Tour boat captain recalls saving downed kayaker outside Esquimalt Lagoon

Tour boat captain recalls saving downed kayaker outside Esquimalt Lagoon
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WATCH: Calvin To met with the captain who helped save a downed kayaker outside Esquimalt Lagoon.

Lead Captain Rod King was giving a tour on board an Eagle Wing Tours boat when he heard a distress call on the radio Monday evening.

A kayaker was in distress just outside Esquimalt Lagoon.

Luckily, King and his crew were about ten minutes away.

They arrived and brought the man to shore, where they were met by an ambulance crew.

“The gentleman was probably in his late 50s and was really having a hard time,” King said. “He wouldn’t have lasted much longer. He was already hypothermic as it was.”

King says he often sees incidents like this during the start of the season.

This was about the eighth rescue he’s been a part of in his 23-year career.

Kayak guide Isabelle Cliche says even the most experienced kayakers can jeopardize their safety if they don’t prepare properly.

She recommends bringing a phone or a whistle, going with a buddy, telling someone where you’re going and when you’ll return, and checking the weather beforehand.

“Sunshine or rain isn’t what bothers us the most. It’s going to be the wind,” Cliche said. “So if you don’t know what the wind is doing, if you haven’t checked the tides [and] the currents, that’s when you can really get into trouble.”

Experts say if you fall out, you should flip the kayak over, bail it out, and try it climb back in quickly.

“Our water doesn’t heat up very much in the summer here, and it only takes about 10 or 15 minutes before you start showing the first signs of hypothermia,” Cliche said. “The longer you’re in the water, the colder you get, the harder it’s going to be to get back into your kayak.”

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