When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Canoes

capsized_canoe_croppedBuddy, we hardly canoe you. This fatal accident happened in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, where guns aren’t exactly outlawed, but the Attorney General is working on it. (Heil Healey!). The Boston Herald:

WELLESLEY, Mass. — Police are investigating the death of a man who fell out of a canoe on a Wellesley pond.

Officials say the man, whose name has not been released, was a member of a landscaping crew doing work at a home on College Road and took a canoe out on Morses Pond during a break on Tuesday

Police said the man was reported in the water at about 1 p.m. His body was recovered about three hours later some 40 to 50 feet from shore.

An awful lot of drownings do seem to happen within a few strokes of dry land.

An awful lot of drownings do seem to happen to boaters who decline to wear flotation devices.

An awful lot of drownings do seem to happen with novices and canoes. A canoe is actually a very stable lake and riverine craft — if you’re experienced in canoes. If you’re not, swimming and a life preserver may be necessary skills and tools to permit you to develop that experience.

After all, good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.

If you survive.

(Canoe + inexperience + cold water) – (swimming ability + life preserver) = terminal bad judgment. Q.E.D.

14 thoughts on “When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Canoes

  1. Loren

    A canoe is actually a very stable lake and riverine craft — if you’re experienced in canoes
    Love my 2 Grumman canoes and am very experienced and completely at home in them. I’ve done many fly in trips to Canada and even the Sea of Cortez (not my best idea) but I’d never use canoe and stable in the same sentence. That goes double if you’re in one alone.

    1. Cap'n Mike

      It was 61 Degrees in Boston Harbor last week when I was diving.
      The pond wouldn’t be much warmer then that.

  2. gebrauchshund

    One problem with flat bottom canoes like the one pictured is that they have good primary stability, but past a fairly modest lean they become very unstable and can flip quite suddenly. A round or v-bottom design will feel less stable initially, but retains stability at greater lean angles, and is much more capable in rough water (you’ll never see a whitewater canoe with a flat bottom). Somewhat analogous to the difference between a planing hull and a displacement hull on a powerboat. A novice unaware of this can easily lean a flat bottom boat past the point of no return, not realizing that it can go from stable to unstable very quickly.

  3. W. Fleetwood

    Didn’t one of the last OSS veteran CIA Directors drown while futzing around with a canoe, alone and, I seem to recall, in the dark?

    Wafa Wafa, Wasara Wasara.

  4. mr. sharkman

    It’s the panic + the water that kills.

    An amazingly high % of drowning deaths in recreational/civilian SCUBA diving occur in waist deep or shallower water, and the deceased usually had a functioning rig.

    1. John Distai

      Is the exercise of “drown proofing” really an exercise in “panic proofing”?

    2. Cap'n Mike

      Right on the money Sharkman.
      I’m a firm believer that Panic has killed more people than Cancer.

  5. Aesop

    Some people evidently could manage to die in a sandbox at the park.

    If you can neither swim, float unassisted, nor be bothered to wear a float vest, this was someone who probably should have been confined to dry land, with a career involving only non-pointy objects.

    “Part of a crew” who “took a canoe out on a break”…???
    Great teamwork there, and hopefully in the afterlife, he can discuss with Captain Edward Smith the inherent hazards of maiden voyages.

      1. Aesop

        Smith elected to go down on the bridge.
        But evidently had no more respect for water in its frozen form than this unnamed landscaping mook had for it in liquid form.

        Curious about the water temp in that pond this time of year. And whether the victim was a member of a, shall we say, “swimming-challenged” ethnicity, as well as any components of his luncheon being distilled, all as contributory factors. Like most incidents, I’d hypothesize a full-length chain of stupid went into producing this one.

        This is why I often remind ER newbies with some cunning plan to make life safer for everyone that they’re extrapolating only from the partially successful mistakes, among those victims on the left side of the intelligence bell curve. The ones that exceed expectations end up in the newspapers, not the ambulance.

  6. Mike_C

    >“swimming-challenged” ethnicity
    Not to mention cold challenged. Admittedly immersion doesn’t care what race you are, cold water sucks the heat out of a person with an admirable lack of racism, sexism, homophobia, islamophobia or xenophobia (cold water is non-deplorable, QED) but regarding being in the cold, the blunted (or plain lack of) hunting response (AKA hunting reaction) in black Africans has been documented. Which makes me wonder about a recent lawsuit filed against the UK MoD (rather than clog this up with a link, search on Gershon Rawlings). Is there physiologically-based merit in the suit, or is this BS? While I’m at it, check out the Telegraph article with the image of Rawlings at home in cammies. Are the pattern and the beret part of some actual UK uniform, or is that just stylin’ casual wear?

    >ER newbies with some cunning plan
    Great Gods and ye little fishies. People like that scare the hell out of me. One of the worst ER docs I know is a former engineer (and I say this as a former engineer myself) who proudly tells any one who will listen that “I have an algorithm for everything. Each patient can be optimally treated based on my algorithm!” Apparently his cardiology algorithm is to declare each patient with an even slightly not-normal EKG a STEMI and stat consult cardiology. Grrr.

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