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Thread: Got complacent!

  1. #1
    Member Ridgerat's Avatar
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    Default Got complacent!

    I just wanted to share a quick little experience I had a couple weeks ago on the Kenai River that almost resulted in giving a boat load of kids a swimming lesson!

    I took a bunch of my nephews and neices (one 7 year old, three 11 year olds and an 18) fishing for the afternoon from Skilak down to the moose. I have made this float and many others all over AK without incident over the last 15 years, so I felt somewhat experienced and comfortble. Just upstream from Naptown I had everyone check the PFD's to make sure they were tight and strapped everything down that was loose on the boat, making a big deal about it as a safety example for the kids benifit! It was a hot sunny day and as usual they wanted me to get them a little splashed in the short rapids. The water was high and pouring over the biggest 2 rocks down there so I decided to dip part of the boat over the 1st one to create a splash, which we did just fine as I expected it would be. But when we approached the 2nd one, I got lazy with the oars and did not turn the boat enough to keep the majority of the raft (18' leapard) out of the suck hole behind the rock.

    Weeeeeell when the front deck of my cat covered the suck hole, it violently and quickly sucked the front of the boat down hard enough that I fell off the rowing cooler, and 2 of the 3 kids in front were slammed to the bottom of the boat and were almost completely submerged momentarily. The back half of the boat was pushed way up and for a second I thought we were going to swim. But I was able to recover the oars and spin the boat 180 which flattened it back out and I thought we were in the clear to get out of danger. WRONG! Next I dug the oars deep to pull us out of there but the river had a different plan, and at the same time pulled the oars to go down river, the suck hole pulled the boat back up river hard into the hole. This resulted in the oars yanking me off the cooler again and throwing me face down on the now submerged front deck of the raft. At that piont no one was rowing, the boat was 1/2 full of water and pitched I'd guess 30 degress up from bow to stern, bucking hard and everyone was screaming! I told everyone to keep hanging on tight and at that moment I was really sure we would flip! Somehow I scrambled back to the rowing seat and the river finally let us go. There was some cuts, bruises, wet cloths and maybe some soiled pants, but otherwise we were ok.

    Not really a big deal or terrible experience, but at that moment when I thought we were going to flip I was thankful for knowing we ALL had PFD's properly strapped on! Im thankful I did not have to rescue 5 children from the river and then have to face their mothers! I could have easily turn the boat more to just skirt the roack, or went around it. But I had done it so many times before without incident that I took for granted the power of flowing water!

    Long read I know, but it was a good lesson for me that I wanted to share!!!

  2. #2
    Member theultrarider's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing Ridgerat. I too got bit be being too comfortable on the Kenai about 5 years ago. I took a coworker that had never kayaked before from the moose river down to Morgans landing. It was a 70 degree may afternoon and felt good to be on the water after a hard day at work. That is a very mellow stretch of river and makes a great float for a novice in the kayaks. I of course started goofing off in a cooupole of the eddies behind the rocks along the way. Well, I got bit! It is amazing just how quick you can end up upside down under a kayak. All was well as I have my pfd on and everything was sucure in my kayak. I did however forget to put my cellphone in a ziplock that day and my little stunt cost me a new phone. I happened soooo quick and looked so mellow. I was turned looking at my buddy and talking to him when I entered it instead of paying attention to what I was entering. I should have known bettter.

  3. #3
    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Default Excellent Post

    And Thank You for sharing your story with all of us. You never know you just may have saved more people from making unreversable mistakes that cost people so much.

    Enjoy the Rep Point you earned it!

    Best Wishes and again thanks for sharing I hope people take it to heart and use their PFD's.

    Richard Mousseau
    www.bluemooserafting.com

  4. #4
    Member Ridgerat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueMoose View Post
    And Thank You for sharing your story with all of us. You never know you just may have saved more people from making unreversable mistakes that cost people so much.

    Enjoy the Rep Point you earned it!

    Best Wishes and again thanks for sharing I hope people take it to heart and use their PFD's.

    Richard Mousseau
    www.bluemooserafting.com

    Thanks Moose!

  5. #5
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    thanks for that... as a new floater... who always has kids along... i have to keep that in mind....


    youll see some rep from me when i can spread more love with out the danger of catching sumin only 6 pokes a day
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

  6. #6
    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Default

    great story. The upper does not have the rapids like naptown but i do put my cat down some narrow channels when I know they are open as well as right down the center of the princess chute and right over the boulders on schooner bend. Had the bow of my raft got under so deep that the water was coming over my lap as the oarsmen on schooner bend. boat shot up out of the water like it should and no issues but it did get my attention. Float coat on or not I had the pucker factor for a bit. The wife thought it was a great ride like at 6 flags though untill I told her i about pooped myself
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

  7. #7
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    Default Great Lesson

    Glad it turned out for the good!

    ~AKBoatR

  8. #8
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default thanks for sharing

    Glad to hear that everyone ended up safe and thanks for sharing a moment that wasn't your best. Everyone stayed safe due to you keeping your head and thats the important part. Heck, the scare may end up keeping them safe and taught them the importance of the PFD's

  9. #9
    Member Ridgerat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tboehm View Post
    Glad to hear that everyone ended up safe and thanks for sharing a moment that wasn't your best. Everyone stayed safe due to you keeping your head and thats the important part. Heck, the scare may end up keeping them safe and taught them the importance of the PFD's
    Thanks! I am pretty sure they will ALL be sure to have one on after that! They were really terrified, but after we were safe and had a chance to calm down and talk about it, they were ok and over it. By the time we were done with the float they were wanting to go again....gotta love kids!

  10. #10

    Default Good post

    Good reminder, kids gets scared easily, then it is the end of their adventures.

  11. #11

    Default SOMEONE ELSE Got complacent! TOO

    On a float not long ago we stopped to rest and look around, heard a sound that I'd never heard before but could tell it wasn't a good one. Turned to see a rubber raft going under a sweeper, it was out in plain sight and nothing else really around it so I guess they they goffing off and gorfot to watch. I hit my raft and readyed to go on a resue mission, but all three where hanging on and getting back in the boat. I know they lost something on that little deal, if not just pride. They waved and continiued down!
    OUCH
    Don't want to hear that sound again

  12. #12

    Default

    good story, good reminder about awareness. i have been floating that stretch weekly, checking out the water level fluctuations and how they affect the rapid. that hole has definitely looked menacing, every time i approach it i think 'this time i'll hit it square on'. then my gut tells me 'dont do it'. so we skirt that one.

  13. #13
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Ridgerat,

    Thanks for sharing the story. Speaks well of your character to admit a mistake. Good lesson for newer folks in rafting like me. Points given for speaking the truth. Your story may help others avoid similar mishaps.


    -Dan
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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