First sea kayaker fatality in 2019

Discussion in 'Paddling Safety' started by jamonte, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. jamonte

    jamonte Paddler

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2015
    Messages:
    82
    My sister lives in Iowa and knows the people involved in this accident, which proved fatal to one of the paddlers. They were all skilled sea kayakers wearing Gore-Tex drysuits, PFDs, etc. Here is the link to the report in American Whitewater: https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/Accident/detail/accidentid/44238/

    Fortunately, those of us in the PNW don't have to play around behind low head dams to find challenging water and current, but please be very, very cautious if you are ever on a river and see a perfect river-wide horizon line. The hydraulics behind a low head dam (even a small one) make them extremely dangerous. I doubt that even a Class V whitewater paddler in a creek boat could survived/escaped this particular situation. Low head dams kill multiple paddlers every year. Be safe out there!
     
  2. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

    Joined:
    May 15, 2005
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    3,013
    They just seem to be so amazingly deceptive as they are hardly noticable on the water horizon and seem fairly innocuous when one is even up close. The big issue seems to be the wide and horizontal nature of the dam so that if one gets caught there is no flushing out action or means to an exit. One of the ways to get dam designers to mitigate the issue is to make them at an angle to the water flow so there is flushing or to introduce intermittent hydraulic artifacts into the dam design so that the hydraulic is broken up and current exits are established . . . but what do dum dam designers know about all that annoying current stuff? I notice that the backwash danger is discussed quite a bit on the river rowing bulletin boards.

    a Nealy diagram:
    Hydrotopography-Nealy.jpg
     
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