then and was reminded of possible tragedy that was avoided for me and my family because PFD's were worn. Also thought of the tragedy others experienced because PFD's were not worn. This literally brought me to tears.

Lifejacket use is always reviewed as part of our planning but that post will now be included along with the Forest Service videos as a required part of our up-coming planning meeting with seven newbies who are coming with me to the BWCA in July.

Wishing everyone safe travels to the BWCA this season and that you find enjoyment and fulfillment on your trip to this special wilderness.
 
06/02/2024 06:39PM  
I just read a news story of a 35 y/o woman who drowned last week in Prior Lake ? falling off a Stand Up Paddleboard! I always wear mine in the canoe or SUP, and on my SUP I also put on my ankle strap.

I fell off my SUP on Kelso River a few years ago (right after I saw a bear cross the river) and all the way under the water I went. Granted I touched the bottom, but what if it were deeper....

You just never know, and I'd rather be safe than sorry.
 
straighthairedcurly
distinguished member(1980)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
06/03/2024 12:15AM  
To me, a PFD is like a seatbelt in a car. I feel naked without. Got in the habit when doing whitewater and now I always wear it. It has my ditch kit in the pocket and my SPOT tracker attached in case I ever get separated from my boat in a high wind situation.
 
NEIowapaddler
distinguished member (262)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
06/03/2024 02:03PM  
I can't swim, so I always wear a life jacket when paddling. Won't get in a canoe or kayak without it. I wear an Astral, can't remember the model at the moment. It's very comfortable when paddling, but I do take it off when portaging a pack.
 
straighthairedcurly
distinguished member(1980)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
06/03/2024 05:37PM  
NEIowapaddler: "I can't swim, so I always wear a life jacket when paddling. Won't get in a canoe or kayak without it. I wear an Astral, can't remember the model at the moment. It's very comfortable when paddling, but I do take it off when portaging a pack. "


Once rescued a guy who had jumped out of a raft on a class 4 river without a PFD...a "watch this" moment (fueled by some alcohol and 20-something bravado). Turned out he didn't know how to swim. When I dragged him to shore, I found out he was a parachutist in the military. I asked him if he would ever jump out of a plane without a parachute. "Of course not! That would be stupid!" he retorted. "That's what you just did," I told him. He was one lucky SOB that day as we were the only kayakers at the bottom of that drop and my husband just happened to notice his limp hand on the surface of the water.

Glad to hear you are wise.
 
Portage99
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06/03/2024 10:03PM  
I know I said this before. I was lucky to learn from a very old-school Girl Scout Camp Director when I was a counselor. It was a hard-core amazing training ( covered in bruises from those aluminum canoes). and they really don’t teach that anymore. We had to practice rescues in the pool, and flipping a water filled canoe, getting back in a flipped canoe and how to stabilize for the next person in deep water, etc. She was really a bad ass and she didn’t tolerate any talk of not wearing a life jacket. Her primary message was counselors dont wear a lifejacket for themselves, they wear a life jacket to help other people, especially kids. She did have us try things without a lifejacket to show us that we are basically worthless as helpers. I feel fortunate to have learned from her. A wealth of knowledge!
 
06/04/2024 06:05AM  
We've been taking our kids canoeing since they were babies and our rule is that everyone in the boat wears a PFD. When my son was about three my folks took him to the zoo where he absolutely refused to go on the "safari" boat ride around a shallow little concrete pond. My parents said there was no convincing him it was ok -- he was emphatic that you can only go on a boat if wear your PFD and refused to get on without his.

The constant repetition when kids are little can be exhausting, but I sure was proud when I heard how well this lesson stuck. (And, yes, he obviously didn't need a PFD in that situation but he didn't know that and my parents weren't going to force him to do something his mom and dad said not to do. For a kid who never seemed to listen I took it as a major win.)
 
06/04/2024 08:56AM  
 
06/05/2024 07:51AM  
prettypaddle: "We've been taking our kids canoeing since they were babies and our rule is that everyone in the boat wears a PFD. When my son was about three my folks took him to the zoo where he absolutely refused to go on the "safari" boat ride around a shallow little concrete pond. My parents said there was no convincing him it was ok -- he was emphatic that you can only go on a boat if wear your PFD and refused to get on without his.


The constant repetition when kids are little can be exhausting, but I sure was proud when I heard how well this lesson stuck. (And, yes, he obviously didn't need a PFD in that situation but he didn't know that and my parents weren't going to force him to do something his mom and dad said not to do. For a kid who never seemed to listen I took it as a major win.)"


Love it! Well done.
 
bottomtothetap
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06/05/2024 01:13PM  
As naturally as my now-adult boys put on a seatbelt when they get in a vehicle because mandatory use is all they've ever known, they put on a lifejacket as well because that too is all they've ever known. When they were little we called it their "fishing jacket" and to them wearing one--even from a pier or shore--was just part of the fun of fishing.
 
06/10/2024 10:29AM  
If it isn't law then people can do what they want ;)
 
woodsandwater
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06/10/2024 01:27PM  
okinaw55: "
scottiebaldwin: "
OMGitsKa: "Buy a super nice life jacket and you will always want to wear it! "




Agreed. I’ve said it many times in different message boards; the Stohlquist Fisherman is the absolute best PFD I’ve worn. It’s so comfortable that I wear it during portages. The storage dens are super handy as well. Just treat yourself and buy one.



You (and possibly your family) can thank me later.


Stohlquist Fisherman "



My wife and I really like our Stohlquest Drifters. Sometimes on land I forget to take it off."


Thank you for recommendation. Just ordered my new Stohlquist Drifter from Amazon replacing my old lifejacket of 25+ years.
 
analyzer
distinguished member(2192)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
06/10/2024 06:49PM  
That would be a cool name... Gravel Road. I'm a little old now, but if I were younger, I could definitely see naming my son Gravel. "Rough and Tough", but needs a little grooming once in a while. "The road less traveled". I like the name.
 
gravelroad
distinguished member(1017)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
06/10/2024 07:55PM  
x2jmorris: "If it isn't law then people can do what they want ;)"


Does that include the option to disclaim in advance any rescue or body recovery made necessary by not wearing one? Does it include making that choice binding on any family member who would otherwise call 9-1-1?

Nah, I didn’t think so.
 
06/11/2024 09:59AM  
I am beginning to get pissed off about this topic.

If I understand it correctly, of the four deaths this season (so far) in the BWCA/Q, none were wearing a PFD.

The first one sounds like an on-shore accident and a PFD would likely not have helped.

Who knows about the others? Sure wish they could have had the chance to find out if their situation would have been survivable with a PFD vs certainly not w/out one.

It's just so damn selfish, and the selfishness impacts dozens or hundreds: the families, all the SAR personnel, etc.
 
NEIowapaddler
distinguished member (262)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
06/11/2024 01:15PM  
gravelroad: "
x2jmorris: "If it isn't law then people can do what they want ;)"



Does that include the option to disclaim in advance any rescue or body recovery made necessary by not wearing one? Does it include making that choice binding on any family member who would otherwise call 9-1-1?


Nah, I didn’t think so."


+1. Just because you CAN do something doesn't mean that it's smart to do it.
 
06/12/2024 08:06AM  
gravelroad: "
x2jmorris: "If it isn't law then people can do what they want ;)"



Does that include the option to disclaim in advance any rescue or body recovery made necessary by not wearing one? Does it include making that choice binding on any family member who would otherwise call 9-1-1?


Nah, I didn’t think so."


Still get to do what you want either way :)
 
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