“It happened so quickly. One minute you’re having the most fun of your life, the next minute you’re struggling for your life.”
That was Dave Kimpinski’s comment after nearly drowning in a boating accident. Dave and his young son, Curtis, were pulling Dave’s niece Amanda on an inflatable tube with their small outboard powered boat.
They hit a large wake from another boat and Dave leaned across to prevent his son Curtis from falling in but instead went overboard himself.
Dave wasn’t a swimmer, and he wasn’t wearing a lifejacket. The boat started to make lazy circles while Curtis cried out for his dad.
Amanda saw her uncle struggling to stay afloat and left the tube and began to swim after him.
Fortunately, Amanda was prepared for the water and was wearing a lifejacket. She reached her uncle and Dave grabbed on to her.
Curtis, meanwhile, pulled the safety lanyard on the motor just like he’d seen his dad do and the boat stopped moving.
Amanda’s lifejacket kept both of them afloat and they were able to get back to their boat and climb aboard.
Dave was lucky! He was lucky that his little boy managed to stop their boat, but he was even luckier that Amanda was wearing a lifejacket and was able to help him.
Because of his near tragedy, Dave Kimpinksi will tell you he is a much wiser, safer boater today.
None of us can predict when potential disaster might strike. Dave Kimpinski knows that firsthand. A fun day of tubing nearly turned deadly because he decided not to wear a lifejacket.
For years, the Canadian Safe Boating Council has been urging boaters to take the necessary precautions and always wear a lifejacket on the water.
Often, boaters will proudly tell boating safety officials that they always have their lifejackets on board their boats, just like the law demands.
The CSBC applauds this but reminds those boaters that a lifejacket isn’t intended to save the life of the boat. It’s meant to save the life of the human being on the boat!
So if you fall in the water without your lifejacket on your body, that fine sense of pride in having lifejackets on board won’t help keep you floating. The CSBC urges you that when you go boating this season, don’t just carry your lifejacket aboard your boat, Wear It!
This article was written by the Canadian Safe Boating Council for Safe Boating Awareness Week 2015.